Seven years ago, after an out-0f-state-move that never came to pass, we adopted a giant grey cat from a shelter. I chose him because my then 1 year old came with me into the “meeting room” and kept trying to yank the cat by the tail to drag him closer for hugs. The cat did nothing but allow himself to be dragged so I figured he was the perfect pet for 3 small children.
For over a year he was an indoor cat. He never even attempted to get out except for once where get got so scared he literally clung to the side of our brick home like an ornamental fixture.
Imagine our surprise then when we moved to New Jersey and he started knocking out window screens to get outside. We fought it for a while, but eventually gave in to save our rental property from certain damage!
For the last five years he has roamed our neighborhood daily, always returning at night for a meal and a good overnight snuggle in one of four beds. Every now and then he’d disappear for more than one night, but always just long enough to make me nervous before he’d saunter back onto the porch with the swagger of a man who’s eaten two or three dinners.
When we introduced the dog into the house, he was not thrilled. In fact, the dog mostly ignores him but the cat still hates even being in the same room. He’s managed to stake out new territory that the dog was forbidden from, and the yard was always his for the taking as we walked the pooch to do his business.
Lately, we’ve been training Riggins to play fetch. We let him off leash in our back yard and sometime during the game he always has to relieve himself. He has two spots (sorry grass) that he pick every time so he’s not marking the whole yard, but he has marked some.
And our cat has disappeared.
The timing doesn’t match perfectly, so my theory may be a total miss. We started taking the dog in the yard at the beginning of summer and our cat started staying out a few extra days here and there. But still, he returned for meals and was still sleeping in beds. We just figured he was adjusting again to life with this new family member. After all, he still gets fed and loved on regularly and he wears identifying tags and a collar so a stray he clearly is not.
Yet, here we sit with missing cat posters and broken hearts.
The kids and I have decided he’s moved on to a place where he has free reign and no pesky German Shepherds who always want to play with him. We’re trying to accept that over two weeks gone probably means he isn’t coming back. We’ve all cried and we’ve called and reported to everyone we can think of. We’re trying to say goodbye the only way we know how.
While still checking the yard every morning and night for our friend to return.
It’s some kind of crazy pet limbo. It stinks a lot.
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