Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another missing cat in November :-(

Over sixteen years ago we acquired Cleo, who was a small and feisty kitten. Evidently she was a little older than we thought, because six months later - at the end of February 1999 - she gave birth to three kittens.

One of them only lived about six weeks; he became ill and the vet could not help. We were so upset at losing him that we decided to keep the other two.

Sophia was the intelligent one - hence her name - who quickly learned our schedules and bossed us all around. Jemima wasn't quite so bright, and she waddled like a 'puddleduck'. Hence her name.

Our feline family was completed, for a while, nearly two years later when Tessie walked into our house and our lives.

Not that Cleo's family never entirely accepted her.

In November of 2007, Jemima vanished. She was a quiet cat who avoided other people but liked to sleep outdoors at night. One neighbour said that, sometimes, nice cats were stolen to be sold. It seemed a strange theory, but better than any alternative. I was her special human and I missed her enormously; but by that stage, Daniel had left home. He was Sophia's special human, and she gradually transferred her affections to me.

Tim was Tessie's special person; he was looking after the house for us in November last year, when Tessie vanished in a similar manner. One day she was around, as usual; the next she was not. He hunted around the neighbourhood but there was no sign. She was thirteen at the time; not old, but she'd had a few strange episodes of hiding away, with unknown sickness. We never did find her.

So we were down to two increasingly elderly cats. Which is why, when we had the opportunity to adopt two kittens in the summer, we did so.

Thankfully the older cats accepted them well.

Cleo developed arthritis over the past year, and one of her legs became swollen. Around May or June she turned sixteen, which is equivalent to 96 in human years. She could no longer jump much, but she was still eating and washing happily, and purring as she snuggled into us at night.

Here she is, getting comfortable on a cushion about a month ago:

Sophia developed a slight lump on her right eyelid, and we were concerned enough that a visiting friend who has worked as a veterinary nurse took a look; he said it was a hematoma, probably caused by high blood pressure. As it caused her no distress he recommended ignoring it, unless it grew big enough to obstruct her vision.

It actually got smaller.. here she is, earlier this week, looking regal on the beanbag:

We were - at least in theory - prepared for the fact that Cleo might one day wander out of the house, and find a peaceful secluded spot, and fade away. It's what happened to our first cat, Toby, back in 1992. 

What we did not expect was that Sophia would vanish. Out of the blue, two days ago. Just like Jemima and Tessie did, except that it was in broad daylight. Sophia, who was an extremely vocal cat, would have let the entire neighbourhood know if she had got shut in somewhere, or if anybody tried to catnap her. 

It took me a couple of hours to notice that she'd gone out and not come in again; she used to ask to go in and out of my study door rather than using the cat flap, but she would often sleep outside in the sunshine. I was surprised when I went to water plants, and she did not appear to tell me off for wasting water. But I thought that perhaps she had come back into the house via the cat flap after all, and that I would find her inside somewhere, peacefully asleep.

I could not locate her anywhere.

I walked around the neighbourhood, afraid that she might have been run over, but there was no sign. I called for her, and listened.. but there was no distinctive Sophia mew. 

I became increasingly concerned.. and she did not come back. 

A friend mentioned that he had seen her scavenging in a dustbin a few days earlier; perhaps, he theorised, she ate something that's toxic for cats. I then started to wonder if her blood pressure was getting higher and she suffered a stroke. I tried to recall whether she had been behaving differently in recent weeks, and all I could think of was that she had been more peaceable, less bossy. 

Two days later there is still no sign - or sound - of Sophia, and I've given up searching. If by chance she got taken somewhere else, perhaps in the back of a truck, then it's just possible she might find her way home. But she was an old cat - she would have turned 16 in a few months. I had hoped she might have lived a few years longer as she seemed to be in such good health - but apparently not. 

I miss her, so much. 

It never occurred to me that Cleo would be the last remaining of our original four.


Anvilcloud said...

Aw, that's too bad. They sure disappear completely.

parepidemos said...

So very sorry to hear about this happening. Y