When Mac went missing

Last week, my two year old black cat, Mac, gave us quite a scare when he didn’t come home one night. Mac’s the kind of cat whose life and its timings are ruled by his belly so he is always home for his dinner, usually within a few minutes of us walking through the door. And you should hear his cries and yowls if we’re not fast enough getting his meat into his bowl. In fact, Mac’s the only reason we’re still forking out for tinned cat food – the other two would be happy enough with just biscuits and the odd treat but not Mac, no sir-ee!

So when he failed to come home, we were worried. Still, we reasoned, next door’s teenagers were having a party while their parents were away and since we would have preferred to be anywhere but in our house, maybe Mac would come home once the noise stopped (if it ever would).

I don’t know how many time I woke up in the night, but despite Horatio’s best efforts to convince me that Mac was home (most nights, Mac wakes me up in the darkest hours by chewing my toes if they fail to stay beneath the safety and protection of the duvet) by gnawing on my foot (the one and only time he has ever done that) but once the sun rose and banished a sleepless night, Mac still wasn’t home.

Mac - 29 April 2009

Mac - 29 April 2009

B and I kept telling ourselves that he was probably locked in someone’s shed but as I set off for the farm, it was hard to stop myself from wondering if I’d ever see the greedy guts again.

Once I’d fed the pigs and chickens, I rushed home, got changed into my work clothes and headed off to earn a crust, still thinking the same gloomy thoughts. I have to come home at lunch to let the dogs out, and was able to persuade work to let me work an extra hour that day in exchange for a two hour lunch break so I could look for Mac. There are 40 or so houses on our block. I know this, because I knocked on most of them, asking whoever answered if they’d seen a black cat, and to check their sheds to see if he had been locked in by accident.

Most people were lovely and offered to check immediately but it was embarrassing to find out how many people knew our cats intimately.

“Oh yes, they’re yours are they? We always have black cats in our yard, we wondered who they belonged to.”

“Now, is that the older looking cat, quite small? Or one of the bigger, younger ones?”

“Oh no, sorry to hear that. Is is the one that’s all black, or one of the ones with small white patches on their chest? And is it the one with the bigger patch or just a few hairs?”

Oh dear!

Thankfully, just as I was getting my lunch ready, desperately hoping that my efforts would be rewarded, Mac strolled in through the door, almost without a care in the world. Apart from one, that is. He headed straight for the biscuit bowl and tucked in, as though he hadn’t eaten for twenty-four hours.

He ate and ate and ate, had some water, greeted his brother, said hello to Snipe, and then the three cats headed off outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Phew!

Many, many thanks to Margaret for posting about her experiences when her cat, Pebbles, went missing, as that’s where I got the idea to knock on our neighbours’ doors and ask them to check their sheds.

Interestingly, neither Queenie nor Horatio left the house for more than a few minutes at a time until Mac came home, which was very unusual as the day was hot and sunny, the perfect weather for cats to be out and about. They knew something was wrong, and they weren’t leaving until Mac came home.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jon Williams on 2 August 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Glad to hear he is OK.

    It’s scary when they disappear.

  2. Posted by Julia on 3 August 2009 at 8:03 am

    Awww and isn’t he beautiful? I’m up early cos I’ve been worried sick about one of mine. I last saw her yesterday morning, but then I was out for 12 hours yesterday.

    I got home at 8.40pm and the other 3 soon came up to me, scoffed some dinner, etc, and were chasing moths on the patio at midnight. But I never saw Mehefin. And this morning, I woke up from disturbed dreams of abandonment just before 7, having gone to bed at 2am as I was waiting up for her, and there’s still no Mev. I raced down looking in her favourite snuggle spots, but she’s not there. I’ve whistled and called, but she hasn’t come for her breakfast. I was about to go and search the woods way over the back, but I’m scared. She has evolved into a supreme hunter. She’s taken to sleeping all day and coming alive at dusk, like a vampire cat. But usually by morning she’s cuddled up somewhere.

    But half an hour ago I spotted this encouraging sign. And this is possibly the only time I will ever call the following “encouraging”. Outside the back door on the patio is something that appears to be a mouse tail, and some blood stains. So it seems she is around – but just not when I’m awake!

    I’m keeping a vigil…

  3. Posted by Julia on 3 August 2009 at 8:43 am

    She just came back! Must have been my intense psychic calling. Very soggy paws but now full of chicken. I’m so relieved – why do they worry us so much!

  4. Phew, glad she came home – she must have known that you’d made her absence public!

    Last summer, we’d go for days at a stretch without seeing Queenie – just the odd pile of mouse guts, a glimpse across a field… but then I discovered her secret snoozing spot in the hay and after that she gave it up and came home at a sensible hour to say hello before vanishing outside to beat the owls at their own game!

    I know that everyone’s cat goes off on its own at some point, but it’s always good to know that (a) other people’s cats do come home and (b) that you’re not alone in being frantic with worry, even knowing that Rule A exists!

  5. The cats will always drive us crazy won’t they?

    We are catless right now since the BTs aren’t good with them. But I’ve spent many a night wondering where the heck my previous cats were when they didn’t come home as expected.

    Glad yours let you know he was still around.

  6. I love your stuff. Where else on the net can I find such delightful, well-written tales of small domestic crises? I’m also glad Mac came back!

  7. doggonedmysteries, I’ve always wondered where the cats go, what they see and do. No wonder “Cats” has been such a success and maintained its popularity! Maybe your next book should involve mysterious cats!

    ponderpig, let’s be honest: without small domestic crises, there would be no blogosphere. I mean, life would be blissful without the crises, but who wants to read about that?!

  8. Okay, I will be honest – I don’t care a hoot about those other domestic crises. I care about yours, and it’s because you write about them so vividly. Good work!

  9. In that case, I thank you, kind pig!

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