Where’s Charlie?

The saga began around 11 pm on Saturday night, May 16. It was cool so I went to bed with windows open. The fox, who started howling two weeks earlier, was at it again. This time he sounded pretty close to the house, so I got up and went out on the deck. While I stood there, Barbara, my female indoor-only cat twined herself around my legs. Wait a minute! What’s she doing out here?

I took her back inside and checked another door. That door has a sliding screen that was wide open. So that explained why the Queen was outside. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen Charlie, Barbara’s brother, in a while. When a diligent search of the house didn’t turn him up, I did the old reliable – fill a glass with ice from the icemaker. Charlie always runs for that. This time nothing happened.

The fox howled again and I went outside with a flashlight. No Charlie out there. So that began an all-night vigil. One time, Charlie peered into the room through the door. When I opened the door, he ran and evaporated. The fox continued to howl.

Today I know a lot more about lost indoor-only cats than I ever thought was necessary. The most important thing is that the fox didn’t eat him. Foxes don’t care about adult cats unless the fox is terribly hungry. We have too many rabbits in the neighborhood for the fox to be so hungry it would risk tangling with a full-grown cat.

Just over a week later, Charlie still isn’t home. However, many websites say that the reason many lost cats are never found is because their owners quit looking for them.

Toward the end of the week when Charlie hadn’t returned, we called a feline finder. After asking a few questions about Charlie’s personality, she gave us advice on where to place live animal traps and how to bait them. Last night was the third night of trapping and we did catch a cat, but not Charlie.

So the search continues. Posters have helped, but this afternoon we’re putting flyers on neighbors’ doors. There’s an ad on Craigslist and an ad in the newspaper. Animal control doesn’t have him. This has been an arduous process but we’ll continue it.

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