Tuesday, May 26, 2009

With a Heavy, Honeyed Heart

This is my 401st post. I just noticed that. Not the foot I was looking to start a new cent on. Then again, I've always hated pennies and that 400th post? That one reflected a beautiful afternoon full of food and family/friends (those with fur and those who are just Greek). That was a good one.

This is not and I'm sorry for that. I have been talking about this all over the Internet- from Twitter to Tumblr to Facebook and then some. For some reason I still can't bring myself to talk about it here. Like this is the place that things come to be real.

HoneyCat has been missing since last Wednesday (5/21). She was in the garden Wednesday afternoon but never came home that night. For an animal that would come OUT of the house just so she could come INTO the house with me, spending the night out turns out to have been just as frightening a harbinger as it felt like at the time.

Fliers (above) are littering my neighborhood. I walk through the streets and alleys first thing every morning, at night after work and last thing before bed. Calling her with kissy noises and a jiggling treat bag. I've been to both major city pounds and every shelter has a copy of her flier. She has a Craigslist post and a missing pet profile.

So far I've had five emails and four phone calls from neighbors who thought they'd seen her, wanted to help or just expressing that their thoughts were with me. The woman who took me around the city pound on Friday emailed me today to check in. I-friends and IRL friends and the hybrids have RT'd and Re-blogged and offered military-quality cat-hunts. In a word: awesome.

This morning's call was from a guy walking his dog. He'd seen another guy looking for Honey in that area (note: I've never met either of these neighbors) and had a sighting. I was making pie crust this morning (Jaimeson comes in tonight) and answered my phone with some surprise at 7am. When he gave me the coordinates, I nothing short of SPRINTED four blocks west.

I got there and started in with my kisses and coos. I heard paws and a tail moving through hostas.

And then a cat appeared that was not HC. Same coloring. Same basic size. But no tiger stripe down the nose. No huge green eyes. No extra four pounds. This cat's tail moved with more fluidity than the windshield wiper I've known and loved.

The biggest difference?
This cat was wearing a collar that indicated it lived at the house I stood before.

Of all the treats and warm laps and anthropomorphous conversations I gifted her with, that was the one thing Honey did not currently have and I failed her in that completely. I cheated myself as well. Out of answers, out of warmth, out of knowing. I've put pets to sleep. I've had a cat and a dog hit by cars in my quiet suburban childhood. But the vanishing? This is an entirely new breed of hurt.

When the Not-Honeycat came to my calls this morning and wrapped herself around my legs and let me hold her while purring in her Not-Honeycat way, I stood in front of my neighbor's house and dry-heaved into their housepet, the doppelganger who was likely the source of all former sightings.

And it makes sense that it would have been her that they saw and not mine. Because if HC was out and about? She'd be home. She'd be with me. We do everything together. People have told me not to put away her dishes yet, not to give up the ghost. "Cats do this." But I just don't think she does. Honey doesn't do this. She's a codependent, chubby chicken of a feline and the house feels so empty without her. As one of the first subjects I ever broached here, this place feels empty of her antics as well.
Taken Wednesday morning, 5/21

I don't know what else to say...I am devastated.


kat said...

I absolutely ached for you while reading this. My family has experienced this heartbreak twice, both times with cats like HC who were so people-oriented that there seemed to be no hope of finding them again.

One emerged from the woods after six weeks, the other was found - annoyed, but intact - at the pound after a month. (My advice, from experience, is to check in with the shelters every week. Don't stop calling. Their employees are wonderful but overworked; she may well wind up there without anyone noticing her.)

Don't give up hope. I am crossing all my fingers for you.

Anonymous said...

Oh I am so sorry you are experiencing this. I just cried reading through this because it's such a heartbreaker. If my Chester went missing I would be an absolute basket case. I wish I could help you look for her. Don't give up hope though...you just never know what the lovely furry friends of ours will do.

RebeccaC said...

Oh my friend....the hurt is deep. If there is any way to lessen the saddness by spreading it among friends, I hope your heart feels lighter right now. Though not much of a cat person, I am a HoneyCat person, and thus rewarded with a heaping helping of hurtful heart right now.

If you need an escape from a lonely house, I have homecooking and kleenex waiting 4 blocks away.

Petunia said...

My cat Lily has been missing since MArch 11. There are no words that adiquately express how painful and deep the not knowing runs. She has been back to visit me and so I believe she is not alive any more but I still search craigslist everyday, still pour over all the alert notices that come daily in email. This is the second cat that has gone missing. And I REALLY hate it. I can still hear her tiny meow. I am SO sorry you know this pain, too. I am just so damn sorry.

nicoleantoinette said...

Oh honey I'm so, so sorry. I've never been through this (never even had a pet actually), but am so sorry for what you must be going through.

Big hugs lady.

camille said...

My friend, I am so, so, sorry. I am here for you - just sorry I wasn't this weekend to help you look.

The Charming Hedonist said...

Awww, Cook, big hug from the South. I sincerely hope your friend comes home soon. Eyes and ears perked just in case she wanders down my way. In the meantime, good luck (and plenty of e-hugs).

lbs said...

OMG, honey....that is terrible. I've lost two puppies from freak accidents and it nearly tore my heart apart. I will pray for you and poor Honey-Cat that you two will be reunited. There's always hope, but I'm sure your just exhuausted not knowing what exactly the future holds. I'm thinking warm thoughts for you and will send my positive energy HC's way so she will find her way back into your arms.

Hang in there, let me know if you need a hug at work. :(

moosh in indy. said...

WAH. I'm a total cat person and I'M SO SORRY for the loss of HC. I lost my Chester four years ago and no cat will ever be as cool as Chester, I keep hoping he'll just show up.
Now I need to hug a cat. Smell a cat.
So sorry darling.
Come back HoneyCat, please, your mama needs you.

Lori aka A Cowboy's Wife said...

{{{hugs}}} Wish I had something wonderful to say but all I can say is to keep your chin up.

TKTC said...

ALL:HONEYCAT is home!!! Thank you so much for your happy thoughts- she was taken in by a neighbor with a broken leg a week ago. Woman's friend saw a sign and voila! HC is home!!! More later but most of all THANK YOU!!!

TKTC said...

Sorry, confusing. HC is in perfect health if maybe a little lighter (that's probably ok). It was the woman who took her in who had the broken leg. Said woman is getting a pie tomorrow. And flowers.

Petunia said...

I'm so happy for you!