We are a family of animal lovers. But Walter and I have not had the best track record with cats. I’ve had a kitten escape and get run over about 13 years ago. I’ve had a kitten that I rescued when we were living in Mozambique and hand reared. When we moved back to SA, we moved Ally with us and two weeks after we were home, we had her spayed. The following day she jumped over the wall with one of those protective funnel type collars over her neck and my neighbours dogs killed her. Walter punched the wall so hard he broke his knuckles and I am still, to this day, haunted by the the site of Ally lying dead in my neighbours yard while their dogs circled her.
Each time we’re devastated by these tragedies, I swear I’ll never have another cat again… EVER! Then Ava-Grace came along and she is obsessed with animals, has a great sense of compassion and a great love for all animals, as a side note, the child is convinced she’s going to be an “animal doctor” one day and I’m going to be her nurse, but I digress…
Ava had been begging for a baby cat for the longest time, a colleague of mine ran an animal rescue group and she had a litter of kittens that needed homes. I reluctantly agreed to take one of the kittens for Ava, who instantly and completely fell in love with Spike-a-doodles the moment she saw him.
Spike is an incredible cat. I’m convinced he has an identity crisis and thinks he’s a dog because so many of his behaviours and personality traits are dog-like. We have cared for, loved and spoiled Spike for nearly 3 years. When we moved home a couple of months ago, we went through the painstaking process of helping Spike adapt to his new environment. Everything went perfectly.
Then 4 weeks ago, he mysteriously disappeared. We cannot find him ANYWHERE! We have searched the streets, the storm water drains, handed out notices at our local vets in our area, put up notices and flyers in neighbours letter boxes, searched at all the animal shelters in our area but it’s as if he has just vanished!
I am devastated, I love that cat so much! And it’s been really really tough. We’ve had a couple of close calls, a few times vets in the area have called to say they think they have Spike and we rush there in excitement only to discover it’s not him and then it feels as if we have to start the entire grieving process all over again. Also not knowing what has happened to him, is he suffering etc is really driving me crazy.
Friday was probably the worst day since his disappearance! Walter arrived home from gym at 6am, banging doors and screaming that he has found Spike and for us to come quickly. I thought Ava was going to die from excitement. We went running outside and as soon as I got to the car, I realized it wasn’t Spike. Some friendly cat Walter had spotted on the side of the road had inadvertently gotten himself catnapped! Walter insisted we take the cat inside just to make absolute certain it wasn’t Spike-a-doodles and the only traits these two cats shared was them both being silver/grey tabbies. That was it. I told Walter he had to take the cat back to where he had found it as it obviously lives in one of the areas. And this is when Ava had a melt down. She could not understand why we couldn’t keep the cat. Why we had to take it back. She has already decided the cats name is Bella and he was going to sleep in her bed like Spike-A-Doodles used to do. She was inconsolable, crying and desperate for the entire morning after that.
A few people have said we should get another cat for Ava but I am terrified. I can’t stand the thought of running the risk of that kind of heartbreak again! I just can’t bare it. But Ava is desperate, since Spike’s disappearance, she has found a long, flat, smooth rock in the garden that she carries around as her “pet rat, Snowflake” in a takkie to keep him warm and she is desperate for another cat to keep Snowflake the imaginary pet rat/rock company.
Walter and I have discussed this at length and decided to give Ava the choice… she could either get a real pet rat or another cat. She immediately said she wanted a baby cat called Sadie and she has to be a black cat.
When we come back from holiday in a few weeks, we’ll be heading to our local SPCA to adopt another cat, but to be honest… I’m terrified.
What would you do??