Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Santa Clarita Coup De Grace

There's lots of good news to share today. Xena appears to be doing fine: She's full of beans, playing in the yard, chasing Annie when the latter is going after a ball. The weather has improved - no more 110 degree days, at least for a while. I love where I live. I'm still employed. I joined a gym that's got a great pool. I'm having friends over today for a Dodger party.

But there's one bad piece of news that hangs over everything. Just as I was recovering from the news about Xena, another blow hit me between the eyes yesterday.

My cat disappeared Friday. I haven't seen her since 9:30 Friday morning.

Two major blows in one week. What next?

I had been letting her outside a few times. She is an outdoor cat after all...when I first adopted her when I lived in Stockton, she'd disappear every day during daylight hours and return in the late afternoons. She always wandered around the other houses where I lived and would should up when it was time to eat.

But it's different here. This is town, but it's also country. But there are plenty of cats in the neighborhood that I've seen outdoors. Just the other day, a huge siamese cat was seen walking along the top of the backyard wall, glaring at me as he strolled by.

For the first few weeks here, Albee has stayed in the yard. One day she was gone for eight hours. I was hysterical by the time she reappeared at the back door, calm as ever. So since then I had been careful about making sure she didn't go outside, but she had been fighting with me constantly: every single time I went in and out of the back sliding glass door, there she was: a 10 pound bundle of fur, waiting to bolt. I got tired of having to push her back with my foot.

Friday morning she bolted. For a second I turned and looked at her and she looked back, and I said out loud, "Fine! Be that way." Assuming that she'd take a turn around the yard and come back.

But she didn't.

By Friday night I was worried sick. I'd call her and call her, and look over the back wall at the undeveloped land behind my house and call some more. Finally I went to bed, leaving the back light on and food and water out for her. I got up three times during the night to check if she was there. She wasn't.

At one point Friday when I finally drifted off to sleep, I was awakened by what I thought was the sound of her in her litter box. I bolted up thinking, "Good! She's back!" But of course she wasn't. When I drifted off again, she appeared in a dream, and I woke up with a feeling of dread.

Yesterday morning I cried, made up fliers with one of my favorite photos of her, and called my best friend for help. I took the dogs for a walk, fliers in hand to hand out to neighbors. The first neighbor I approached was a nice man four houses down, working on a sprinkler in his yard. When I told him I had just moved in and my cat was missing, he exploded.

"We have lost FOUR cats here in the past few years. It's gotten to the point that we don't bother even naming them." He continued, telling me that the back area was too wild, too full of hawks and owls and the occasional coyote. I couldn't even speak as I handed him a flyer.

Later I checked out the local animal shelter website - thank God they post photos of animals they have picked up on their web site, so you no longer have to go to the shelter to see if your pet is there. One of the small but very important benefits of the Internet.

IT's now been almost 48 hours. I emptied her food bowl yesterday, not because I've lost hope, but because ants had taken over the contents. But I left the back light on again last night.

I'm preferring to think that Albee has decided she needs a new owner and is now happily sleeping with someone else. Either that or she's out in the wild, perfectly content catching field mice.

At first, I wasn't going to write about this. I am heartsick and full of guilt. It is all just too much sadness - not just for me to write it, but also for my readers. I hate to write such downer posts, but one of my recent decisions has been to write more about my life since I moved in this house. So you get the good with the bad.

Today I'm looking forward to my party and being with friends will cheer me up. Like a lot of things in life that you have to recover from, having people around is what will get you through it.

Bookmark and Share


Bill Crider said...

We have two cats. They're just like family to us. I hope Albee is somewhere safe. Keep thinking that she is.

Deka Black said...

Same here, i hope she's well and safe :(

Charles Gramlich said...

Cats do have some wandering genes so maybe she's just out "catting around." I'll hope for good news.

Barry Traylor said...

Having been in this situation myself I know exactly what you are feeling.
I realize that with all the terrible things that happen in the world I suppose I should not feel that way about a cat. But I can't change how I feel.
Hoping for good news from out your way.

Ron Scheer said...

Don't you love the way some people think they're doing you a favor by trying to dash your hopes. . . I wouldn't give up yet; cats can take long walkabouts.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

We had one that adopted another family for a couple of months, then came back to us. Keep the faith and good luck.

Laurie Powers said...

Barry, I don't see how anyone could think losing a beloved pet would be trivial, regardless of what is going on the world. That people would think that is sad indeed.

I really, really, really miss my cat and I'm broken hearted. I'm also worried about her because I don't know if she's sick or lost. I like everyone's attitude that has commented here - to not lose hope. That has helped a lot. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

About 15 years ago I had a cat who somehow got out of my second floor apartment. She and her adoptive brother were both indoor cats. I was pretty sure she was gone for good. Then one day, about a week later, I came home to find her sitting by the door waiting for me to let her in. Here's hoping your story ends the same way.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Do you think Albee could be trying to head back to your/her "old" home? I can remember several newspaper reports here of cats making remarkable journeys from one suburb to another and turning up in old haunts relatively unscathed weeks later. That said, we once had a cat who disappeared and turned up a week later as close as the next house, where he had become locked in the basement. Cats are curious (in both senses), so perhaps your story will end with a pleasant surprise. I hope so.