The Cat Reunion That Wasn't

There are a lot of indoor/outdoor cats in my neighborhood, something I am not fond of at all. With few exceptions, I believe cats should be kept indoors, where it's safe and warm, and where they aren't going to be run over, attacked by other animals, or wander off never to return. I can't imagine letting any of my three cats out of my house for one second. I live in a subdivision, but it's very close to several busy roads. There are too many dangers out there.

I was jogging (and sweating) on Sunday, when a car slowed down beside me. The driver asked me if I had seen his fluffy orange and white cat, Tucker, who was lost. I told him I hadn't, but I had seen the posters he and his wife had put up around the neighborhood, and would keep a look out for the cat. The man thanked me and drove off.

The picture of Tucker on the posters looked remarkably similar to a cat who has visited us in our backyard for years (although we hadn't seen this particular cat in about six months). This cat was orange and white and very fluffy, and had part of his tail missing, something we had taken sad notice of over the years. However, last night as my husband was outside grilling, this cat arrived in our backyard. We quickly enclosed this very affectionate kitty in our garage, so he wouldn't escape, and I took off to find the nearest poster of the lost cat, Tucker, so I could copy down his owner's phone number.

When I called the number, I told the boy who answered that I wasn't positive I had found Tucker, but that I had an orange and white cat enclosed in my garage. I asked if their cat had part of his tail missing. The boy said "yes!" At that point, I was certain the cat in my garage was Tucker. How many partial-tail amputee orange and white cats could there possibly be in my neighborhood? The boy told me he would have his mom call me right back to get directions to my house.

I mentioned the tail issue to the woman on the phone, and when she arrived, she seemed fairly certain that the cat in my garage was Tucker. She picked him up, and he was purring. However, she then says " Oh. Part of his tail is missing." But she was still certain this was her cat, and she put him in her car, thanked me, and left.

I had a very uneasy feeling about the whole thing. First, Tucker had been missing only a few days. I had seen the cat in my garage, complete with partial tail, in my yard for years. If this was her cat, I would have hoped she'd have known her cat only had a partial tail prior to last night. And while she may have wanted to believe it was her cat, her reaction to seeing him led me to believe he wasn't.

20 minutes later, she called and told me as much. Apparently, Tucker's face looks identical to the cat I found, but Tucker had more white in his coat than this cat did. She returned him to me, and he wandered back behind my house, probably to his owner's home.

The whole experience made me sad. How could you not recognize your own cat? When the woman picked up the cat, she made mention to me that she wrote on the posters that Tucker was 5 years old, but upon talking to her daughter later on, realized that they had had him for more like 10 years. How can you not know something like that about your own cat? And then, if you've had him for 10 years, how can you still be uncertain as to what he looks like? That, combined with the fact that her kitty, whom she had let outside in a busy suburban neighborhood, was now lost and possibly gone forever, something that never would have happened if she had kept him indoors in the first place, really upset me.

I hope Tucker is able to find his way home.

13 Responses to “The Cat Reunion That Wasn't”

  1. # Blogger Caryl

    Maybe she is like me, forced to live with an amimal. Not everyone is an animal lover and I don't know if I would recognize every nuance of Max, the dog who lives in my house. Just a thought.....  

  2. # Blogger used*to*be*me*

    I would be upset too. That story is just wrong in so many ways. I hope she can recognize her children if they ever disappear.

    When we were moving from UT to AZ in January, the night before we left we dropped Ginger (our 2 yr old brindle English Mastiff) off at a friends house to spend the night. Well, at 6a.m. we got the call she had jumped the fence and was missing. We were supposed to be on the road at 8 a.m. As TheMan drove and we looked for her, I called the local animal shelters and reported her missing. They asked if she had any identifying marks. I said yes, she has swirls on her butt. They laughed and I said really, she has a swirley butt. When looking at her from behind, both of her little butt cheeks have a swirl where her brindling just, well, it swirls around in a little circle. Anyway, we searched until noon and couldn’t find her anywhere. We probably covered 20 square miles.

    With the friend in the U-Crawl, me and the kids in the Explorer and TheMan, my brother and the other three dogs in the Windstar, we began the drive south around 1 p.m. Friday with heavy hearts and swollen eyes. It was like leaving one of my children behind.

    Our friend had his wife make posters and hang them up and she was calling the shelters as often as I was. We were all looking for the dog with the swirley butt. On Tuesday TheMan and friend and brother all headed back to UT for a prior commitment. When TheMan walking out the door on Thursday to head to the Auto-Rama where he was racing, he got a phone call from the shelter. Someone found a brindle mastiff but she had no tags. After calling the people, getting their address and agreeing to meet them at their home he headed out. TheMan arrived first, went to the gate, heard a whimpering and called Ginger. He saw a head poke around the corner. He said GINGER! And that poor, starved, beaten down, and worn out dog cleared that 6-foot fence and proceeded to lick his whole face off! When she got here, I don’t know who was more excited, me, the kids or the dogs. She probably lost 25 pounds and now she is skittish when new people come over and she jumps and hides when she hears loud noises. I wish all pet owners could have happy endings.  

  3. # Blogger used*to*be*me*

    Sorry for the novel! and thanks for stopping by my site a couple weeks ago.  

  4. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    It sounds to me like this woman really didn't care too much for her cat at all! Some people would really be better off without having pets.
    We bring out kitties up to the trailer where we let them outside to "air out." They stay close by though and we've never had to send out a search and rescue party.  

  5. # Blogger Marie

    Reminds me of Meet The Parents, with Jinxy... sorry.

    Hope the kitty finds its way home...  

  6. # Blogger Kristi

    Caryl-You know you are Max are pals now, although I know you weren't in the beginning. My opinion: if you aren't an animal lover, don't have a pet.

    Keb-thanks for stopping by. That's a wonderful story, and I'm so glad you got your beloved Ginger back. That would absolutely break my heart as well.

    Kross-Eyed Kitty: yup. I agree with you. It's a 20 year commitment with cats, and at least a 10 year one with dogs. If you can't make that commitment to your animals, you shouldn't have them.

    Marie- LOL. Poor Jinxy. :)  

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Yeah, it sounds like maybe the cat is the boy's and the mom just puts up with it. But if she agreed to a pet for a young child she def. needs to take responsibility. If you don't have the time for a pet, then wait until you do. That's why even though the girls and I would love a dog right now, I'm going to wait until they're older.


  8. # Anonymous MissMeliss

    I've never understood why people think it's okay for cats to wander loose (it's not), or why people don't put tags on their animals, or half a dozen other similar things.

    My dogs have tags AND microchips, and I'd know them in an instant. But then dogs are easier, I guess.

    If Tucker did come home, would she know?  

  9. # Blogger Alisha

    Did Tucker's mom think the cat would just have lost part of its' tail and healed up perfectly in the time he had been missing??? I would know my Mattie from miles away. I also completely agree with all of you who are of the oppinion that cats should not run loose. My mom and I have such an argument about this, she lets hers out, I can't even imagine it. Whenever Mattie has escaped to the "outside" she just scoots real low to the ground and stops dead in her tracks after she's ran about 10 feet and waits for me to come get her!  

  10. # Blogger Geekwif

    We live in the city, in a busy neighborhood near a very busy street, and there are stray cats everywhere. I think many of them have been abandoned by people who moved away and just left them behind. It's so sad. This is how we've gotten 4 of our 5 cats - by rescuing these strays.

    I just can't understand some people's attitude towards animals when they treat them as if they were no more than a teddy bear to be discarded when you don't want it anymore. It makes me sad and angry.  

  11. # Blogger Kristi

    Alisha-thanks for stopping by. I know exactly what you mean. There would be no "Huh. Is this my cat of 10 years or not?" with me at all, either. I cannot for the life of me fathom not knowing what my own cat looks like. Mattie is a lucky kitty to have such an attention person caring for her. And my cats do the same "crouching" thing when I let them outside, on a leash wrapped tightly around my hand!

    Geekwif-we used to live in the city too, and we saw the same thing-tons of strays most likely dumped by people who view animals as disposable. Moving? Just let the cat out the door. Having a child? Ohhh... too much work to care for baby AND dog. Take him to the shelter. That kind of irresponsible attitude drives me insane. My cat Chubbie was a stray too, just like 4 of your 5. And a pregnant stray at that. We took her in, she had a litter of five, and we kept her and two of her kittens. She's eight now, and her "kittens" are seven.  

  12. # Blogger Clare Eats

    I am soo paraniod about Kiri! I would know him ANYWHERE!!!

    I made a "Cat Alley" so he can go outside but not outside....

    The other big reason is to protect him from abcesses, feline aids and leukemia which are transimissable by bites... and the vaccine for leukemia causes tumours!

    Plus they eat the wildlife!  

  13. # Anonymous Anonymous
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