I miss his meows

Posted on: March 16, 2009

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We had the worst weekend ever.

Timmy, our cat, who has moved house with me four times in two states went missing.

He’s a boisterous little white and ginger cat. He has attitude like you would not believe. He’s very vocal, he sings, he yells at us when he’s hungry, he bosses us all around, but he also knows how to turn on the charm and be cute when he wants some affection and loves to run in front of you as you enter a room and flop over on his back and wiggle around trying to tempt you to scratch his belly.

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He’s a complete alpha male that likes to strut his stuff and gets so grumpy if he’s waiting to be fed or when I come back from a vacation. He’s a sprightly thing who constantly gets bored with us and meows at us in frustration ‘WHY are you guys so boring? WHY aren’t you entertaining me. I want to be on top of the cupboard. I want to see what’s in the wardrobe. WHY aren’t you opening it for me?’ But he also loves to curl up on the couch and in recent years has mellowed out and just wants to be comfortable and get a good chin scratch. He’s inquisitive and gets himself in trouble and been known to run into the house with a sheepish look on him and you just KNOW something happened.

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But this time he didn’t come home.

The short version is we looked everywhere. We did fliers and posters. We checked the near by shelters to no avail. And we door knocked. 2 different sets of neighbours told us they saw a dead cat on the street the day Timmy went missing and one of them had moved the cat and called the council but didn’t check the collar to find the owners. We went to council and they had no record of the pick up. But I’m pretty sure it was Timmy because we found a squashed bell on the road we think was his. He had 4 different types of identification on him – microchip, national pet register tag, council registration tag and an engraved tag with his name and my phone number on it. But no one called. It’s just so frustrating.

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Here’s my long winded version. I don’t really expect anyone to read the entire thing but I feel I just have to get it out, maybe this will help other people in similar situations in future —

Timmy being missing for one night isn’t too unusual but on Saturday morning it was bucketing down and Timmy HATES the rain and he was no where to be seen and it had been two nights. AA and I went out with rain jackets and an umbrella calling out to him throughout the block but no meows to be heard. Timmy has a meow at a pitch that CUTS through but the wind and rain were so strong we knew we wouldn’t be able to hear him and he wouldn’t come out in the rain anyway. I was imagining him under a house not too far away.

We returned Saturday early evening. Our housemate searched all the nearby streets in his car. AA and I went around the neighbourhood again calling out his name. I was outside the unoccupied run down house next door and heard a meowing that wasn’t Timmy’s. It was Villenelle our other cat, and she rarely meows. She seemed to want me to follow her and she ducked under the house. I thought she was getting all Skippy like on me and was going to show me where Timmy was. We searched with a torch under the house and shed and all throughout the yard and couldn’t find anything. I think Villenelle was just playing, Timmy and she always play in that house and I think she found it novel to see us on the other side of the fence for a change.

We made up colour fliers and posters on Saturday night to print out on Sunday. It was so rainy and cold Saturday night. Timmy is always so affectionate when it’s cold. He likes to curl up on me in bed, and if it’s really cold he likes to come under the covers for a while before settling himself on my chest, right above my heart so that I can’t bring myself to move around too much because he looks so happy and content and QUIET for a change. He’s so sweet when he’s tired. I was worried Timmy was stuck somewhere he couldn’t get out of, possibly injured and might be in shock in the cold. Hungry and tired and dehydrated on his third night out of the house.

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In the morning, as soon as we got the fliers printed we put them up at the local supermarket and vet and we started door knocking. The first door we knocked on, our neighbours, his face fell when we showed him the flier and we knew it wasn’t good. He had seen a dead cat on the street on Thursday morning around 5am (our housemate had last heard Timmy meowing at him at 4.30am on Thursday morning when he returned home from a shift) and he thought it might have been one of ours and meant to tell us but never got around to. We were so confused though – where did his body go then? How come none of us saw anything when we went to work on Thursday morning?

But he looked at the photo and said ‘I think it was him’ and that the cat had a definitely bell. He was in his car and flashed his lights at it to try and get it to move out of the way but it was dead.

So, next we hit the shelters. We went to both Lort Smith and the Lost Dogs & Cats home, both in North Melbourne. Apparently Lost Dogs & Cats had received a whole lot of cats from our area recently so we hoped he might be there. No. We asked what they do if the animals are already dead and they said it depended on which council it is.

I should point out that our pets have every conceivable type of identification on them. Timmy in particular had bright green tattoos on both his ears, indicating he was microchipped and desexed. He had them when I got him from the RSPCA shelter in Adelaide. He was microchipped with Central Animal Records, had a numbered tag with the National Pet Register, a council registration tag and a tag we had engraved with his name and my phone number on it. We thought if anyone official picked him up or if anyone found him, surely they would call us.

We returned home with no extra info but at least knew we checked the shelters. I was too distressed to do any more door knocking but AA and our friend Gemma spoke to the neighbours across the street from those that saw the dead cat and they confirmed they saw the cat too. In fact they moved it so it was out of the road and wouldn’t be run over again and the father gave it a good check to see it wasn’t their cat. Unfortunately though after establishing it wasn’t their cat they didn’t bother to check the cat any further to see the details of WHO it did belong to. They called the council to remove the dead animal. That happened in the morning so it was technically possible they moved it and we didn’t see it as we drove to work though it seemed a bit unlikely. Perhaps there was a car parked in front. But Gemma walked past the house too that morning and didn’t see anything! Could the council really be as efficient as that?

They showed the neighbours photos of Timmy and it sounded like it was him but they were still trying to give us hope. They looked at photos and said it was the wrong colour and the dead cat’s markings were ‘more brown’ but Timmy is orangey/ brown. And they said the cat was more ‘white’ and from the side Timmy was pretty much ALL white with a few ginger bits on his back, tail and bits of his face.

Then Gemma found a squashed bell on the street where the dead cat was. lt looked just like one I bought Timmy when we moved into our new house. I made sure both our cats had 2 bells each because they had killed a few birds and I read having two bells could really help stop them being able to creep up on them. But I wasn’t sure whether Timmy still had his on. I hadn’t CHECKED recently but he definitely had a bell on him.

We were hoping the Council could give us some answers when they reopened in the morning. AA, our housemate and I went in to see if they could tell us if they picked him up and if they had his registration details. I had resigned myself to the fact that if they picked him up on Thursday it was probable they had disposed of the body already. It’s not like they have a morgue for cats. But why hadn’t anyone called us? What do I pay my council registration fees for? Would they not bother calling me because he was dead already? I was hoping they’d at least have kept the collar to follow up the owners details on Monday if they didn’t get to it before the weekend.

But when we got to council the exceptionally helpful receptionist couldn’t find any answers for us at all. She spoke to 4 different people that would have been involved if there was a pick up. The coordinator for the pick ups, there are only 2 rangers that do the pick ups. One was on leave so it wasn’t him and the other said he didn’t know anything about it. So the body just went missing! No record of even a call for a pick up!

So distressing. I can’t bring myself to think much further about it. I’ve come to the conclusion there are two likely options. 1) The ranger picked it up but didn’t scan the dead cat like he was supposed to do and didn’t want to get in trouble so said he didn’t know anything about it. 2) Perhaps one of the Asian families binned the cat because it might have been bad luck to have a dead animal in front of their house.

I’ve considered the possibility of a random person bringing it to a vet or burying it themselves but really, a person who would do that probably would have cared enough to contact the owner. I even called another nearby Brimbank council (we belong to Maribyrnong council) to make sure it wasn’t them that picked it up but they said if the area was outside their jurisdiction they’re not allowed to do pick ups there. I rang the microchipping place to make sure they have my correct number and to se if they got any calls with a scan of Timmy’s number. I rang the vets to see if a dead cat had been brought in… nothing.

I’m at a loss. But because of the bell I’m pretty damn sure it was Timmy. Plus what are the chances of another white cat being found dead in the street in front of our block of townhouses on the day that Timmy went missing? It’d just be nice to be 100% sure.

And it’d be nice to know that doing all the right things in making sure you cat is identifiable would mean you will actually get contacted in an unfortunate event.

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The house is so quiet without him.


2 Responses to "I miss his meows"

I CRY NOW!!!! and I am really really really sorry for ur lost. I had a kitten like that before (even same patches like Timmy but skinier ;)). He started to went missing and after few days we found him stuck silently between our fench with both his eyes missing…. (I am sorry). Hope u can get over it soon…
Regards. R

sorry to hear the news about Timmy, we know how much you thought of him…..time will heal….. love to you both and hope to see you again soon xxxxx

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