I haven't seen the cat since Saturday. His food bowl is half full, the level it was on Saturday. No one is eating his food, so it's not like he's sneaking in at night to eat. Michael and I take turns despondently looking from Albus's food bowl to the backyard. Josephine has searched the house every morning for him. Michael has posted on Nextdoor and Facebook about him, but so far we've heard nothing. I checked the animal control website today and found out that they do not pick up stray cats. He's either found a new family or something bad has happened to him. I'm really hoping it's the first thing.
When I was a kid, we had a gray tabby named Tuffy. He was hilarious and the whole family loved him. He would lay at the top of the stairs and slide down them just like we used to do in sleeping bags. He liked to walk on the edge of the tub while you were taking a bath. Sometimes he would freak out and climb to the top of the floor to ceiling baluster of the staircase. Tuffy was one funny little cat. We had him fixed and declawed so he'd stop ruining Mom's furniture and permanently made him an indoor cat. One day, I was walking back from playing at one of our neighbors houses and I stepped up the steps to the back door. As I pulled the screen door open, something caught the corner of my eye at the edge of the steps. I looked over and there was Tuffy, sleeping in a brown paper bag. I started to say "Hey! What are you doing out here sleeping in that bag, you silly cat?" but then it dawned on me that he was not sleeping. Tuffy had gotten out of the house when no one was looking and was attacked by a stray dog. You know? I can still see every detail of how Tuffy looked 'sleeping' in that bag.
Tuffy was the last cat I cared for. After that I was officially a dog person and only tolerated cats. I never begged Chris for a kitten. It was always "can we get a dog? can we get a dog? can we get a dog?" until he finally gave in. Then, when Michael fed a can of sardines to tiny white kitten, I shrugged my shoulders with indifference. I told Michael Albus was his cat even though I ended up feeding him and it was my lap he usually plopped down in. I have cursed that cat for all of the dead bunnies, squirrels, rats, and birds we have had to dispose of. I have snarled at all of the cat hair that I sweep up from our floors. I have done my best to remain indifferent to the cat. Michael said once that we should be prepared for the day Albus didn't come home. We know he leads an adventurous life of a wild animal and it is a dangerous world out there. He never really belonged to us as much as we have belonged to him.
That doesn't mean I am not sad about the idea of him never coming home. I'm pretty sad about it. All three of us are.