My what a rollercoaster few days this has been. Tammy and Chris came over on Monday night, and we had fish & chips with them. It was Tammy’s first day at the Granville Island clinic and she was happy about not working at the Langley Emerg clinic any more … there are quite a number of stories there, but they’re not mine to tell. Anyway, while they were here, we were talking about animals, and how some owners care for their animals, and how people who get animals from the SPCA (like Andromeda and Dianthe) should expect bad things since they are usually not well. Some, (like Andromeda) are quite unwell. We talked quite a bit about Andromeda, and as Tammy, Chris and Angus (woof!) were leaving, Andromeda was glaring at them as she was poking her head out of our bedroom.
The next morning she was gone.
Gone. Evaporated. No sign whatsoever. I figure she got out through one of the living room windows (the one that has our neighbour’s small flower-box containing balcony beside her stairs) which was open a bit more than normal owing to the 32 degrees C @ 7pm temperatures that we had been having.
We had gone to bed somewhere around midnight, and it was about quarter past 6am when I noticed she was gone, so she had up to a 6 hour lead on us. Aidan was already up so I brought him down to Gwen and I headed out to do a quick look around the complex. Gwen got dressed and stuffed Aidan into the backpack and came out and joined me. And we found nothing.
Back to the apartment, and I printed up some flyers. I put them in the complex noticeboard and on some telephone pole near our complex, and down towards Choklit park. Still looking. Under cars, in the bushes, everywhere.
Eventually, I went back home and had to get some breakfast and head to work. Gwen printed up a ton more flyers and she and the boy papered the neighbourhood. Before that, she called the SPCA, Tammy, and a few local vets. Late in the morning, after the boy fell asleep in the stroller and Gwen brought him home to nap, Gwen got a call about a possible sighting in Choklit park. She roused the boy and sped down to the park, but she didn’t see any cats at all. She brought Aidan back home, and put him back to bed. Later that afternoon, she made at least one more sweep of the neighbourhood and surrounding blocks. When I got home from work, I did another sweep, Gwen did one again after the dog-walkers had disappeared and I did one after the sun went down.
And, it’s hard. First, there are *millions* of hiding places in a few square blocks. So many bushes, trees, courtyards, cars, garbage bins, and so on. There are streets. Alleys. Almost all the housing around here is condos, with those funky courtyards (including our own) which just adds to the number of hiding places. And every block that you expand your search, the number just gets higher and higher.
Then, there’s the wildlife. While out looking for a missing cat, people tell you stories. About the raccoons that are terrorizing the neighbourhood, killing crows and small animals. (I’ve seen them … probably 50 – 70 lbs … huge!) About the coyotes (I’ve seen them too … they seem less well fed than the raccoons, though).
Of course, there’s the cars (with high-traffic Broadway and Oak so near, a cat would have a tough time playing “Frogger”). And the drugged-up transients. And the fact that for all the hours I’ve spent out looking, I’ve seen a total of two cats, neither of which were Andromeda.
Anyhow, it’s tough.
So, we left the window wide-open that night, and locked Dianthe in our bedroom with us. She didn’t seem to mind and cuddled happily all night long.
I didn’t sleep well at all, waking up a number of times after vivid dreams about Andromeda coming back. Then, around 3:30am, Dianthe growls at the window: there’s another cat out there. Gwen gets excited and I shine a flashlight out the window, startling the cat. I rush outside, and there’s the cat … only it’s not Andromeda.
Sleep didn’t come back too easily.
In the morning, no Andromeda. I got up, did a look around the neighbourhood and headed off to work. Gwen and Aidan did a few more sweeps, ranging further, to no avail. She called more vets, the SPCA, the Vancouver emerg hospital, and the city pound, where um … remains … get sent. Apparently there was a grey tabby found at 40th and Slocan, but that’s so far away that we dismissed that entirely. I got home from work, we prepared the boy (fed, changed) and headed out with the stroller to do some further ranging searching (south of Broadway, further west, east of Oak, etc). We spent a few hours out, and came back at 9pm, having seen a total of one cat. Not ours. Dianthe had been locked in our bedroom again, and the windows had been left open … but nothing.
We put the boy to bed (no protests from him) and ate Wendy’s. We spent some time trying to deal with the realization that we hadn’t seen her for 36 hours, and trying to be realistic about expected outcomes. Bed at 11:30pm, again locking Dianthe in the bedroom with us.
At 2:30am, Gwen wakes up, sitting bolt-upright saying “Cat…..cat…..”. I figured she was waking up from a dream, but she kept getting more excited, and bolted out of the room. By the time I made it to the hall, she had Andromeda in her arms, right as rain. Apparently she had heard Andromeda announcing her presence (I had heard nothing, and Dianthe who was cuddling with me didn’t perk up).
So, we closed all the windows, and checked her over. As far as we can tell, there’s no indication that she was anywhere but on a nice soft pillow somewhere in the house. Gwen put some ham in her dinner dish, and boy did she wolf that down. We put down more food, watched her for a little bit to convince ourselves she was alright, and then went back to bed.
It was tough to get back to sleep last night too.
Of course, it didn’t help that Aidan woke up quite unhappy at 4am, and took quite a bit to get settled down.
But here it is, 7:30am, and Andromeda is on the couch, laying on her back, enjoying a tummy rub. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dream … I don’t have enough imagination to make up all those articles on the radio. Gwen and Aidan will take her to Tammy this morning for a full check-up, and probably a feline leukemiaa shot. While both Dianthe and Andromeda have ID collars, only Dianthe has an ear tattoo, and neither has a microchip. That will change today too.
Anyhow, I’m running late again for the third day in a row and need to get to work.
It’s been a tough few days, but as far as I can tell, we’re all safe and sound.
I hope the same can be said about Blaze.