My cat has been gone now for four days. It is so strange not having her in the house – not having her underfoot or demanding food – not having her unexpectedly decide to snuggle with you – whether you want it or not.
We moved into our house almost 16 year ago. And having the space, I insisted we get another cat – a friend for the Bean. We went to the humane society when it was still this row after row of bare cages instead of the nice friendly space it is today – and saw this huge litter of kittens. The kittens has been abandoned – bottle fed and raised by their foster mother who must have been a saint given how demanding they were for attention. In the middle was this fluffy little calico – I’ve always had a soft spot for calicoes and long haired cats at that. She was mine.
We got her home – and did the meeting between her and the Bean. She was maybe 1/5th of his size, yet he was terrified of her. So, she spent the next few days stalking him and chasing him around. It was then that she earned her name – named after a cute little character in a comic book that was actually a trained assassin & who would terrorize people in the most perfect ways if it came down to it. It fit her perfectly.
Because she was raised by a human mom, she didn’t know the basics like cleaning herself. The Bean was a meticulous neatnik who could no longer handled being chased by a stinky kitten, so tackled her one night. We heard her cries for help and found him sitting on her giving her a thorough bath. As they got older, they would always bathe each other – having bonded over bath.
The other morning as I’m going through my usual routine, I noticed she was not yowling at me for food. She is an indoor-outdoor cat and has been known to skip out in the morning with our roommate, so I didn’t think anything of it. I came home from work and realized she was not greeting me. I quick look through the house, and I didn’t know where she was. This was not usual.
We searched high and low for the cat. We looked outside but with no luck. We searched from the attic to the basement – nada. People suggested she got locked in a closest or a cupboard. A possibility, but she was the master of getting locked someplace and letting the whole word know she needed out – so not likely, though we checked some places.
I posted something on Craig’s List. I checked the animal shelters and animal emergency vet clinic. I posted missing cat notes in their databases too – though it was kind of redundant given she is chipped. Last time a good Samaritan found our cat and thought she was lost, we got a phone call from the chip company before she was even gone for an hour. The fact no one has called – no one has posted – just makes me fear the worst.
When our yellow lab Bob died, we reflected on the situation and decided that he, on some level, chose his time to pass. We had been watching him like a hawk -making sure his comfort level was good because we didn’t want him to suffer. And his arthritis was definitely approaching the suffering point. Right when it was starting daily conversations about his pain level, we woke up to him pretty much gone. No choice was really possible for us. It was time for him to go, and he went – a better way than suffering worse.
I always had visions of my cat one day just not coming home. Not necessarily because she was stolen or hit by a car or something, just that she would decide it was time like some animals do – leave the house, go find her spot, and take her leave. No decision for us – she just wouldn’t come home.
Since the Bean has passed in June, she has aged about 5 years, I think. When she got “rescued” by the good Samaritan, she was 10 but the shelter put her age at 5. Even as the Bean aged, he looked older and acted it. She did not. She hit an age and seemed to stay there. So to suddenly see her struggling to jump – hearing her snoring more at night – having food sensitivity issues, etc – it was weird. It was unusual. She befriended Maggie, so we thought that may slow her aging a bit – having a new friend. It gave her a buddy to interact with – but it was not the same.
“Free roaming cats” have an average lifespan of 5-6 years. We knew that when she started going outside, but she loved going outside to lay in the sun and catch mice. It was harder keeping her in the house than it was to let her roam and be happy – so we chose happy knowing it could mean a shorter life span. Almost 16 yrs old is extremely old for a cat living like that. In cat years, she would be around 80-84 years old.
I guess maybe that’s why I’m in the head space that she has likely died. Doesn’t mean I won’t stop looking for her in that off chance that she did get picked up by a well meaning person, but I have to entertain the likelihood of that not being the case.
DJ is more of a circle-of-life girl when it comes to pets dying. She is sad but knows that is just part of life – and remembers the good stuff. Indigo is a fear-death sort of kid. Nothing should die in her mind – and I get that – it’s scary. She is a wreck right now when she realizes the cat is gone – missing or dead – she doesn’t like either. G and I are sad – another one of our fur-babies is gone. We don’t like it at all but know it’s part of the way life is.
I just hope that whatever happened – that she is not suffering. The idea of that makes my heart ache more than any other option. That is truly my main hope. I hope she does come home, but overall, I just hope she is in a good place.