The Cat Drama – What Would You DO?

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.

Ava & Spike

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??



  • Melinda

    June 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I am probably the wrong person to be giving you advise as I have three cats and seven dogs (mostly rescued animals). But I would get another cat….home is where the cat lives

  • Carla Michelle Pegg

    June 3, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I would get another cat. The risk of the small possibility of something going wrong is worth all the love and warmth a cat or any pet brings into a home. I had the most beautiful kitten.. Phoebe. After 4 weeks she suddenly got ill and died in my arms. It was the most devastating moment and I could not bare the thought of going through that again. My gran said I must go straight back to the cat rescue place (which I can REALLY recommend) and get another. The next day I did and I poured all my love into that cat. It distracted me from my pain immediately and 2 years later Kali is still the most precious perrrfect cat in the world.

    Dr Bosch, Glen Animal Clinic,

    He is the most wonderful vet and he rescues cats and kittens. The adoption fee is really low and includes the cat getting neutered. Although he is in Pretoria, it will really be worth your while.

  • Emy Clarke

    June 3, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I would also get her the cat. If she is asking for one, then she is ready for a new one. I know it’s hard to lose an animal, but it is unfortunately just one of those things that we all have to go thtough,

  • alexandra

    June 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Oh my this takes me down memory lane. ‘I am a cat person, always was, always will be. 5 years ago I had to take my precious 17 yr old darling for the ‘big sleep”. When I finally got around to dreaded decision after a sleepless, tear filled night of watching her move uncomfortably I realised that my usual mantra of ‘she’s not that bad/sick yet’ was replaced with the question ‘just how sick does she have to be before I can let her go!’. That morning I went passed the vet to prepare them for the snotty onslaught that would presents itself later in the day (me). Afterwards I declared ‘ never again would I put myself through that pain’. Yet 6 months later I took in two abandoned kittens and have resolved to suck it up as I don’t want my daughter growing up in an animal free environment. I was about 8 yrs old before I had my own cat and also went through a couple of years where cats were lost to me, one went missing, another I found run over in front of our house yet another decided she had had enough of our dogs and moved a couple of houses up. We retrieved her twice but let her stay the 3rd time, understanding that you never truly own a cat. She had strolled into our lives 5 years earlier and clearly had decided 2 litters later that a quieter environment was required for her retirement. Each loss was taken hard and as a child, teen, adult I learnt to work through the pain that comes with having a pet. I’m 48 years young and I cried buckets when my 17 year old companion went for her last trip. Will howl along with my daughter when the day comes around again. But we will always have a cat in the house!

  • sara1976

    June 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Sharon, the only advice I can give you is to try get a female cat and have her spayed right away…Boys do tend to wonder where girl cats are easier to keep home..Ive had loads of cats in my time and this has been my experience 🙂

    Good luck and it can be exciting when deciding to get a new pet!

  • Correen

    June 4, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Hi Sharon,

    (I’ve been reading your blog for ages, but never had the courage to comment)

    I can so sympathize, we have a a little feral rescue, now 5 years old, who disappears from time to time, and I am gutted every time she does. It is in their nature, I guess, and it is unthinkable to me to force her to stay indoors.

    Would Ava not be happy to rather get a little rescue puppy? If your home environment allows? It is easier to contain a dog than a cat, they are more tolerant of a collar and a name tag, and people are more likely to scan a doggy for a microchip than a cat. That said, having any type of pet will eventually entail some heartbreak, but the joys to our children make it so worth it for me.


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