The night before last we lost our cat. We had only had him about four hours. He came to live with us from my Mum and Dad's where he has been living in their summer house for about four years, but during the night he managed to get through a shut door and out of a tiny high window that we had oh so stupidly left open. Today I am feeling so sad and so guilty.
Fat Boy(named by my Dad as Fat Boy Slim as he was rather large) turned up on Mum and Dads door about four years ago along with three other strays. Mum being such a cat lover started feeding them much to Dads distress(not that he doesn't like cats but he thought four was a little excessive and expensive!) and before we all knew it they were well and truely settled at The Old Coach House. But they couldn't come in the house because Smokey, Mum and Dads pet cat wouldn't allow it. So Mum set up cosy beds in the summer house and fed them at the back door. Three of them were a little nervous but Fat Boy became very tame and always wanted a stroke and a cuddle. I grew very attached to him and would spend a lot of time with him when I was over there. When Mum and Dad decided to give up the BandB and move Dad said that the strays would have to be re-homed as it would be impossible to move them all somewhere new. Mum agreed and after I little persuasion I managed to get Simon to agree to us having Fat Boy. We've been putting off the move a little but as Mum and Dads move is now hopefully just a few weeks away we made plans to pick him up on Tuesday night. We drove over early evening and after a quick cup of tea Dad got him into Smokey's travelling cage. He was not happy. We put him in the car and I sat next to him but he cried all the way home. The most heart wrenching cry I have ever heard. When we got him home we got out his cosy bed and put down food and water then let him out. He was clearly terrified. I know that when Mum and Dad took on Smokey, because his owner had died, he was nervous, and inquisitive, but not terrified. Fat Boy went straight to our back door crying to go out then went and hid behind the sofa. After a while he came out, went to the kitchen and managed to get himself down a gap next to the fridge. It was almost impossible to get him out and he was clearly getting more and more frightened and we were getting more and more upset. Finally we managed and tried to settle him for bed. Our kitchen is open to the hall so we decided to give him the run of the kitchen, hall, landing and stairs and shut all other doors incase of accidents. I left a little light on in the kitchen, tried to show him his food and spent a good twenty minutes sat on the stairs stroking him and trying to calm him down. But his little heart was clearly racing and although he was letting me stroke him, he was also shuffling as far into the corner of the stair as he could. I felt terrible that he was so frightened and started to wonder if we'd done the right thing taking him.
We went to bed and hoped that he would calm a little during the night.
At five yesterday morning we both woke up. I decided to get up and check on him. As I got to the top of the stairs I hoped to see him in his bed at the bottom but there was no sign. I crept down the stairs hoping to see him curled up in the hall but instead I saw the sitting room door open. A door which I know I had firmly shut. I walked into the room expecting that he would be behind the sofa again but immediately I heard a sound that chilled me. The sound of a rather unpleasant siamese cat that lives close by and spends most nights yowling at neighbourhood cats. He was clearly outside the side window and I guessed that Fat Boy was on the window sill. But as I got near the window my heart started pounding as I felt a distinct draft. I realised that the top part of the window was open. We'd opened it a little when we got home earlier and the house had felt stuffy which we had thought might have made him even more uncomfortable. In all the stress of him getting stuck beside the fridge both of us had forgotten to shut it before we went to bed which would have been ok if he hadn't managed to get through the sitting room door.
I ran upstairs to get some clothes on and tell Simon. Within a minute we were outside and what I expected to see was Fat Boy and the Siamese, but it was another cat and there was no sign of Fat Boy. We have no way of knowing how long he had been gone. Simon took a torch and in his dressing gown he scoured the immediate neighbourhood but he was nowhere to be seen. Given how terrified he clearly was I would imagine he ran like the wind when he made it out the window.
We are both feeling a mixture of sadness and such guilt. I feel we have let him down. We took him in because Mum and Dad couldn't take him with them but we clearly terrified him in the process. Mum has always been convinced that he wanted to be inside as he spent quite a lot of time peering in their cat flap, but maybe we got it wrong. Maybe he really was an out door cat. My Sister said yesterday that we shouldn't feel bad. We did what we thought was right and he may have escaped the minute we let him outside again which we were planning on doing after a few days of him being inside getting used to us. But I can't help thinking 'what if we hadn't left that window open'?
I feel pretty sure that he will be ok. He found Mum and Dad four years ago and no doubt someone else will feed him if he hangs around their doorstep. But he is on his own and he is gone from our lives which makes me incredibly sad. My Sister-in-law suggested we put posters up but as he doesn't really know us properly and doesn't know this house, I'm not sure he'd come back to us if someone found him. I just can't decide. We've put his bed in the shed with the door open a jar and food and water out. Maybe he'll wander back this way and find it?
I'm sorry this is so long and possibly rather boring. I just felt I had to write about it. My head is aching because I keep crying when I think of him and wonder where he is and I thought writing it down and sharing it might make me feel a little better. I think the guilt will take longer to go than the sadness. I will be back again tomorrow as I have some prettiness to share and I still haven't shared my Dorset photos but for today I'll still be searching for Fat Boy.
Fat Boy with Scrappy in the summer house.