My cat, Bailey, disappeared on Sunday. We haven’t seen him since.
I’ve had Bailey for almost 9 years. I got him the summer after I graduated college, from an acquaintance who realized she didn’t have time for a kitten. I grew up with cats, and as soon as I had graduated and was living on my own, I knew I wanted one of my own.
It was nice to have Bailey to come home. I was living alone for the first time in my life, and while I enjoyed it, it was nice to have an energetic kitty to greet me when I came home from work. He was an energetic cat, but small. Even now, at nine, he never got over 10 pounds–long and lean.
Bailey moved around the country with me. We started in Tucson, moved to Connecticut, then to New Jersey, then to San Diego. Airplanes, cars, and moving trucks–whatever I had to do to bring him with me, we made it work. He hated to travel (I think he meowed the entire drive from New Jersey to California), but then, very few cats seem to enjoy traveling.
Bailey isn’t what you would call…friendly. I think it took him about 4 years to warm up to N.C. He doesn’t tend to like visitors–more often hissing at them than purring for them. He can’t seem to stand the kid. He gives Jackson a WIDE berth, making giant arcs to avoid walking too near him. He only likes being petted a certain way, hates being held, and pretty much is a jerk most of the time.
But at the end of the day, after the kid is asleep, Bailey wants to be near me or N.C. Every night he sleeps with us (pinning me to the bed more often than not). I’m used to his little warm body next to me at night, or the patpatpat of his feet on the kitchen floor above our bed as he eats a midnight snack, or the galloping sounds of him playing on the stairs. I’m used to him chasing us up the stairs, and meowing when we don’t give him a piece of the chicken we’re eating. I’m used to having a kitty in my lap while I watch tv.
It feels a little colder without him in the house. It’s definitely quieter. The thought that something bad has happened to him is constantly at the edge of my thoughts, making me more melancholy than I really have the time to be. Worse, the thought that I won’t ever get to say goodbye to him breaks my heart.
My hope is that someone in the neighborhood found him, or that he’s hunkered down somewhere, and we’ll get him back. But despair keeps edging hope out, for reasons I don’t fully understand. Maybe it’s because he’s an indoor cat, or because we live on a big road, or because he’s older and not quite as spry as he used to be. Maybe it’s just the fear. Even though I know lots of people who had a cat show up again after 4,5,6 days (or more), I fear that that won’t be the case here.
I hope to God I’m wrong. I hope that he shows up, scared and hungry and pissed at us. I hope I don’t have to whisper my goodbye to the wind, and hope against hope that he knows I loved him.