My Missing Cat

Three nights ago I let one of my three pet cats out for the night. Molly has not come back since then. I live near a canyon and two nights ago I heard howling that one of my neighbors later assured me were coyotes. Some howls were low and resonant while one was like a high-pitched scream.

I have owned cats for more than 20 years, and I’ve always let them out whenever they wanted. This caused my cat Maya to become pregnant a year ago. One of her kittens was Molly, who has not come back.

Molly was a sweet and trusting cat, and that may have been part of her problem. I have seen her be social with the skunks and raccoons in the canyon. Her mother is more streetwise. I once saw her run from dogs, and she did it in a way that made me think she could take care of herself.

I was once turned away from a local shelter, where I was trying to adopt a cat, when I honestly answered the question of whether my cat would be an indoor-outdoor cat. The shelter seemed to believe the humane thing to do was to deny cats any home, where they might be put in danger of going outdoors.

I differ with this view of humane treatment of animals. To me a cat is only allowed to be a cat when it can go outside, hide in the shadows and hunt mice and rats. Our cat, Maya, was born on a farm in Kansas where the cats were not allowed indoors. This would come as a shock, I’m sure, to that animal shelter I visited.

The disappearance of Molly gives me second thoughts about my cat care, even though I cannot be sure she was killed by another animal. I feel downcast when I think about that middle-of-the-night baying of the coyotes.

My 11-year-old son still walks to the back door in hopes of seeing Molly reappear, and he still calls out to her. We put lost-cat flyers up around the neighborhood with our address and phone number on them.

My wife and I have told our children that Molly probably found a new home and had just gone to live with a new family. I don’t believe that, but it could be true. As for our other two cats, they will continue to be indoor-outdoor. Death is a risk when you venture into the world, but as long as my cats still want to go out-of-doors, I’ll let them.

And when the time is right, I may ask my son if we can have a little funeral for Molly to put her memory to rest. Again… I’m not saying she was killed, but just in case.

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One Comment on “My Missing Cat”

  1. Vicki Estrada Says:

    Oh Tom…. I am so sorry to hear about your cat. We have lost many cats in our neighborhood in South Park to coyotes, but many cats have returned after many days so you never know.

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