PICTURED ABOVE: The North American Black-And-White Behemoth Cat, returned to his native habitat.
WE HAVE A CAT
I got an anonymous call this afternoon around 3:45 from someone who said she saw "definitely a large" black tuxedo cat in the backyard of the house next door, chasing a squirrel. She also said she thought she'd seen the cat in the bahn (that's a garage to you) behind that house at night.
Tracy was at home so once I got the message and told him, he dashed out to check. Abbie had, at that point, wandered past our house to the house on the other side and was busy in their side yard. Tracy got the cat's attention, whereupon Abbie walked right by him and up our driveway. Tracy then carefully followed the cat, knowing full well there was probably Scared Cat going on, but near the back of the driveway, Abbie turned around and let the big-but-not-so-scary-guy-who-looks-kinda-f
Once inside, Abbie quickly ran up the stairs, over to the dining room where his food dish was supposed to be (it was still in the house trap at that point) and began to loudly complain.
He's in fine form, all right.
I got home without knowing this had all gone down and was greeted at the top of the stairs by His Nibs, who began to tell me all about what he'd done and where he'd gone and that his food dish wasn't immediately where it should've been and that he also had tuna breath here smell it. Tracy told me Abbie wolfed down a goodly amount of wet food we'd been using as house trap bait and after he was done, he went around the house looking for me. I picked the cat up and gave him a big hug, which was also a good excuse to gauge his weight and check for any wounds. He looks to be in good shape, no injuries, isn't limping or favoring a paw, let me pet him all over without complaint, and has a healthy appetite. He has lost about 5 pounds, though, as we ascertained at the official weigh-in. Tomorrow is a Day of Phone Calls and one of them will be to his regular vet where I'll hopefully get him an appointment for my weekday off so we can bring him in, get him really checked, make sure he's up on all his shots, and find him a nice new collar with a kitty tag which he will completely resent wearing for the first few months. I think red will look nice on him.
Needless to say I'm extremely relieved and giddy as all hell. I changed my voicemail message to reflect the fact that THAR BE CAT AGIN and called the anonymous number back and left a message and told them to have a great Valentine's Day at the end (couldn't figure out how to end it) and now I'm writing this up and bein all hooray and maybe I should get some food too and stuff.
What really astounds me though is the honest to goodness support that poured in from so many people from all over the place. Tracy really went out of his way to coordinate the Cat Search & Rescue Mission, stepping up while I was flat unconscious, and frankly I think went above and beyond the call of duty, especially with making the house trap and providing me with Steps To Take Next. Carolyn threw a lot of dedication into helping poster the neighborhood, call vets, check other resources, and send a few animal shelters into fits of "okay okay okay okay we'll keep an eye out!" David provided good moral support, too, and together the three made up the HQ Team.
And then there was so much love from so many of you! If I tried to name names, I'm afraid I'd leave someone out and I'm not just saying that because I don't want to type names out, I'm saying that because I'm really afraid I'd forget. So to those of you who helped flyer, walked up and down the streets nearby making searching sounds, made phone calls on our behalf, provided materials or time to the cause, gave notice to friends who live around here, searched in other time zones just to make sure, posted a line in your LJ, made folk art in tribute, dropped a line or two in whatever medium to let me know you were worried too, or even just thought a few good thoughts our way, thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you a hundred zillion plus infinity times. I'm really touched to know that Abbie's made so many friends (simply by being the MOST AWESOMEST CAT IN THE WORLD minus the whole running away bit.)
One of the Lost Cat advice sites I read mentioned the importance of friends and loved ones helping out in the search, cause you can't do it all yourself. They gave this advice under the heading "Form a posse." I read that and I laughed at the time because it was so appropriate, but it goes beyond the reference. It's true. Abbie the Cat really does have a posse. You had his back the whole time, and because of that, he's now back.
Thank you one and all.