Two weeks ago today I was sleep deprived after the first time ever that Rocco did not come home.
That’s right, Rocco
He’s never not come home at dusk.
He doesn’t like to be out in the cold. Every night for almost three years (as long as I’ve had him) he comes in as soon as it starts to get dark and curls up some place warm. Usually on a chair under the dining room table. One of the few places undisturbed (usually), but small children or a dog.
That night, he never came home. I tried to sleep, but kept thinking I heard the dog door. (I know he’s a cat, but I do have a dog, and even if I didn’t, I will always call it a dog door). Anyway, in the morning, no cat. Rascal was pacing around, concerned about his brothers absence. I had to work all day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
The next night, it was cold.
The coldest it had been all year! At least where I live, that’s still pretty warm for winter. Still, he never came home. All the most horrible thoughts ran through my mind all night long! Rascal cuddled up with me and he doesn’t always sleep in my bed. He was worried, too. He pressed into my side all night trying to find comfort.
The next day, again, I had to work. I don’t usually work weekends. Of course it had to be the one weekend I was working like crazy and a freak freeze was happening!
I came home that afternoon for lunch, and walked the neighborhood looking for him. Scanning the street gutters, thinking he was perhaps hit by a car. My husband searched to the lot behind our house where boats and campers are parked, no sign of him.
I looked up lost pets online for our local shelter. I didn’t know they post pictures when they find an animal now! How great is that? For info and some great tips, go to: How to look for a lost pet.
He didn’t appear to be there, but I called anyway. No, they had no one of that description. The one black and white they had, had been there almost a month and was found far from where I live.
My son and I made flyers and posted them around the neighborhood.
Calling and searching as we walked it again. Then we took a flyer door to door asking each neighbor to check their cars and garages. I have seen both cats inside parked cars on our street!
You saw this photo on my Curiosity Killed the Cat post. That’s Rocco in the picture above. This was only a few days earlier. From my kitchen window, I looked up and saw both cats climbing around inside this car! I ran outside and called them and they both squeezed out of the window, which wasn’t open all that wide, as you can see! By the time I had my phone ready and clicked the picture, Rascal was out and Rocco was almost out of there.
The cat’s also think every garage in the neighborhood is theirs to explore. I’ve seen them in almost every one of them in my complex when one is left open. They have no boundaries, these two! I’ve even seen Rascal go into a few neighbors’ houses or heard about it later! He has no shame.
They go into the garage straight across from us most often. I spoke to the person living there and he had not seen him, but said he would check the cars and call a friend who had stopped by, to make sure Rocco hadn’t hopped into his car. That neighbor had had his garage open a few times earlier in the day, according to my husband, so I knew he couldn’t be in there.
Having done everything I could think of, I left for work.
On a whim, I stopped by the shelter just to look, even though they had told me over the phone that he wasn’t there. Seeing the kitties there just about broke my heart! It was all I could do not to break them all out and take them home with me!
I was at work until late, trying to hide my anxiety, to smile and play with the kids I was caring for. Turns out two of the other teachers were recently missing cats as well (out of a total of four of us; that’s 3 out of 4 people in case you can’t handle that math)! Was there a secret feline convention going on somewhere??
When I finally got home, my husband informed me…
he had found Rocco!!
After dark, when the street was quiet, he walked around calling him and when Rocco heard him, he started meowing, more like howling to get out! He was in the neighbors garage right across from ours! Why, oh, why he hadn’t just come out when they had the door open, only he could tell you. Perhaps their laundry pile was just too irresistible?!
I have not clue. I went out and called him and he answered with some very long, forlorn meows. The garage light was on and in the side window, just through a space in the blinds, I could just see him pacing back and forth behind the garage door.
It hadn’t looked like the neighbors were going anywhere for long, so I waited for them to get home. It was freezing, so of course I waited in the comfort of my own home with my somewhat brighter animals who managed not to get locked away and not come out when they had the chance!
I waited until one o’clock in the morning, but had to get some sleep. Again, I had a busy day the next day. I was so exhausted I fell right to sleep. When I came down in the morning, who did I see… Rocco, sitting on the dining room chair, preening his lovely fur as if he’d never been missed.
When I opened a can of deliciousness, he ate…. and ate. I waited a while and made sure Rascal was out, who I assumed wouldn’t leave his side today, but he went out the first chance he got. Must be as annoyed with him as I was! Then, I fed him even more. He ate three small helpings of wet food. I tried to space it out and give him a little at a time.
I didn’t want him to eat too much too fast and throw it up, but I knew he was dehydrated and needed it. And I was just so happy to have him back I wanted to give him whatever he wanted, even though part of me wanted to throttle him!
I debated never letting him out again.
I, at the very least, was not letting him out that day.. that was until ten minutes later when my three year old opened the back door and out he went! Oh well.
Some have been telling me all these reasons why theirs are indoor cats. I just can’t deprive them of the joys and freedom of outside. I certainly wouldn’t want to be locked in my whole life for my safety. But I know it depends on where you live, weather conditions (here it really doesn’t get very cold), and other factors.
Hopefully he learned his lesson. I somehow doubt it.
Cathy Armato says
Rocco you mischievous kitty!! You had your Mama scared to death! I am so happy you came home safe & sound, if not famished. I hope you have learned to steer clear of the neighbor garages.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
L. E. Mastilock says
You’d think he would have learned something.. no, still getting himself into places he shouldn’t
robin lorraine williamson says
So glad rocco is home safe, very glad frankie loves his leash because if he were to get out Diamond the pit bull would turn him into a taco thanks for hosting another great hop happy holidays Frankie wants to go to vegas to try out his new skill check blog for details
Ruckus Eskie says
Oh my goodness! What a scare! So glad he came back. I'm sure your heart was beating 1000x/minute
Jenna,Mark Drady says
Well I am truly glad Rocco is home safe!! We keep our cats indoors, but as u said it depends where u live….and here is not a good spot to let the kitties out…busy roads, cold weather and the works.
The Island Cats says
We're so glad Rocco is home again.
Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs says
We are so glad Rocco is home safe. We wouldn't being locked up inside forever either. Heck some of us even insist on going out when it is raining. Socks licking rainwater off his fur.
L. E. Mastilock says
LOL! Yes, my boys often beg to go out in the rain. They never stay out long though!
I am so very happy Rocco is back where he belongs!!!
Lucky he got home again.
We also know now horrible it is to have a cat disappear. We had one disappear a little over two months ago and still hasn't come home so we are thrilled that Rocco did make it home. Cats are just way to curious and have to check everything out.
Glad it was good news for you.
Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) says
We know how awful it is have a pet go missing so seeing Rocco return was a big relief. Is he micro-chipped? A smart ID which can be scanned with a smart phone helps and there are ones with built in GPS. The easiest way to keep tabs is with basic training, teaching a cat to come (is outside) and stay (for those who like to sneak outdoors). Despite my experience with lost cats, I'm one of the few cat behaviorists in the U.S. who still lets my cats go outdoors but there's no ideal situation.
Christie laverie says
Oh my! I am so happy you got him back!
I know how you felt, Mikko has gotten out for a night or two…I was bawling my eyes out…Until I saw him over on my neighbors lawn! I was so relieved…I still let him out when its warm though…But I have him on a long rope…We live kind of in the country, so I don't let him out without a leash until I get a fenced yard. I used to have a shock collar (I know….All my friends recommended it) but he learned that if he ran fast enough, he could manage to get away. But the more he wore it, the worse it got….He ended up losing some fur at a spot…..But it grew back and i never put it on him again!
L. E. Mastilock says
Poor kitty! Glad he doesn't wear that anymore! I'd keep a cat in rather than try that one. Hope he's okay with the leash. I've tried leashes before and only ended up with the cat on his back attacking it!
Jans Funny Farm says
It's a terrible feeling to be missing a pet. Glad Rocco was safe and is home.
Sometimes, Cats Herd You says
P.S. The head peep told us to tell you that she drove off with a neighbor cat once. He jumped up on the back of her seat just as she was going around the ramp to get on the highway and she thought for a second that someone hiding in the back seat was trying to kidnap her! Of course, it was her who had accidentally catnapped a strange cat, who was trying to get out of the open car window. She got the kitty home safely, but she learned that you always had to check for stowaways! We hope your neighbors are on a look out for stowaways with Rascal and Rocco in the 'hood.
L. E. Mastilock says
I did loose a kitty that way once. He jumped out of a friends car hours away when they stopped for gas. The friend had no idea the cat was in the car until he bolted. So sad! I will remind my neighbors again to be on the lookout. Thanks!
Sometimes, Cats Herd You says
It's great to hear the whole story now that we know it has a happy ending. Paws crossed Rocco has learned a lesson and doesn't get himself stuck like that again!
Derby, Ducky says
Glad they are home. Mum never lets us out of the house. So I guess we don't know what we are missing.
The Swiss Cats says
We're so glad that the story has a happy end ! As outdoor cats, we know that it's awfully stressful for Mum (and Dad !) if we change our habits and are not on time for breakfast or for five o'clock tea… We should admit that everything can happen outside. Purrs
Elvira Mistress of Felinity says
Rocco, dude, if Nikita was here, he'd wag a paw at you, and say that his one experience stuck outdoors was enough to cure him of the urge. 😀
Glad you are safe at home, even for a day.
L. E. Mastilock says
I must here that story! if you've posted it, please share where I can find it!