Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The cat came back — 22 days later

When our cat disappeared April 15, it was just another reason to hate tax deadline day.

What surprised us was this was the toughest, most street-savvy cat of our three cats. Originally a stray cat, she adopted us more than four years ago as a scrawny, starving, bob-tailed cat that was determined to convince us that our home was actually her home.

Or at least the yard was her domain.

We learned to respect her wishes, and also begain to provide food daily to her as well as a comfy cushion bed and several blankets for her just outside our house door. She even trained us to tuck her in at night when it was cold.

Gentle, loving and easy to purr, Bobbi became part of our family that has since grown to include three cats in total. She also adopted a second family — our neighbors across the street, and she constantly walked back and forth to share her time almost equally between our two yards.

But Bobbi also showed us how tough she can be. She would chase off any stray cats, wild animals or anything else that challenged her territory. A couple of times we saw her not just raccoons out of the yard, but actually ride their backs — she would stand on them, all her claws sunk deep into the poor confused animals that were several times her size.

Needless to say, we always thought this cat could take care of herself, even with all the wild animals on the prowl each night and eagles often soaring overhead.

But then she disappared on April 15. Not a clue of her was around, no signs of fights or scuffles and even fur. Our neighbors and us mourned her absence as the days stretched.

We checked ads for missing/found cats, phoned veterinarian offices, and animal shelters. It was heart-wrenching to go to the humane society and see so many other lost or homeless cats and dogs — but no signs of her.

"I'm sorry," apologized one of the workers at the humane society. "I know you wanted closure."

I found that word was one of the most troubling emotionally. When you hear "closure" you think immediately that hope is gone that she might still be found alive.

Our cat who spent the most time with Bobbi outside was also deeply mourning the loss of his companion. Several years younger than her, he meowed often each day for her and continually searched familiar and unfamiliar places, attempting to find her. He wanted more attention from us than usual, and wanted in and out of the house more often, so determined to continue his search for her.

But then, 22 days after she disappeared, Bobbi came home.

She had lost many pounds. She just walked into the yard one afternoon, meowing loudly to let us know she was back. One could easily feel her ribs and backbone, and she seemed as light as feather when we lifted her up. But somehow she had found her way home, hungry and exhausted, but apparently happy to return to two families — and a cat buddy — that missed her so much. Rusty quickly ran to her and rubbed heads with Bobbi, both of them purring.

We wish Bobbi could talk. We wish we had a tracking device or camera on her, to find out what she did for so many days. We wonder if she accidentally climbed into one of the many construction vehicles that had been on our street April 15, or whether she got locked accidentally in someone's garage, or if someone stole her or whether she had decided to go for one last big adventure by herself.

We just don't know. In a city where there are so many other cats on the streets, perhaps no one even noticed this bobtailed skinny tabby with the big heart as she wandered in search of her home.

All we know is Bobbi is home — and it's good to have her back.


threecollie said...

What a story! I am so glad to hear that she returned!

Elaine Shein said...

I was quite shocked myself. On the farm, we had a lot of animals disappear over the years, unfortunately, that never returned. We guessed that usually wolves or coyotes got them, or sometimes neighbors who didn't want wandering animals near their yards or pastures.

I'm still waiting to see if Disney phones to makes a movie-of-the-week about our cat, but I won't hold my breath!

Anonymous said...

We may not be Disney but the Animal Planet network is interested in your story. We are producing a brand new show for Animal Planet all about cats and we're looking for some stories about cats that have gone missing and then returned to their owner.

If you're interested in hearing more about the show, please email me at

Noah Z

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