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I had posts from the weekend all ready to go. All I had to do was get home from off the grid and post them once I had internet service again. Funny stories from the weekend. Interesting conversations. Great company. Then she went missing and that overshadowed every good time that we’d had.

Michelle and Cory came up for Labor Day. We were going to go 4 wheeling, grill steaks, play, have a grand ol’ time. They arrived in the morning for breakfast. I grilled up some bacon and we had pancakes and eggs to go along with it. We were telling them about the new lot that we’d found that we really want to buy and were excited to go show them. Breakfast was done and I headed into the camper to grab my keys. I opened the door, opened the cabinet just to the side of the door and turned to walk back outside when Bandit decided that this was the time that she would choose to make her escape. She jumped out the door and I bent down to grab her tail before she had a chance to jump off the porch. But she’s much quicker than I am and I couldn’t get her. She ran directly under the camper and I could tell she was freaked out. She’s an indoor cat. Never goes outside. She likes to look out the window at the great outdoors but hasn’t really been out and she was scared! And she’s FAST!! We tried to get her out from under the camper but she just ran from one end to the other. It didn’t matter that I was calling to her in my high pitched “kitty” voice that always brings her scampering up the stairs when I get home from work every day. She would have nothing to do with me. It was like she didn’t even recognize me. She managed to escape out from underneath the camper and get to the shed, where she quickly went underneath and hid. Talk about a game of cat and mouse. She escaped from underneath the shed and headed to the camper on the lot next to ours. She hid in the wheel well of that one. Cory got close enough to grab her head, but she squirmed out of his grasp. She headed back down to our camper and I went onto the opposite side to try and stop her from going back under the shed, but she did the unthinkable instead. She headed into the woods.

There are vast expanses of woods around our camper. When I saw her running that direction all I could do was to holler, “Nooooooo!” Because I knew she was gone. We spent hours upon hours upon hours searching the woods for her. I don’t know which direction she took. I don’t know where she decided to hide. I dont’ know where she went. She’s just a baby. Not even a year old yet. I rescued her from certain death last fall, only to lose her now to certain death alone in the woods.

Everything in our campsite was so loud with all the visitors coming in for the holidays. I thought that maybe if we left for a little bit that she would quit freaking out and find her way back to the camper. I left the door open and we went away for a little bit…maybe half an hour…but I couldn’t take it. I sent Mark and the kids off to go ride the 4wheelers and came back to camp to see if she would come to me without the ruckus of everyone trying to find her. Most of the neighbors had left by this time. So I stood alone in the woods calling to her. “Bandit. Bandit. Bandit. C’mon Bandit. Let’s go home, Bandit.” But it’s no use. She doesn’t respond. Surely she hears me. But she won’t respond. After so many hours of her being out there by herself I would think that she would be getting hungry or thirsty and perhaps try to find her way back to the camper, but there is no sign of her. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. She’ll never survive a night in the woods on her own. She has no front claws. She has no “street smarts” like Tippy does. The woods are crawling with Coyotes and Racoons and she’ll never survive against them. I’m beyond distraught. All I can do is to stand in the woods and cry and call for her. Mark and the kids got home from their ride and he came down to see if I’d had any luck spotting her and all I can manage to say is, “She’s just a baby, she can’t survive on her own out here.” And I began sobbing. That snotty, breathless, heaving sobbing that only happens when your heart is breaking.Mark never knows what to do for me when I cry because it’s not something that happens very often. He put his arms around me and let me sob, knowing that we would probably never see her again.

So, what do I do? I can say a million ‘what ifs” but it doesn’t help anyone. We shouldn’t have brought her out here. We thought we were doing her a favor, letting her spend the weekend with us instead of staying home for three days by herself. If only I had shut the door while I grabbed the key. Cory said, “If only I hadn’t tried to grab her while she was under the camper she wouldn’t have freaked out.” There are a thousand things we can say “if only” or “what if” or “I should have” or “I shouldn’t have.” But none of that will bring the baby back.

It’s getting towards the end of the day. It’ll soon be time to go home. And I have to leave knowing that she’s out there all alone. And it is killing me! And I can’t stop crying. Because I feel like I have killed my baby.

Mark isn’t a patient man. He has been in the woods all day. He finally went up and introduced himself to the neighbors and told him that our cat went missing. They gave him a small “no kill” trap. So we’ve got that set in the woods in the last place that we saw her. It has tuna in it. I will come back up tomorrow after work and check the trap. God willing, she’ll be in it unharmed. But for now…I have no hope. I feel like she’s just gone! My baby needs a miracle.

Salt in the wound: I walk into the camper and turn on the radio because music tends to soothe me. And the song playing? “If I die young… the sharp knife of a short life.” WTF!

 

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