Lucky the cat returned home safe after missing 4 weeks
Lucky on his favorite outside chair
Lucky our cat really got lucky after he was missing for 4 weeks
Our cat Lucky is a grey tabby who was rescued from the local shelter in 2006. He was with us for 2 years when he suddenly went missing one night without any sign or trace for almost 4 weeks.
I know many readers may not agree with me, but while it is more dangerous for our cats, we allow them to get the best of both worlds: they can frolic outside in the garden during daytime and will be locked in safely at home during the night. They never roam far from the house, mostly snoozing lazily on the cushy sofa in our backyard.
During one summer night in 2008, Lucky was not in the backyard when it was time to go to sleep, so we left the cat door open that night to allow him a safe return at anytime. In the morning there was still no sign of Lucky, and by lunchtime I really started to get nervous. Lucky is on the heavy side and he loves his food, so it was odd that he would be out all night without coming home to eat..? By the evening without any trace of him I officially freaked out.Lucky was now officially missing.
We started printing missing pet sheets and plastered them all over the community; we talked to all the neighbors; we went to the animal shelter every two days (this is a kill shelter and cats don?t make it longer than a few days once they are offered for adoption, so it's important to go regularly for a chance of finding your beloved pet). We posted ads in all local papers. But after one week, there was still no sign of Lucky, not even a single sighting by anyone! I was devastated. I lost my appetite, a few pounds, and any interest in work or fun.
My husband grew pale and thin too. It was like we were missing a beloved child. We both never thought that we would get so emotionally attached to our cats, but there it was: the excruciating, churning feeling in our stomach, filled with worry and pain about our lost child. Is he safe? Did someone just like him and take him home? Is someone hurting him? Lucky is a very friendly cat, so it would be easy for anyone to snatch him and run. The worry and insecurity about Lucky?s destiny was growing worse every day.Being out of my wits after 10 days, I signed up with a professional helper: Lisa from Feline Finders.
I had found her online and called her for help, being entirely out of ideas what else I could do to recover our Lucky. Feline Finders is using trained dogs to pick-up the missing cat?s scent and then follow it to the kittie?s hiding or trapping place. Lisa's K-9 team works around Arkansas, but they can fly out to any place in the US for a cat rescue. I decided to use her phone consultation and it really helped us get new ideas, and above all, new hope and inspiration to never, never give up looking!
So on Lisa's suggestion we bought a wildlife camera that can be set-up to take pictures of anything that moves in the dark. We set-up a feeding station with the camera in position, and hoped to get some sightings of Lucky in the neighborhood. Finally there were some sighting calls: a grey tabby was seen every morning around 4 am in someone's garden. So my husband grabbed the camera, food, and set-up shop in the garden with that kind owner's permission. Like a spy, he camped out a 4 am to get a peek at the cat that had been seen. We had about 3 different cats on the camera and saw a similar one, but none of them was Lucky.Now Lucky was missing 3 weeks and our hopes grew bleak.
On top of that, I had to travel to Uruguay for a business project, so I could not even be home any longer to help with the search for Lucky. We were devastated.
My husband relentlessly continued the search and camera/food spying around the community while I was working overseas. Lucky was missing for 4 weeks now and our hearts sank more every day.
Then one day, when I came back to my hotel room, my husband called me and shouted into the phone: "Listen to this!
Then he played me a voicemail that we had on our home phone that day: "This is the animal hospital on Charleston. If you are looking for your cat Lucky, we have him here. Please call."
I could not believe what I just heard and asked Muk to play it over and over. Then I started crying and wept incessantly for 10 minutes ? out of joy! I simply couldn?t believe it: our cat Lucky had been brought to the animal hospital by a compassionate soul, and since he was microchipped, the hospital was able to scan him and they found our number!!This was like a dream come true? an unbelievable joy unlike I had experienced before!
Lucky had been gone for almost 4 weeks, and here he was home again, looking almost unchanged, just very confused and a bit frazzled. Needless to say that we didn?t let him and Tiger outside for almost two months after that!
It turned out that Lucky had been found about 5 miles away from our house. He must have gotten into the car or had been driven away by someone. His collar was still on but the tag was missing when he was found - strange. After about 3 weeks into his departure, he had showed up in the garden of another cat lover, and what a great choice he made! This wonderful lady started feeding him, and then taking pictures and posting these around her own community, thinking that he may be someone's lost cat from nearby. When no one called, this amazing cat lover trapped Lucky with food and carried him to the next animal hospital to get him scanned. And that's when the dots connected! Lucky had been microchipped by the animal shelter and I had kept our records current, so the hospital called us right away that they have our lost cat - what an incredible joy that was!
We invited that kind lady for dinner and thanked her from the bottom of our hearts. And for Lucky, he turned out to be lucky indeed. The vet said that he did not suffer any injuries or even weight loss from his escapades, so someone must have fed him all the while. We don't know how he traveled 5 miles away, if it was an accidental ride or if someone had dropped him there on purpose. We don't know why he had a collar but no tag on, like it had been removed by someone. The vet mentioned that she has seen cases where scornful neighbors trap cats and then drop them somewhere in the wilderness, to get them out of their own gardens, or because they are just bad people. None of that could be confirmed. We only know that the reunion with our beloved boy was the most wonderful experience, and we are grateful for that.
Most days, Lucky is sleeping on his favorite couch now inside the house, and my heart is still skipping a beat when I think back of the time when he was missing. It is wonderful to recognize the emotional relationship we have with our pets. They are not just companion animals, but truly full, loved and loving family members.