So, toward the end of June, both Greymalkin & Nightshade had managed to escape the house by breaking out the side panels to the window unit A/C. I couldn't get wither of them back into the house for love or money. Nightshade would just stay out of reach. Malkin would come up to me for cuddles, but fight to get loose when I tried to take him back inside and then run away again.
After 2 weeks of this, I gave up. They were both coming back to the house to eat/drink from the bowls that the feral kitties were using, so I knew they weren't starving. The weather was uncomfortable to me, but not nearly as horrible as it had been for the last few years, so they were ok that way. Both of them were smart enough to go under my car, or under the house, or onto the neighbor's shaded porch if they got too hot or it was raining.
Then we left for the reunion in NC and poor Malkin lost his mind. I had made sure that Helen next door AND 2 officers knew my cats were outside and had them check on their food/water supplies for the 4 days we were gone. Helen said Malk would meow at her, but not come eat.
We got home and I went looking for the little nimrod. Nightshade had started coming and doing figure eights around my ankles, but still wasn't ready to come in. Finally, after walking up/down the street and calling for 20 minutes, my sweet boy appeared. He looked awful. He's been a fat little butterball for so many years, and now he was MARKEDLY thinner. I tried to pick him up for a cuddle and he hissed at me and ran away.
He spent most of July in hiding and looked thinner every time I saw him. He occasionally came out when I put out fresh food & water, but wouldn't eat or drink. And wouldn't let me touch him. I think he felt that I'd abandoned him and he wasn't willing to let me make it up to him. Nightshade, on the other hand, was finally showing signs of wanting to come inside.
Two weeks ago, Malkin was lying in the driveway when I came home from a Saturday lunch with a friend. He meowed at me when I got out of the car, and it was the most pitiful little sound I've ever heard. I knelt down beside him and was shocked to see that I could count his ribs. I picked him up- he let me- and cuddled him and he began to purr for me. I tried to carry him inside, and he jumped out of my arms and nearly knocked himself silly when he landed on the concrete. I picked him up again and sat on the porch with him for a long time, cradling him against me and listening to him purr. He drank some water when I held the bowl up to him, but wouldn't eat. I put him down to go in and get the cat carrier, because I decided he was going to the vet.
I was in the house maybe 2 minutes. He vanished in that time and I haven't seen him since. I've spent hours walking through my neighborhood & calling to him with no luck. I've called the animal shelters to see if someone turned him in, and they don't have him. Nightshade started staying in the front yard the day he disappeared, instead of roaming like she had been. Last weekend, she allowed me to pick her up, take her inside, and she's been indoors since then.
I think I've lost my sweet grey boy, and it's killing me. I should never have let him stay outside in the first place, so I have no one to blame but myself. I honestly think that last afternoon was his way of saying goodbye to me. I hope wherever he is, his beautiful soul is at peace and he knows how much I truly loved him.