It took awhile for us to realize our cat Benchley was missing: he's indoor-outdoor (microchipped and collar-tagged), and in nicer weather he's outdoors a LOT. He was originally a street cat the shelter felt could be domesticated, so we went into it knowing he was more wild than usual---but he's adapted very nicely to home life. He jumps onto laps, he purrs and snuggles, he likes to be scritched, he likes having a food dish available.
But now we haven't seen him in at least two full days, and William says it's two and a half: I'd been counting from the last time William saw him, which I'd thought he'd said was Tuesday morning, but William says it was Monday night. Benchley often goes out for a long time, but he always comes in to eat.
The first fear with an indoor-outdoor cat is that he's been hit by a car, but Benchley gave me scars the one time I carried him in the direction of the road. Accepting the possibility of a car-hit is part of the complicated decision involved in choosing to let a cat go outside, but I think the statistical chance in this particular cat's case is low: he had a childhood on the streets, as it were, and he continues to be extremely careful with roads.
The most likely with this particular cat, I think, is that he was being a Furry McNosyBritches and went into someone's garage or shed, and has gotten closed in. We had a little problem with our neighbor back when we first got Benchley, because not only would he visit their yard, he would walk confidently right into their house and be difficult to remove. That issue was resolved with the consistent application of spritz bottles, but it doesn't mean he hasn't gone somewhere else. He's also curious and brave and kind of dim, so he's the sort of cat I can picture ending up in the inner workings of a wall or something.
My biggest fear is that he is somewhere we COULD have found/saved him, but that we won't think of it until it's too late. (Well, and after reading Marie's neighbor story, I'm also worried about that.) I'm remembering when Paul and I first moved in to one of our apartments, and we couldn't find one of our cats anywhere, and he turned out to be wedged in a corner behind the water heater, completely vertical and upside-down. I would have expected him to yowl or meow or make scrabbling sounds, but he hadn't at all: when we found him, he was absolutely still and wide-eyed, and didn't make a sound until I had to pull him out of there by his tail. (I called a vet first to ask for extraction advice, and that was what she recommended. It felt very Odd and Wrong to do it, and/but it totally worked.)
But I'm also remembering when our new kitten was missing, and I was repeatedly and senselessly searching the house and then agitating about it on Twitter, and someone said her new kitten was lost once and they found her in a drawer. And I called the kids, and we went around opening drawers, and THERE WAS THE KITTEN, IN A DRAWER. It was like MAGIC. So I'm hoping if you have a "We thought there was no point looking there, but THERE HE WAS!!" cat story, you'll share it.
I would also welcome stories of cats turning up a week (or whatever) later.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...