7:15. I leave for work. Cat is around somewhere. I know he was around somewhere because I heard him come in and out of the room while I was trying to wake up.
4:30. I come back from work, was let out early. Cat is nowhere to be seen. That's perfectly normal; he could be sleeping somewhere.
12:00 am. I make preparations to go to bed. Still have not seen cat, but again, he could be in the papasan or in the kitchen or bugging someone, so it's okay.
7:15. I leave for work. Have not seen cat at all. In the morning he usually wakes up with me and then sits outside the shower and meows and meows and meows until I'm done. Check my room, check downstairs, check all the closed doors he may have found himself behind. There is no trace of cat. The level of food in the food bowl has not changed since the previous night (and this honestly is the biggest clue to me that something's awry.)
7:20. Check the side yard, the back yard, under the porches, behind the garage, and a quick peek into the garage though the door is shut and he'd have to have found a different way in. Either way, he doesn't answer. One of our neighborhood regulars, an orange semi-feral who's mixed it up in the past, is hanging out in the backyard and he scampers as soon as he sees me. Am beginning to think Abbie may have gotten out yesterday when someone wasn't looking.
8:00 to 4:30: Sit at work and worry.
5:30. Return from work. I check my room to see if he's sick and under my bed, which is where he usually hides when he feels terrible, and I also check his litterbox room (the "suite"). He's not laying low anywhere. I check the basement, even the doors that were shut. Neither Tracy nor David said they went down to the basement, but you never know what a cat can do when it gets a crazy idea into its head. Tracy leaves a bowl of tuna out on the back porch. Within a half hour the tuna is gone. It was probably that orange cat.
On the advice of several websites (http://www.catsinthebag.org both has an amusing name and a wealth of advice, especially an entire section on the psychology of indoor cats getting lost outdoors) I placed some familiar clothes out on the porch last night, especially (ahem) unwashed laundry, in the hopes that he'd smell it and come running. It was odd trying to explain this to the downstairs neighbors in a note, and at one point when I went down to check, someone was on the front porch on a cellphone staring at the shirt, sweater and (er) dirty socks, and I was quite embarrassed. But hey. THIS IS A CAT WE'RE TRYING TO GET BACK HERE.
We briefly discussed the fact that the lease does say we can have two cats. I don't want to think about replacements so soon -- the guy's out there somewhere, we just have to figure out where and then how to bring him home -- but you sometimes have to prepare just in case. But no cat would ever replace my buddy.
Last night the neighbor's motion sensor light went on a few times, and I went out to check, but I only smelled skunk. If Abs tangles with a skunk by god he's gonna be miserable, but at least that's easily fixable. But every time I went outside to check, including this morning, I had hoped I'd see him curled up on my clothes. But I don't think it's going to happen. I'm worried and that takes a lot of energy out of a fellow. I'm losing it slowly, bit by bit, piece by piece. I have a flyer printed up but I can't get to my hosting provider from work to make it available for download. FUCKING PORT BLOCKERS. I can't hear "you're doing the best you can" because apparently I did the best I could with Martha and she's not around anymore. I don't want to lose the big guy so soon. This is killing me inside and I feel absolutely helpless from behind this desk. I've contacted animal control and nearby vets and agencies. Nobody's brought in a throw rug yet. It's rainy and shitty outside. He won't be going anywhere for a while if it's a safe space from that orange cat and his friends. I don't want ANYTHING right now except to have my buddy back. Come back, buddy. You're the best goddamn cat in the world and you don't deserve to be miserable right about now.