Last night didn’t go well. I got home after being away for four days to find that my youngest cat had been missing for four days. I was overwhelmed with grief and worry. I would have come home immediately if I’d known.
Last night involved searching the farm in the dark with a flashlight, walking through mud at moments, and crying while calling her name. This morning was more of the same after contacting some neighbors thru text and email. Today I went south and north of our home on the street. The neighbors I spoke with were all kind and said they’d keep an eye out.
One neighbor sent a text that there was a cat on the street in front of another neighbor’s home. I nearly fell over with hope when the neighbor with the cat by their driveway said that it wasn’t a color match. They had assumed it was one of my brother’s barn cats, but it wasn’t a match to them either. I feel for whom ever loved that one.
When I made it back home, I created a missing cat flyer, contacted everyone recommended by Kalamazoo County Animal Services (KCAS), and followed all of the other posting recommendations.
I headed back out and went north this time. Two cousins/neighbors gave me permission to put boxes in their yards. I have the best of neighbors, some happen to be cousins, nephew/nieces, and siblings.
When I got home, I checked the garage for the umpteenth time, and I didn’t see her. but then I thought I should open it and put a cat box in there with food and water. I left and handed out missing kitty fliers to several veterinarian offices, the Shell gas station, the Library, a few on the counter at the Post Office, and to KCAS to make sure I’d filled out the online form correctly and to see their intakes. She was not there, and she was not in the garage when I got home.
Every half hour or so, after coming home, I went back to checking on those front and back yard crates. I’d also left the garage door open around three inches. About 9:30, when I turned on the backyard lights, a furry fanny that looks much like my kitty backed out and ran away from the crate! Oh, I was so hopeful. I turned off most of the lights, and stood there watching in the dark.
Soon I heard what could be her teeny, tiny mew, it’s more like a stuccato “ow”. But I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. That mew and I played Marco Polo with great success. I kept asking where Miss Poppy was, and she kept responding “ow”. Eventually, I found her cold, shaking, and wide eyed in a corner. She wanted me to touch her cheek, but to also not touch her. I moved things, and she kept moving away. So, we made sure the garage door was shut, opened the door to the house, and stood in the kitchen hoping she’d come in on her own.
A few minutes later, she came galloping into the house! It was a fantastic sight for sore eyes (really sore from worry and tears). We got a dish of food and water just for her, but she was too busy sniffing everything and being told off by her mom for scaring everyone. She was cold, damp, and stinky, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be her human.
She was born on the streets of downtown Kalamazoo, and I had feared her nine lives were long gone. Giving thanks to God, family, and friends for doing what they could to help, for offering to go hunting for her tomorrow, and for sharing her missing kitty flyer and posts. Based on her spunk, I hope she has a few more lives to go, because I think she could run through them more easily than most cats in my life. She and her mom are our youngest kitties, and we have fallen madly in love with these formally feral furry friends.
I have not had this experience before, and I prefer to never have it again. I’ve had cats disappear in my home for up to a day and a half, but never outside for more than a few minutes. My heart goes out to all missing a fur friend. I am so glad there are so many resources available in these situations. I am forever grateful for the kindness of everyone I met today, most of whom were strangers. Although I think I instantly bonded with the cashier at the Shell station, who is also a cat person, and said he’d be devastated if this happened with any of his kitties. He said he’d keep my kitty and I in prayer.
Now back to the business of letting people know to recycle the missing kitty flyers for Miss Poppy, aka Pop Pop or Pop Star.
Moral: Not everyone gets a happy ending. I have no idea why, and I wish it weren’t true. For now, I celebrate.