Last week, one of my cats ran away.
To most people, this isn’t an Earth shattering thing. Cats run away every day. Pets are just pets. Pets can be replaced. To me, though, this is pretty Earth-shattering. For me, my pets are my best friends. I’m a pretty solitary person, but every day I knew that two little furry faces were waiting for me at home. They rubbed circles around my legs and meowed (or tried to) in happiness when I came through the door. I always felt loved, appreciated, needed by these two little dragons, every single day. There’s something so cool about that.
Cleo ran away on the the 18th of October. John and I had spent the night before in a hotel in the Olympic Peninsula and on our short weekend trip I showed John the background of my phone (the picture above) and said to him, “Every time I open open my screen, my heart melts a little.” John laughed and said, “My heart doesn’t even melt when I look at pictures of my KIDS!” We got home late Saturday night and the cats were fine. They didn’t even seem to notice that we were gone. On Sunday, we had planned to have some people from Craigslist come by to pick up our old bookcases. When they came to pick up the bookcases, I was in our bedroom napping and John came to check on me. The front door was open as they were moving the bookshelves and we think that was what spooked her. We haven’t seen her since. She’s not an outdoor cat and never even wore a collar. She was afraid of going outside. It just doesn’t make sense.
It’s been a week and a half and it’s genuinely been a really rough time for me, even though I don’t want to admit it. We’ve combed the neighborhood, sure we would find her under a nearby porch or bush. We’ve left everything we can think of the front porch, in hopes that she’ll smell her way home. We’ve checked shelters, we’ve posted flyers, we’ve posted online… we’ve done everything we can think of.
When I’m stressed, this fun thing happens where I break out in itchy hives. For the past week and half, my legs have been covered with a horrible case of hives, which only get worse the more I stress out. I haven’t cried (all that) much, and I’ve tried to remain as positive as I can, but my body is wearing my grief and is a constant reminder that everything isn’t ok.
Everyone I tell has some great story about how their animal ran away too, but they came home after a day, a week, a month, a year. I’m starting to wonder if Cleo will be coming home. I want to stay hopeful, but raccoons keep eating the food outside and the litter box got soaked in the rain. Every time I see a bushy grey tail streak by, my hopes soar… only to realize that it’s a squirrel. I keep having dreams that she’s going to run towards me, running like the clumsy cat she is, meowing in her so soft that it almost sounds silent way. I wake up crying.
And poor Lucas. He’s glued to my side when I’m home and walks around the house crying. Every time he’s by a window, he jumps up to look out it, looking for his sis. The sis that he chased around mercilessly every day, but that came with him from the hoarder house and who has matching hobbit paws.
Cleo wasn’t a perfect cat. She peed on furniture when she was mad and she clawed at my beautiful couch until the sides were shredded. She cuddled until she didn’t want to anymore and she let you know with a bite or a scratch. She is a bratty, cranky, tough kitty who showed love in the most surprising ways and begrudgingly gave the sweetest cuddles. In a lot of ways, she was the cat that was most like me. While Lucas loves and accepts everyone who comes in the door, Cleo was guarded and only showed kindness to people she really cared about. She loved me, she loved John most of the time, she tolerated her brother and she loved John’s son, Gabriel. We miss her so much and we want her to come home.