All of our cats are strictly indoor only pets, but Max got a taste for liking to go outside...through my stupidity.
Once in a while I'd take him outside with me for a strictly supervised visit to the backyard, never lasting any longer than just a few minutes. He'd roll around in the dirt and get gloriously dirty, chomp on some catnip (that grows wild all over our yard) and after a few minutes I'd haul him back inside.
Unfortunately, as I see now, these little visits just fueled his desire to be out there and to try and sneak out whenever possible. He succeeded a few times, but we always caught him right away.
Not this time. This time he succeeded and we failed. We believe he slipped out Monday night as I was letting the dog out one last time for the night. I didn't notice him slip out, and I didn't notice that he wasn't inside. But I sure noticed Tuesday morning when I got up to feed them. No Max. Nowhere in the house. I ran outside calling for him, no luck. I woke Husband up, frantic. We both set out up and down the street while it was still dark out, searching. I called in sick to work and I set about making flyers and posting them everywhere in our neighborhood. Husband and I walked miles and miles all day looking, to no avail. We left word at every vet clinic in town as well as the animal shelter at the Humane Society. Haven't heard anything yet.
Mind you, our pets are like our kids. Literally. As we're unable to have kids of our own, we love and nurture and pamper our animals as if they are our children. How would you feel if you woke up one morning and found your child missing? Sick with fear, sick with worry, sick with grief over the very real possibility that you'll never see him again.....yes. All that and more.
I managed to go into work for a few hours today to get done what I absolutely had to and then came home for the day at lunch. I'm so glad I have a private office with a door that I can close, so no one could see me crying. The rest of the day has been spent either sobbing like a child, or staring into space, silent and catatonic.
Three years ago I had to put my beloved Panther cat to sleep; he was 17 years old and failing rapidly from kidney disease. That was the worst, most traumatic thing I had ever gone through up to that point in my life....but at least there was closure. I knew what had happened.
Now this is the second worst, most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me, but I have no closure with this. How do I go on with normal life, not knowing? He could be lost, unable to find his way back. Someone could have picked him up and decided to keep him as their own. He could have been attacked or killed by another animal. He could have been hit by a car. We just have no way of knowing his fate, and the chances that we'll ever see him again at this point are slim to none. Do I just assume he's dead and grieve and go on with life? It seems impossible right now.
If this were a real child, the police and everybody and their brother would be out searching....I don't have that luxury. No, I'm supposed to just suck it up and deal; after all, "it's just a cat." Well, #^@%!% that.
I just don't know how to handle this. It may be awhile again before I feel like writing, all of the joy in life has been sucked out and I feel dead inside. If you're the praying kind, please pray that our Max Max is safe.
Update 4/15/10: Max decided to come back to us and grace us with his presence again. Husband got up this morning at 5:30 to let the dog out, and when he turned around to go back inside there Max was as if he'd appeared out of nowhere.
We have no idea where he's been hiding all this time, but we think it was fairly close by and he was just too scared to come out. We've had some bad weather the last couple of days and so all of the wind and thunder and rain probably kept him rooted to the spot. He had some mud on him but otherwise appears unharmed, except for being dehydrated, hungry, and exhausted.
I'm so relieved it's indescribable....my brain is still processing everything and it all feels a little surreal. Last night after I posted this I said to myself, "Watch, now he'll show up." LOL! I guess blogging was my own good luck charm. It really was that traumatic to me though. To Husband too, though it's harder to discern with him. Typical man.
Thank you for letting me vent and for all your good wishes. Max is recuperating from his little adventure and believe me, will never, ever, be allowed to get near the door again!