Two weeks ago, one of the crazy cat ladies with whom I volunteer had one of her cats go missing.
The cat, Tucker, was always an indoor-outdoor cat, but on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, he went outside and didn't come back in.
She asked for advice on finding him and I offered some, having been through a few heart-pounding missing-cat episodes of my own. Search the area, calling and shaking a bag of cat food. Look down under shrubs and up into trees. Immediately plaster the area with posters, because SOMEONE has seen him. Have your neighbors check their sheds and garages. Bribe the neighborhood kids with a cash reward for any sightings. Talk to the mailman. Check the shoulders of local roads, and call the highway department (don't make me go into detail on that one). Call the shelters. Put it on Craigslist. The typical stuff.
I told her about The Runt, who was once up a tree for three days. About another volunteer whose cat came home after eight days. About yet another volunteer whose cat wandered home after three MONTHS.
And we all waited for news. As the weather got colder and the days got shorter and that one night we got an absolutely soaking rain, we waited for news of Tucker. Hoping for the best, but wondering in the back of our minds if the worst hadn't already happened.
Yesterday on Facebook, after fifteen days, there was news.
"Tucker Kitty CAME HOME!"
Goddamit, I LOVE a happy ending.