My favorite cat has gone missing. The last time I saw Mowgli was early in the morning a week ago Friday when I shooed him away from the front door with my foot (something that while I always do gently, leaves me with some amount of guilt, wondering if that will be the last time I see him and the last memory he’ll have of me–see, I had it coming) just before pouring a cup of cat food in his bowl before dashing off to work.
Shane says he saw Mowgli on Sunday morning as Shane too filled up Mowgli’s bowl.
The bowl still sits, full of food, under the table on which is an extra cup of cat food in the event he is hungry again.
“Mowgli? Mowww-gli? MOWWWWWW-gli?” I pop out my head and call, just for good measure, every night as I check the front door, more desperate every day.
“Do you think he is stuck somewhere?” I ask Shane.
“He’s such a good cat, someone may have taken him home,” Shane responds.
He is a good cat. And that is why we are both working so hard to avoid the worst case scenarios.
“If someone would have taken him he would have found a way to get out and he would have come home,” I said. Wistfully recalling every single story I’ve heard or read about a cat traveling weeks, days, miles, and years, to return to its beloved family.
This morning I was down in Zack’s old room working on Zack’s quilt. Zack’s room was also the sick room where Mowgli recuperated when a big chunk of his tail got chewed up in one of his fights. And also where he recovered after we got him fixed, hoping to curb the cat fights. It is also there, curled up on Zack’s bed, where we most often found Mowgli all those times when he snuck into the house.
It was faint and at first I thought I was imagining it.
I turned off my music to listen again.
I jumped up from my table, yelled to Zack, who was upstairs, and called “Mowgli?”
I looked under the bed. Pulled away the big box along the wall, thinking maybe he was somehow pinned behind it. [note: at the same time I was desperately searching, hoping, the logical part of me is completely aware that a). if that's where Mowgli had been all this time we would definitely have heard from him before now and b). if he had been trapped there for a 10 days he would not still be alive.]
I frantically started ripping open the box. [I stopped just short of stringing up Christmas lights and painting the alphabet on the wall, but the desperation was real.]
And then it hit me.
Because Mowgli had spent so much time in that room, I’m allergic. So we had opened the windows before getting to work down there.
Still, I [or at least the wanting, hopeful part of myself] thought. Mowgli has come home and he knows we are down there and he is calling to us.
I excitedly pushed aside the vertical blinds. “Mowgli!” I cried.
But it was Capone, Mowgli’s mother, rubbing her fur up against the window screen. Even though they didn’t get along and chose to live separate existences–Capone on the back porch with our lab, Ginger, and Mowgli out front or curled up in the garage or wandering the neighborhood, looking for a potted plant in which to sun himself–I wonder if Capone misses him too.
No words exist for the disappointment I felt. Still feel. He has a piece of my heart.
Still holding on to hope.