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- Chapter 1: The Unthinkable Happened
- Chapter 2: Night One
- Chapter 3: The Morning After
- Chapter 4: Awkward Conversations with Strangers
- Chapter 5: Anxiety Strikes
- Chapter 6: My Worst Nightmare
- Chapter 7: Utter Desperation
- Chapter 8: Fearing the Worst
- Chapter 9: The Wanderer Returns!
- Chapter 10: …And Like That, All Was Well
- Further Reading:
All of the pictures on this page are stock photos of cats from Pixabay.
1 in 3 pet cats will go missing at some point during their lives, and the majority of those will return within a few days unharmed. Many cats are gone for much longer before returning. Please try to stay positive if you’re in this situation, read the resources and information on this site and know that you’re not alone. This is just one of many positive cat reunion stories, never give up hope.
Content warning: Anxiety, Mental Health, Missing Pets
‘Bellarina’ (‘Bella’ for short) is one of my cats, the smaller of two siblings. She has one sister, ‘Kittymeister’ (Kitty for short) who was the only other kitten in her mother’s litter. We took them both when they were 8 weeks’ old and absolutely adore d them ever since.
We did all the things that a responsible pet owner does.
They’re neutered (spayed), chipped, vaccinated and we regularly give them flea & worm prevention treatments. We started letting them out from about 7 months old. Kitty loved exploring whereas Bella loved to sit somewhere quiet.
Bella went missing when she was 4 years old. It’s so unlike her as she is such an indoor pampered princess. The thought of her spending so long outside in the changeable weather, when she’s frightened of loud noises was terrifying for me. This is the story of how she disappeared and then reappeared many days later.
Chapter 1: The Unthinkable Happened
I came home from work at about 5 pm as usual and went straight to lie on the bed. Shortly later, my partner came home and so did Kittymeister.
Kitty came trotting upstairs.
“Where’s Bella? Is she up with you?” I heard him shout.
“Not up here!” I replied, before rushing downstairs. It’s not normal for Bella not to be close by, or for her to not come after being called.
I went out into the garden with my partner and we both hunted high and low.
Absolutely no sign of her. We searched every possible location where a cat could hide.
Checked our friendly animal-loving next door neighbor’s houses and gardens.
This went on for several hours before we resigned ourselves to the fact that she wasn’t coming back this evening.
I succumbed to tiredness about 1 am. Bella was nowhere to be seen or heard. What a mess. This is the definition of a personal crisis: I don’t know where my beloved cat is. She disappeared without a trace.
Chapter 2: Night One
I woke suddenly at 3.41am, took a breath and paused for a moment before the severity and reality of the situation hit me. Bang. Awake. Bella is missing.
I wasn’t even weary, I trotted down the stairs and eagerly opened the back sliding door. The sound of the door opening caused Kitty to spring into action. Shit. Can’t let her out right now – sorry Kitty.
I quietly called out, very aware that it was 3-something in the morning, “Bellllaaa…”
“Bellllaaaaa..” slightly louder, but not massively so.
I was greeted with nothing.
A big fat nothing.
I closed the sliding door and walked away, before turning back and opening it again. I can’t give up hope now.
Again and again, I repeated the same thing, calling her and varying levels of quietness and bring greeted with nothing.
I put my shoes on and prodded around the garden, armed with my phone’s torch and a half-empty packet of Dreamies.
Where the fuck is she?
I hear a rustling in the trees. Just the wind. Is that a meowing I hear in the distance? Can’t be sure. What can I do now?
I decide that there’s nothing I can do right now. I go inside.
Kittymeister is pacing. I pick her up. She settles in my arms for about 5 seconds then jumps down. She runs to the sliding glass doors.
What could it be? Has she seen something? Is it her sister?
No. It was a moth, drawn to the light in the everlasting darkness of the night outside. It was drawn to the light much like Kitty was drawn to its flutter, and I was drawn to Kitty’s sudden motion of excitement. Her excitement sparked mine but it became nothing. It went away, much like the moth.
I let my tears fall, gave rubs and pets to Kitty, more tears falling. Back to bed. 4.36am.
One final check, then bed.
Try to sleep. Try.
Chapter 3: The Morning After
I awoke in the same abrupt manner as I did at 3.42. But it was 06.56. Wow. I slept.
No chance. I text my boss, they’ll understand.
They did understand… “take the day off,” she said.
Right. What to do. I looked out of the window and saw a few people gardening outside.
Down I went, coat on (it was rainy) and into the garden. Hopped over the neighbor’s wall (they won’t mind) and called to a middle aged man who was rustling in his garden.
“Hello….Hi….Um, excuse me…?”
He looked up.
“Hi… I live just over there…” and I vaguely pointed towards my house, “My cat, she’s calico with white paws. I… can’t find her… please could you keep an eye out?”
The middle aged man paused.
“I know that cat!” He exclaimed, “Small and.. kind of Brown? Yeah… I know…”
“Ok, Um, let me know if you see her…?”
“Will do,” He replied and carried on rustling with plants.
“Thanks.” I stood for a minute then walked off. What do I do now? That encounter took like 2 minutes and felt like it consumed all my social energy.
I went indoors and shared at my blank laptop screen.
I should really carry on with some work…
How am I supposed to concentrate on anything besides finding Bella?
Chapter 4: Awkward Conversations with Strangers
11 am…I’ve written 6 important emails, but finished and sent precisely zero.
I saw another person in the garden, a young woman with her daughter playing on the lawn.
The same socially awkward conversation took place as it did with the middle-aged rustling man. It didn’t get me any closer to finding Bella and consumed the same amount of energy. I’m sure I had tears in my eyes this time too.
My partner was calling for an update. I told him there was no news.
He got irate and told me to ‘do something’. Do What, exactly? My brain seems to have collapsed into terror. I am not in a fit state to deal with this right now.
I spoke to a few more neighbors and decided I couldn’t do this alone.
It was time to get serious.
Phone. Facebook. Write new status. Change privacy to public…
My cat is missing. I began to type and felt the tears come. I last saw her yesterday but this is not like her. Please, share this and, if you’re local, check your gardens, garages, trees, etc. We just miss her so much already…
Tears were really falling as I scrolled through my gallery looking for the best pictures of her.
Then, I deleted the whole thing and threw my phone on my couch.
Chapter 5: Anxiety Strikes
I finally managed to write the damn thing and got instant responses…shares…
The 3 people who shared it live 20+ miles away. Hmmm
Messenger. A message from an old high school friend.
“Hey, I live right by you. I walk around loads, so sorry to hear but I’ll keep looking for you.”
That’s.. kind… I felt slightly positive and thanked him for his help.
So, I opened my laptop back up and decided to put my professional skills to use in this situation. I was going to design a Missing Cat poster. The best damn missing cat poster there was.
Tapping away at my desk as I waited for Facebook to load, I heard a noise outside.
I rushed downstairs with the faintest bit of hope that it was Bella. It was just a bird. Ffs and FML.
It’s been over 24 hours now. Where the fuck is she? She’s never been missing for 1 hour, let alone a whole day.
My hands shook as I created the Missing Cat poster, which, looking back was more desperate rather than kick-ass. It did the job.
I emailed it to my work where it could be printed. I knew that my sister had a printer and she offered to print 50, but she couldn’t bring them over until much later on.
My partner returned from work and we went on a poster sticking-up rampage.
Eye-level. Facing both directions. Street corners. Road crossings.
We canvassed our entire block with leaflets and posters.
The saga continues…
Chapter 6: My Worst Nightmare
As we resigned ourselves to a second sleepless night of disconcerting and facing the unknown possibilities, there was no way I could be positive.
I was heartbroken, devastated and every other emotive word. Distraught.
I would give anything for Bella back in our warm and cosy house.
Oh, Bella. Where art thou?
The posters will work, surely. Someone will have seen her for sure. She’s out there somewhere near by.
Predicatbly, I barely slept again that night. Waking up during frequent intervals, enjoying that brief moment of serenity before the dread and fear sets in.
Woke up and still no news. There is no way I can skip work today. I have a meeting.
I dragged myself into work, trying not to cry along the way.
Chapter 7: Utter Desperation
I made it to work and blubbed at the receptionist. She was kind.
I had planned to misuse my printing privileges to print more posters and fliers later on, but had 2 meetings to attend first.
Made it through the meetings and it actually took my mind off the horror of not knowing where Bella was. Everytime my mind bounced back to the topic, I felt overwhelmed and not in a good way.
Bella was still gone, I knew it.
The posters have been up for a day and not one single phone call or sighting.
My posts on social media were being shared a lot and I was getting a lot of sympathy… but no joy with actually finding my Bella.
During my lunch break, I called the microchip database to report Bella missing.
I Then, tearfully and reluctantly, called every vet within a 5 mile radius. Then, every animal shelter. Then, the county.
I thought, maybe, this covers every base so if she shows up, she’s more likely to get back to me.
Chapter 8: Fearing the Worst
Days want by and still no Bella. Not a peep. This was It, there was no way she would be gone this long unless something happened.
Hit by a car?
Chased off by another cat?
Stuck in a tree?
She could be anywhere by now!
I followed up a few loose leads that dripped through via social media.
A cat looking like a fox, spotted by a 9 year old girl who lived a mile away. Worth a shot – wasn’t Bella. The sound of a distressed animal, which wasn’t there when I arrived. A phone call from a lovely lady offering me advice; telling me to do everything that I had already done – sigh.
I even widened the search area, 2 blocks either side of mine. Nothing.
Five long days and nights passed with absolutely no sign of Bella.
Night after night we walked, we called, we asked, we had no luck.
That was it. It was all over.
Chapter 9: The Wanderer Returns!
Day 6. I got up and got ready for work before realising it was Friday. I don’t work Fridays. Lucky me, that’s usually something to be happy about, but not today.
Still no sign of Bella. My partner had gone out early to pick up 250 (!) “Missing cat” posters as we planned to widen our search area.
I was exhausted, both emotionally and physically. The posters sat idle by the front door as I rush upstairs, responding to the faint sound of my phone ringing…
“Hi, yes, I saw your um, poster of your cat…”
“Yes…” I responded with the most excited sound in the world…
“Oh. No. Please don’t get excited.. I work with cats and I called to give some advice…”
My heart sank.
The lovely lady on the other end of the phone went through the rigmarole of telling me to do things I’d already done. She was sympathetic, but I hung up the phone no better off.
I couldn’t handle this. I needed a nap.
Dreamy. Dazed. Someone was calling my name in the distance. I opened my eyes.
Heard my name again.
Someone was calling my name. I went to the window. My neighbor. Yelling at the top of her lungs.
“ALEX! ALEX!” IT’S BELLA! SHE’S HERE… SHE’S BACK….”
Chapter 10: …And Like That, All Was Well
My neighbor carried on yelling but I didnt reply. I just ran. I ran downstairs faster than I’d ever done before. Barefoot.
There she was. Bella. In the backdoor, with Kitty. Both of them, stood next to each other, looking up at me.
Am I seeing double?
I opened the back door and in they both trotted, my neighbor still making incomprehensible sounds. Well, they were incomprehensible to my ears at least.
She’s back. She’s here, rubbing up against my leg.
“She just appeared!” Continued my neighbor.
“Oh Bella, where have you been?!” I picked her up and swung her around. She felt light, empty, hungry.
Time for food!
I just sat there and watched her and Kitty eat. Tears filled my eyes.
I called my partner, he took the call despite being in work. Overjoyed.
I took great joy in adding this to my Facebook status, which has now been shared over 120 times:
UPDATE: Bella has come home! After the worst week of my life, she’s back! She just appeared… absolutely no idea where she was all this time. Thanks to everyone who shared this post and helped looked for her. We’re all extremely relieved.
Of course, this was met with another influx of strangers who shared my intense joy.
“What brilliant news!” One person said
“Oooooh, fantastic!!!! Welcome home Bella xxx” came another.
Fantastic news indeed. My partner came home and we ripped down all of the posters we’d put up around the neighborhood. We very much enjoyed doing this.
Bella was grounded for 2 and a half weeks. It was very challenging to keep her indoors, especially as Kitty was out a lot. We had to keep all the windows and doors shut, but Bella seemed fine about it. She was absolutely fine, no harm came to her at all, thankfully.
It was a very difficult decision to let her out again, but it was cruel to not let her roam. I began researching cat trackers which is why this blog came about. Bella and Kitty now wear trackers when they’re outside, for my peace of mind and their safety.
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