Cat

About a week ago, Cat disappeared. She’s been an outside pet for years (there was no stopping her, believe me) and I didn’t worry at first—she’s been known to wander, and in the hot weather we had recently she barely came inside, preferring to lounge in the grass and absorb heat into her fur.

She always comes home at night, though, in order to power the contents of her food bowl and meander off to yowl at top volume outside Dylan’s room. After a couple days went by without seeing her we started thinking, hmmmm.

Once, after returning from a vacation during which we elected to leave out food and water (and a slightly opened window to the utility room, unsafe as that probably was) instead of boarding her, she didn’t come home for a few days and I thought the worst. Eventually she returned, a little scraggly-looking and extra raspy-voiced, but no worse for wear, and I’ve been hoping for the same happy outcome to this situation . . . but it’s been so long, and this time we’ve been home the whole time.

I’ve done the unpleasant missing-pet tasks: driving around looking for her, posting flyers in the neighborhood, calling the pet hotline, placing an ad on Craigslist. Yesterday I went to the local animal shelter and looked through their found pet reports and peered at all the jailed cats—so many friendly animals coming alive in my presence and issuing forth mrows and blrrrts and sticking paws through the mesh of their cages; me knowing some (all?) of them are surely doomed to euthanization—and they told me to keep checking back, sometimes cats don’t get picked up and taken to shelters for months, but keep in mind they’re only held for 72 hours. Jesus.

As each day goes by without her coming home I feel worse, guilty (no collar! No microchip!) and sad and jumping at every outside noise and rushing to the window. I hate not knowing, and the idea that I might never know, that she might never come home and we’ll never, ever know what happened to her . . . oh, it just sucks.

Every day when I’d come home from work she would emerge from her hiding place in the bushes along our front walk and accompany me to the front door, where sometimes she’d come in and sometimes the cacophony of shouting children would send her back out onto the lawn, where she’d roll and stretch and wait for things to quiet down. For a week I’ve been pulling in the driveway, and she’s not there. I keep looking out the living room window and she’s not there.

frontwalk

We turned the cat food auto-dispenser off so it would stop dumping food into a bowl no one is eating out of. Her bed is empty.

catbed

I was hesitating to write anything about her being gone, thinking, oh, she’ll probably show up as soon as I hit publish and won’t I feel silly then. But now I would very much like to feel silly. I would like to once again be driven half out of my skull by a pet who wants in, who wants out, who meows outside doors and bedroom windows, who occasionally crawls inside the dog’s food container to take a stealthy shit, who has been a giant pain in my ass ever since I took her home from the shelter when she was a tiny, evil kitten; who has lived with me in houses, apartments; in Corvallis, Portland, Las Vegas, Seattle; who has been a part of my life for over ten years.

“Where do you think Cat is?” I asked Riley a couple days ago, because I secretly believe children know everything we don’t.

“I think she DIED,” he said. “Because she’s old like Grandpa’s cat.”

“Well, no, she wasn’t that old,” I told him.

“Oh,” he said, and thought for a moment. “Then I think she’s on a cat vacation.”

I hope so. I hope she’s having a good time. And I hope she comes home soon.

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TUWABVB
13 years ago

I’m so sorry! I hope that Cat returns soon – we just lost both of our dogs (lost as in put to sleep, not wandered off) and the gap they left behind in our household is unbearable. I hope Cat returns home soon and safely!

melissa
melissa
13 years ago

oh no, i am so very sorry! Cat, come back from your lazy vacation!!!

just yesterday our indoor cat went missing. we were having furniture delivered and had locked her into a few rooms. when the deliverymen left…couldn’t find cat. anywhere. all day. much much later in the day, after much searching and crying on my part, i went into one of the rooms, and there she is just lying in her cat bed. giving me the “what?!?” look.

so, just a drop in the bucket compared to your story, but i do have a taste of what it’s like – and it’s bitter. i really hope she shows up ASAP!

Christina
13 years ago

Ugh heartbreak.

We always had outdoor cats and they would do the same but a few did just disappear to never reappear. A few, we found later my mother could not stand. My mom… oy, just old school big city lady who just did what she knew and her parents taught her and delivered them to other neighborhoods to let them find a “new” home.

Our favorite was Tigger who disappeared one day and not at my mother’s hands. We suspected the neighbors stole him because he was sweet and wonderful but later we discovered his favorite place was to crawl under the neighbor’s house through a tiny crawl space hole (this was in CA.) Apparently one day on a wild hair said neighbors sealed off that hole and we are unsure but perhaps Tigger may have met a different fate.

I liked to believe as a kid that someone just carried off our sweet kitty, it was better then the alternative… LE SIGH.

Anne
13 years ago

Cat looks so much like my cat growing up (Rhonda). I’m so sorry. Ever since you started tweeting about her being missing I have been hugging my kitties extra tight at night (and trying very hard not to threaten to turn them into mittens).

I hope Cat makes it home.

Karen
Karen
13 years ago

I’ve been watching your tweets regarding cat, and I hoped earnestly she would appear at the shelter.
I’m so sorry she hasn’t yet come back to boss you about and look generally evil.
That picture of JB and Cat is so funny, but it is so moving now. How could a cat resist doing that again – and perhaps swiping at Daddys face whilst doing so??

charissa
13 years ago

Oh my goodness Linda, that is such a heartsick feeling — my kitty Guinness (also all-black!) does that occasionally, but never for so long; her longest stint was one overnight.

Big hugs — I hope Cat comes home soon!

Erica
13 years ago

Oh, evil, horrible Cat, please come home! This blog isn’t the same without you and your plotting and throwing up and potential for eating of noses.

Come home, Cat. Come home.

schmutzie
13 years ago

I so hope your kitty comes home. I’ve got one of my three sitting with me right now, and I just gave him an extra kiss.

Tracy
13 years ago

I’m so sorry. Our dog ran off on a walk a few months ago and was missing for maybe a half hour and I was a complete basketcase. I hope Cat comes home soon.

Mandee
13 years ago

Cat, please come home.

Kelly
13 years ago

Oh, Linda. My heart hurts every time I think about Cat. I was surprised at how much it upset me when you first tweeted about her “vacation.” But after reading your blog for so long, I almost feel like she’s a little bit my pet too, especially since I have her fat, knock-kneed doppelganger, Lola, at my house.

Best of luck finding her!

Heather D.
Heather D.
13 years ago

I’m sorry Sundry. Crossing my fingers for you and Cat.

Maria
13 years ago

It’s a testament to you and your family that I have been thinking about Cat for days, and repeatedly checking in for hope that you will have good news. I had a cat when I was younger who would take off for multiple weeks at a time. I know it’s not the norm for her, but don’t give up hope on Cat yet. I will continue to hope that you have answers, with the best case scenario in the form of someone waiting for you in the bushes, very soon.

vague
13 years ago

Ugh. Awful. I hope she comes home soon. I keep awaiting good news of Cat via twitter and hoping for the best. She reminds me a lot of my cat, in the Total Pain in the Butt respect.

SJ
SJ
13 years ago

I’ve been following your tweets about Cat and oh how heartbreaking it has been. Pets are so much a part of the family even if they are a big huge pain in the ass.

I hope she finds her way home.

Artemisia
13 years ago

I am so sorry. I think this is one of the worst nightmares to go through. I am thinking of you, and hoping Cat gets bored on vacation and comes home soon.

Christine
Christine
13 years ago

I wish I had some words of wisdom. But I don’t. I hope Cat appears as suddenly.

Nothing But Bonfires
13 years ago

Oh, stop stop stop! My heart breaks at missing cat stories. I can only imagine how sad you are. We lost our cat, Phoebe, about a year ago…..every time my mum sees a white cat in the road, she still stops at peers at it, even though Phoebe disappeared in Singapore and now my parents live in California.

Um, that probably didn’t help, sorry. I’m sure Cat will come home. I hope hope hope she does.

Angie
13 years ago

Oh, I hope that your cat comes home. Our cat disappeared in our move from Germany a few months ago. the party line is that he found another family, but I’m afraid that he was PACKED. (we don’t have our stuff yet, so ?)

Laura
Laura
13 years ago

I hope you feel silly very soon. Come home Cat! Come home!

zeghsy
13 years ago

miss cat, you’d best get home right now.

as far as i know, all my cats have been ones that no one wanted, thus getting adopted by me or my family. the most recent adoption has been an ex-bf’s very expensive siamese pure-bred. but i love marti the most. he and i are bestest buddies. last night, i mused aloud that miss cali needs to exercise more (i already know she’s not eating as much as marti and bocephus) because i don’t want her to get sick. she just gave me a look and i had to apologize for discussing her weight yet again and promised to love her always.

please come home cat.

Michelle in Maryland
13 years ago

Just throwing this out there – did you check Cat’s lair/hive? Maybe Cat has become a lair-dwelling recluse, plotting your demise and whose nose will be eaten first!

Danell
13 years ago

Love the pictures…so sweet.

I’m sorry you’re going thru this with Cat. Had the same thing happen recently, and it took that to make me realize how much I really liked my stupid cat. Stupid, stupid cat. *sigh*

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

Sucks. I do have a ray of hope story for you, though: while I was away at college, my cat wandered away from my parents’ place. They didn’t see her for almost a month and expected the worst. They had been keeping me updated, but there was a point where we figured she was just gone and I had a cry. Then! She showed up. No explanation, nothing. A little skinny and ragged, but otherwise no worse for the wear. She lived another five years or so to the ripe old age of 20.

Jessi
13 years ago

I’ve been thinking about cat since you posted on Twitter. The not knowing is hard. I’m sorry.

Amy @ Dear Mazzy
13 years ago

Don’t give up! Shortly after we moved into our house, my cat Chief was gone for nearly two weeks. I was pregnant & cried constantly – he’s gone for a couple of days before, but not in the new place, that was in the country, with coyotes & everything. Then one night I had a sudden feeling that he was home, so I ran to the front door (like I’d done a million times before) and there he was, just waiting, like nothing had happened. He didn’t even look scraggly. He just looked at me, like, “what up, bitch?” in that sweet way that cats have. Sorry to go on so long, but my point is, she’ll come home soon!!

Carolyn
Carolyn
13 years ago

So so sorry. :( Hoping she turns up pronto.

Wendi
13 years ago

Sending many, many “Come home, Cat” thoughts your way. Not know is so hard, and I am so, so sorry.

I went through this with one of our cats many years ago, and after she was gone 4 or so days, a neighbor actually called at 6 am to say our cat was in our driveway. She lived across the street and happened to look out the window and see her.

We had actually knocked on doors on our immediate street, and handed the flyers to people (we also posted flyers in surrounding neighborhoods). That was how she had our number and knew we were looking for our kitty. Such a weird coincidence, since I almost didn’t to do the ‘door to door’ thing…I felt foolish doing it, you know?

Anyway, I understand and totally sympathize…and I hope she comes home!

Victoria
13 years ago

I hope so too

Haitian American Family of Three

When we lived in Bellingham our cat ran out the window and was gone for over a week. We cried and called and searched everywhere. Then the night we both sadly declared him gone I heard his meow and he came shooting across the yard into the kitchen. He was skinny and skittish but purred so loud, happy to be home.

Sometimes they just like to have adventures.
I hope your cat comes home soon.

warcrygirl
13 years ago

Aww, I hope Cat comes home soon. Gizmo is going on 11 and I’m expecting to be going through the same scenario. Just out of curiosity: are you more of a “lie about pets death and immediately get a new one” or more “tell kids truth about death (Pet Heaven) and wait a few to get a new one”?

Lauren
Lauren
13 years ago

I’ve been upset about this all week…since your first tweet. I know how you feel, too – only it was our dog. Ugh. It sucks. The not knowing IS the total worse – are they living the life with some uber-wealthy family being showered with personal chef prepared dinners and only the finest Colombian catnip? are they the newfound companion of an old homeless man who just needed a friend? are they really…gone??? Oh, Cat, please please come home!

Dana
Dana
13 years ago

My aunt has a cat who is now almost 20 years old. When the cat was about 12 she disappeared from home and they thought that she was never coming back. About 6 months later they got a call from one of the vet offices where they’d posted pictures that someone had found her and adopted her as their own. When they took her in for a check-up they recognized her on the poster and she found her way home. I hope that Cat is temporarily tormenting some other family and will find her way home too.

caleal
caleal
13 years ago

I hope Cat is just on an extended vacation. There are always tons of stories of pets disappearing and coming back after extended periods of time.

I’m so sorry for you guys. :(

Andrea
13 years ago

My cat did the same thing to me, only he’s an inside cat, so I was flipping out. He hasn’t been declawed so that was my only solace, despite hating that he likes to tear up our carpet, but at least I knew he could defend himself. He came back, though, right after I posted neighborhood pictures. I think he was just chilling with the alley cats in our ‘hood, and when he’d had his fill of the minxes on the street, he was hungry enough to come home.

I hope Cat does the same thing. If she doesn’t, I hope she meows her way into another loving family’s hearts so that she’s taken care of.

I’m so sorry, Linda.

Erin
Erin
13 years ago

Cat, get your ass home! Ah, Linda, this totally makes me want to cry. I’m having cat problems right now as after almost three years of living with unbearable allergies, my husband finally put his foot down and has told me that my beautiful girl Sophie must go live elsewhere. I cry almost every day and she’s not even gone yet! I will think of Cat instead and will her with every fiber of my being to return to you…

Beth
Beth
13 years ago

So sorry. I hope she reappears soon, aloof and with an air of mystery about her!

Leah
13 years ago

Oh, cat. I hope your adventuring doesn’t keep you away too long. (And now I need a tissue.)

dorrie
dorrie
13 years ago

God dammit, Cat!! Nothing like sympathy from your son, huh? Boys.

kristin c.
13 years ago

cat. cat! CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

please go home. you’re worrying your mama!

hannah
hannah
13 years ago

wishing you and Cat luck. sending homewards thoughts to her.

Jennifer
13 years ago

It’s amazing what a cat can make us do-we tolerate the snottiness, the um, unique digestive processes, clean up shit and pee, but they still manage to get into your soul. I had one that did the same thing-she had been an outside cat at one point in her life, but had been blissfully inside for years. One afternoon, the door was left open, and she was gone. I vote with Riley on the cat vacation, or some nice old lady. Even three years later I still keep an eye open. Sending hugs and thanks for the pics-she’s gorgeous.

Jo
Jo
13 years ago

The photo of Cat and JB kills me, it’s adorable.

Hope she comes home really soon. My old cat was away for a week and a half and it was awful. She strolled in at 3am on morning, yowling and skinny but seemingly unharmed, wishing the same for you guys. I like Riley’s idea of a vacation :)

Sonia
Sonia
13 years ago

I’m so sorry she’s missing! :( Sending good vibes your way that she’s just on a little vacay. Come home cat!

Lindsay
Lindsay
13 years ago

Oh, Linda…This made me cry. :( And then laugh, at the picture of cat in the blanket. And then cry again.

I would like to vigorously put my vote into the “cat vacation” category.

Niki
Niki
13 years ago

I had a cat who would go away for weeks at a time. She always came back, skinny, yowly and hungry.

Becky Mochaface
13 years ago

Sorry about Cat. I hope she finds her way home soon. Like Homeward Bound. When the golden retriever doesn’t show and he doesn’t show and then he appears at the top of the hill. *Sob* gets me every time.

Dawn
13 years ago

I’m so sorry to hear this. We went through this last year when one of my cats left on her Vision Quest. We haven’t seen her since then, but I’m sure she’s managing just fine on her own. (Of the three cats I had, she’s certainly the one that could take care of herself.)

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Cat comes back home, soon.

Katie
Katie
13 years ago

I know this doesn’t help, but we had a cat that disappeared for 6 weeks because she didn’t like one of the other cats we had. Cat will come home. I’m sure of it.

Kelli
Kelli
13 years ago

Oh, me too, Linda.

My mother’s cat once disappeared for three months. It was a lousy 3 months, believe me, and we’d all but given up hope when one day, he just appeared on the back deck, wanting to be let in.

Fingers crossed the same will happen for you.
(And that it’ll be days, not months.)