Abbie The Cat Has A Posse
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I've got great news to report; Abbie is back home safe where he belongs and slightly no worse for the wear. A neighbor saw our flyers and called when she spotted "definitely a large" tuxedo cat in her backyard chasing a squirrel; she was pretty sure the cat had spent at least one night in her garage as well. I wasn't home from work at the time but my housemate Tracy was, and dashed out to find Abbie already on the move towards another neighbor's house. Though he appeared to be Very Wary of everyone and everything, Abbie eventually recognized Tracy and allowed himself to be picked up and escorted back inside where he should have been all along.
The first thing he did when he got in was run to where his food dish should've been (it was in the back room serving as bait for the House Trap) and complained loudly. This was pretty much the first indicator that he was going to be all right. After wolfing down a great deal of wet food he went around looking for me -- checking my room, my office chair, all over. When I finally did get home he ran right up and started telling me all about things while I picked him up and gave him a big hug (and checked for injuries and whatnot at the same time.) Since then he's hardly left my side while I'm home, and has decided that lap-sitting is a really great thing, especially when the lap belongs to someone hard at work. (He's a dear but it's sometimes hard to type around him.)
He'd lost about 5 pounds in his week-plus outdoors, but has quickly begun to regain that. He had no scars or wounds that I could find, and he wasn't limping or favoring a paw. I took him to the vet to get him checked out. He came out of it with all his shots up-to-date and his claws clipped; he threw a fit when the vet tried to look at his teeth so we wisely decided to leave the microchipping (which involves a larger needle than the vaccinations) for a dental appointment, when he goes under and won't be in any position to complain.
I am extremely grateful for all the help I received from my housemates, friends, online acquaintances, and random strangers both local and far away. I had the flu during a major part of Abbie's absence, and Tracy spearheaded the operation quite ably, getting folks out to flyer and search the neighborhood any time I got a call from someone who thought they'd seen a huge black-and-white monstrosity terrorizing squirrels. People searched for Abbie in other time zones just to check. It was quite inspiring, and I'd like to thank everybody who did anything to help, even if it was just thinking a kind thought for the cat while he was out having his outdoor adventure (and worrying me sick). This fellow really does have a posse.
I'm sure he'll be around sooner or later to tell you his side of things, but if he starts bragging about how he bravely marched to fight the neighborhood dogs or something, you might want to take it with a grain of salt.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Hi there. Might as well take a moment to introduce myself: Hi, I'm Rob. The Guy. The one who gives Abbie the access to the computer and lets him bang on the keys whenever he feels like it. When we started this blog seven years ago I made it a point not to actually post to it myself; I wanted to let Abbie do the talking. Sometimes, though, Abbie couldn't be around, so his sister Martha was able to write in his place. Unfortunately Martha's no longer with us, and we have no other animals in this house, so I figured I would be the one to step up and say what needs to be said. I always knew I'd have to break the fourth wall one day, but at least the reason why I thought I'd have to isn't the reason why I'm posting right now.
The reason I'm posting right now is because Abbie the Cat has gone missing.
This isn't a story, and it isn't a setup for me to start talking about pirates; it's for real. I last saw him Sunday morning, February 3, as I was getting ready to go to work. When I came back home, he didn't immediately run to greet me (and he often does; he's very dog-like in that fashion) but I saw nothing wrong there. Sometimes when I come home he's asleep upstairs or on the papasan or in the kitchen trying to wheedle some food out of one of my housemates.
I still hadn't seen him when I went to bed, but I still thought he was probably downstairs on the papasan or in the TV room or wherever else he likes to curl up. The next morning, however, he didn't greet me as he usually does. Let me tell you a bit about Abbie that he may not admit to: he's a small dog in cat form. He follows me around the house when I'm home, he does the running-to-greet-me thing, and he plays a mean game of fetch when he's up to it.
He also is extremely given to ritual. You may know what it's like to have a Ritual. Abbie sleeps by my feet at night, wakes up when I do, stands outside the bathroom door while I get ready for work, and demands to be let in as soon as he hears the shower stop. So as to not wake the housemates I usually concede to his demands and let him into the bathroom, whereupon he strides in, makes sure everything is where it should be, and then struts out. Total elapsed time of inspection: 30 seconds. He then accompanies me back to the bedroom where he either plops his furry butt down right where I need to be, or else he sits on the good pair of pants I'd laid out on the bed for that morning. He follows me downstairs as I get ready to go, and I make sure his bowls are full and he wanders off somewhere as soon as I head for the door.
He wasn't around on Monday morning. At that point I knew something was up. Before I left for work I checked all the closed doors that Abbie may have inadvertently found himself behind: our back staircase, the downstairs bathroom, the hall closet, but he was nowhere to be seen. I got worried that he may have gotten out the door when someone left it open briefly; he's strictly indoors but occasionally gets a bit of wanderlust. I checked under our porches, in our bushes, out in the backyard, in the unused garage (whoa, a lotta junk there) and around the area. He was nowhere to be seen but one of the orange tabby Fagin cats was hanging around, and didn't like my presence one bit.
My housemates and I scoured the house later on to see if he'd found some new and crazy place to hide. We couldn't find him. At this point I made notices online to friends and locals, and have been rewarded thus far with several people who've had sightings. We've printed out fliers by the score and have posted them all around, especially where people have said they've seen a very big tuxedo cat. (Coincidentally enough, there's another missing fat tuxedo cat on the other side of town. That cat is named Phil.)
I've been speaking with local vets, our city's animal control department, anybody I can think of who may have stray cats brought in to them. So far nothing's turned up, but with the news of Fat Tuxedo Cat sightings, my housemate (who's made up a Dragnet-style map with "pushpins" regarding sightings, flier locations, and streets we've searched) we think we know where he may be lurking about. Indoor cats who escape often are bewildered and frightened by the outside world and, especially if they are not good at confrontation with strange cats (such as, say, that orange tabby bully in my backyard) will find a place to hide completely. It's very likely Abbie is quite close to home, but in hiding. However, given the reports we've gotten from around the area, he is at least out and about during the daytime -- sitting on a porch, meeting people on sidewalks, making friends as he always does. (He is very friendly and relaxed around people, which is good.) So it's also likely someone may have taken him in as a stray. It's clear that he's well-fed, however, so I am sure whoever knows cats will know he's somebody's.
Abbie is not collared, tagged, or microchipped. This presents a problem, and a lesson hard learned. I'd say "don't make the same mistake I done did" but I don't wish to lecture you. I do know that once he's recovered, he's going to have positive identification wherever he goes. (Of course, the first challenge will come in making him wear him a collar; if a 20-pound cat doesn't want to do something he won't do it.) We can't leave food out on the porch for him to find as the Fagin cats will come and steal it all, but I have left some of my clothes out on the porch; clothes he likes to sleep on. Hopefully his nose will help. I've also been walking up and down our nearby streets jingling my house keys in my hand, as it's a sound he knows very well.
If you live in or around the Davis Square neighborhood of Somerville, Mass, or you know someone who does, please keep an eye out for the humongous black-and-white cat with the large paws and big bright eyes. If you spot him, please let me know; you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment to this entry. If you take him in or you know someone who took a stray tuxedo cat in, please let me know. He's a wonderful cat, but I think you already knew that. He's been a part of my life for nearly eleven years now. I miss my buddy terribly and I want him back; I want him back and warm and full of food and comfortable again.