Not All Lost Cats Are "Homeless"
Libby, Our Second Hand Lion
All of my cats were second hand lions. I have four of them. Each of them came to our family in their own way. Two of them were adopted from Cat Welfare, a local no kill shelter. One of them spent months wandering around our neighborhood before we finally took him in. Another followed one of our cats home. They are all very sweet kitties. They love to cuddle and to sit with people. One of them, Libby, is declawed and acts like a prince. I am sure that each one has a story.
T. S. Elliot wrote a poem about the naming of cats. In the poem, he mentions that “a cat must have three different names,” one that the family uses daily, one that is the cat’s formal name, and a mysterious name that only the cat knows. I feel that the history of each one of my cats is the same way. There is the history that I know about how they were found and taken into our home, there is the history that is how they acted here and how they have grown and changed, and there is the history that I will never know. This is the history of who they were before they were “our cats”. Each one, I believe, was somebody else’s cat, someone’s majestic lion.
Libby and Sam are the two biggest mysteries. They are the ones that came to us on their own. We did not adopt them from a shelter. Libby spent time on the streets of Clintonville from March until August. He had a collar in March but it was gone soon after. He was outside wandering a lot. He didn’t seem to have a home. Neighbor’s watched him and wondered where he belonged. He even spent some time as a “trial cat” in some homes. He never settled because there were cat allergies or behavior problems with another cat. Finally, we took him in. He slept for about a month. He must have been exhausted from his time on the streets. Oddly, he had no fleas. He did come with tapeworms and a horrid urinary tract infection. He was already fixed and declawed. He loved to sit with people and to play with toys. He had no identification, no tag, no ID microchip, no signs, and no classified ads. There was no proof that anyone missed him other than how much he loved to be spoken to in “baby talk” and the fact that he was neutered and declawed.
About two years after Libby arrived, one day, a little brown cat began to follow Libby around. This little cat was cute as anything. After a while we fed him. He then started to show up for dinner every night and every night when he left he walked off meowing the most pitiful meows as he left our yard for the evening. One day he snuck in behind one of us as we were coming inside. He marched right in that door and peed in one of the cat boxes. I have to say that was amazingly odd and terribly cute. It was a brilliant move on his part. He joined our family shortly after his strategic cat box use. He became Sam. Sam obviously had used a cat box before. He didn’t even look for ours. He just knew how to find it, proof that he must have had a person and a home at one point. Unlike Libby, he had fleas and was not neutered. Did Sam loose his person or did his person abandon him to the wild? I will never know.
These stories and others I have heard from friends always leave me wondering, “where were these cats before?” Were they loved or abused? Lost? Dumped? Abandoned or escaped? When I was younger, my next-door neighbors had a cat for years. One day she went out and never came back. They never heard from her again. Was that how my cats came to live with me? Is someone missing and crying while thinking about Sam, Libby or my other two shelter home cats Kit and Koshka? My cats can’t tell me. I hate to think that someone is wondering where his or her precious lion king went when he may be living at my house.
As of Tuesday, September 20, 2011 I became an abandoned cat owner. You never expect it to happen to you. You think that you will get to see your cat through old age, see them change and grow up. Then one day, you go to look for them and they have vanished. There are no footprints, breadcrumb trails, or signs of robbery. Your majestic lion is just gone. First you think that they will be back in time. Then time passes and you begin to realize that this time, your sweet baby will not be coming back in to rejoicing and relief. Your baby is gone. Eaten by father time and cloaked in mystery. There are no answers. Libby left and left a gaping hole in our family. Libby was an amazing cat. He was so smart. He would take me on walks and show me treasures that he had found. He was a special needs cat. He was very smart and being inside sometimes drove him mad. When he first came, the other cats drove him crazy. Some cat psychology, behavior changes, medication, and patience had brought out so much in him. In the nine years he has been with us he has made such progress. Honestly, don’t tell my other cats, he had become my favorite. I was looking forward to winter. For some reason he always calmed down in the winter. I was hoping that this year, he might sit on my lap with the other cats in the same room. I love having time to snuggle with him when he is calm enough to enjoy the attention. It was such a gift as I could tell that he honored me as much as I did him.
This winter I may not get that chance. Libby is? Where? I don’t know. Is he stranded or locked up somewhere? In a raccoon trap? Sick or dying hiding away in bushes outside? Hit by a car? Did he bolt in panic from something and end up blocks from home and get himself lost? Is he waiting for rescue that I cannot provide? I also wonder, “Is this what his first home has been thinking about for over nine years?” So far, my own tears and hundreds of lost cat posters are my only answer.
Libby is micro chipped, as are thousands of other cats. I would like to ask every one of you reading this to ask a vet or shelter to scan any cats that come your way. They may have families wondering about them much as I am wondering about Libby. The chips only work if someone takes the time to see if they are there. Help the secondhand lions of the world return to their kingdoms. These kitties are family and are much loved. The time that you take to have the cat scanned may dry the tears of a distraught owner.
Libby had a collar on when I saw him last. It has his name and our phone number. We had him fitted with a microchip years ago. We have checked with the company and the information in the database is active. He has been flagged as lost. I am asking you to take some time to help out and help Libby to return to his kingdom. I need to know if he is alive. I need to have some answers so I can stop wondering.
Libby has been known to get into garages and follow people into houses. Please take a moment to check your garage. If you have a vacant house or know of one, could you please check the house? Also, if a neighbor is gone or on vacation, please knock on that garage and listen for meowing. It has been a week and Libby must be pretty desperate.
Other places to look include checked out bushes or hiding spots on your lot. Cats sometimes get stuck on roofs, in trees, or in cars. Live traps meant for raccoons, opossums, and feral cats also can trap a house cat. Do not rely on Libby meowing or coming to see you when you look. If he is sick or injured he may be unable to respond. Carefully inspecting your property is the best way to find a lost cat.
We are offering a reward for Libby’s return. He disappeared from Brevoort Road in the Clintonville area of Columbus on Tuesday, September 20 2011. Here is a description:
· Declawed in front
· Neutered male
· Has an ID microchip
· There is a white spot on his belly
He is very missed and many tears have been shed. Our family would be very appreciative for the time that you spend searching your property. Time is passing. If he is sick or injured he needs our help. You can be Libby’s savior.
If you have a cat, make sure that he or she has a collar and ID tag. Also, have your pet micro chipped. Cats can’t loose the microchip. Also, please check any “stray”, “feral”, or “dumped” cat that you find for a microchip. If the cat has one, you may be able to help it get back to its home. You may be able to restore a king to his kingdom and prevent another kitty from becoming a secondhand lion.