My 17 year old tortoiseshell appeared to have something to say to me in the middle of the night on Tuesday February 24th. I encouraged her to wait until the usual 6:15am wake up purring call. When morning came and Kit was not there to greet me I became concerned and searched for her everywhere.
For 17 years Kit had free access to the outdoors through the cat door with no issues. A fairly cautious, heat-seeking and home loving cat, she rarely strayed past the confines of the neighbour’s and my garden. My thoughts got the better of me: why would she have wandered outside in the night? What animal had torn her apart? Had she been trying to tell me something in the night and gone to die somewhere? Where was my beloved Kit? She was also on daily medication and needed twice weekly visits to the veterinarian for fluids. How was she going to manage?
The house seemed like an empty shell. The next 11 days and nights were long and sad. Many times I checked every spot in the house, opening every cupboard and door inside and out. I searched both neighbour’s gardens hoping, if nothing else, to at least find her little body to be able to bury. Kit’s food remained uneaten, the litter box unused. No welcoming leap onto the bed in the morning and no companion beside me.
The nights were very frosty so I thought if she was injured how she could endure the cold? I made signs with her photo and my name and phone number and put them all around the neighborhood. I put a notice online at the BCSPCA. My son put a notice on Craigslist with a general location and description of Kit with his email address.
Needing to escape, I decided to visit my son on Vancouver Island for the weekend on March 7th. Returning home that Sunday I read my e-mails and found a message from my neighbour that someone had come to her door to say that she had found a cat matching the description of Kit! The next couple of hours on the ferry were long. Upon arriving at my house I was whisked into my neighbour’s car to where I hoped Kit was staying. I arrived at this stranger’s house 15 blocks from my own to find that indeed this cat was Kit! Skinny and somewhat subdued but my Kit.
How Kit and I were reunited is a miracle in itself. Sally, the name which we will use for the lady her found Kit, arrived home on March 5th to find a wailing cat in her yard. Ravenous and thirsty, this cat followed her into the house. Sally and her family tended to the weary cat, even taking her to their own veterinarian (they were previous cat owners) to have her examined. They contacted the SPCA and tried to look up the tattoo numbers in her ear but they were too faint after 17 years. Another member of the family luckily thought to look on Craigslist and found the listing and description of Kit. They emailed my son but unfortunately there was a typo of the e-mail address on the listing. Not giving up, Sally saw the map of the general location where I live from the notice on Craigslist and on Sunday drove to that location. There she found the posters of Kit plastered everywhere and called my home number listed on the posters. As I was away she did not get an answer. Not giving up, Sally then went door to door asking if anyone knew where Kit lived. Luckily my neighbour was home.
You can imagine the scene of tears and joy as I went into Sally’s house to meet her and her family and to find Kit; everyone cried as I left with Kit.
I extend an enormous gratitude to Sally and her household, to my neighbours, to my son, to the other vet who examined her and refused payment and to the wonders of the internet… also to Kit’s own resilience or good luck or the power of love that sustained her during those long days.
Kit has since been checked by my own wonderful vet and we have gone from tears of loss to tears of joy! She is home and putting on weight. The cat door is now firmly closed and her garden times are closely supervised.