I need your tales of lost pets returning

My cat Patches has been missing since Friday (7/23). He’s an indoor cat, so he’s not used to being outdoors. He’s also not the kind of cat to try getting out, unlike my other cat Hobbes (who’s been dubbed “Houdini Hobbes” because of his escape attempts, which are sometimes successful, but he always comes back). Patches, on the other hand, has yet to return. He got out through a ventilation cover that had become loose on the inside of the house, and he somehow found his way through the air conditoner duct to the outside. I fear that he may have gotten lost or spooked by something and has been hiding. He isn’t the type of cat to feel comfortable around people he doesn’t know, so I don’t think anyone would have gotten close enough to him to take him in as their own pet, which is another possibility I have considered. He’s neutered, so I know he’s not out galavanting around sowing his wild oats. I hope he hasn’t been run over or attacked by a dog or some other vicious animal, so I try to avoiding thinking about the worst. Still, I wish my beloved little feline would just come home! I miss him very much and I worry about him. I checked with the pound and filed a report on his disappearance. I posted a couple flyers around my townhouse complex and I plan to post some at my mom and dad’s place of business. My next step will be to run an ad in the paper.

For now, what I need from everyone are some stories of lost pets returning, or being returned by kind people, to keep my hopes up that my own cat will return back home where he will once again be safe. I’m mostly interested in cat stories, but I know dog owners will want to chime in, too, so you’re all welcome to share your stories as well.

When I was younger we had a cat that was gone for a week. He had climbed up into the engine compartment of our pickup. When we took it out to have it worked on by a mechanic/family friend, the cat must have ridden out there with the pickup (about two miles away). A week later the guy called us and asked us if our cat who had been missing was out by his house (the guy lived behind the shop he owned). He described the cat and sure enough, it was ours. How glad I was to see our cat found. We immediately went to go get him and brought him home. My parents also told me about a time one of our cats had been missing for six months before returning, but I was too young to remember this.

We took our cat to a vaccination clinic the vet’s office was holding in our town’s park. He got spooked by all the other animals and ran off. We thought he was lost for good, but he actually found his way home (1-2 miles away) about two weeks later. Since we drove him to the park, that was pretty impressive.

Good luck. I hope your cat returns to you.

Just after we moved into our new home across the country, my precious baby, 7 year old neutered female, went missing after a storm. I was really worried about her and I had put up a poster and I was calling around my street several times a day.

I told all my brand new neighbours about it and a few fretful days after she had vanished, one of our neighbours bounded into our front yard “I think I’ve found your cat.”

He had and I was so glad and right now she’s draped across my arms.

What you’ve been doing is spreading the word which is the best thing to do. Someone’s bound to spot the darling, especially if he’s like mine and just lost his scent a few metres from his home.

My pillow with legs, Forbes, confused my son’s visit as a power struggle. Since he was a pillow with legs, he wasn’t up to the challenge, so poor kitty, who had always been afraid of outside, and would never dream of eating anything but his Science Diet™, decided he had to leave.
I lived in an apartment, on the 3rd floor. I was beside myself. We looked everywhere, put up posters even when door to door. No Forbes. After 4 days my son went back home. That night, about 3am I heard a familar voice, but far away. I went out in my jammies to search.
Since it was so late I was whispering his name. He kept calling, until I tracked him to the balcony directly under mine. (he had gone out the sliding door when he left.) The balcony wasn’t accessible from the stairs, and being a well behaved pillow, he wouldn’t jump up on the table. He wouldn’t follow me, because he thought he was home! I finally coaxed him out and all was well. Of course, he was starving, since kibble doesn’t grow on bushes, but otherwise none the worse for the adventure. After that he wouldn’t even go near the door.
When my son was 4 or 5 we had a russian blue, Brute who thought he was a dog.
We moved from downtown to the country. Brute hated his imprisonment while he got used to the new place. 2 weeks after moving, he escaped.
Gone! My son wouldn’t sleep or eat. We looked everywhere then too, but no luck.
after 3 months, I was ready to get a new kitten to help my son get over the loss.
Then there came a phone call from a friend from the old neighborhood.
Brute, skinny and tattered, had arrived at our old house, then their’s to beg for a bite of food.
We just didn’t have the heart to take him out of his hard won domain, so the friend adopted him and we got a kitten.

When I was fourteen, I took a trip to Iowa to visit my relatives by myself. Two weeks later, while my father and I were driving back home, I asked about our cats (we have four). He regretted to inform me that he had let Fred, the eldest one, out one morning and Fred never returned. This had never happened before.

I was crushed, and posted signs up everywhere. But lo and behold, Fred returned about a week later. What was weird was that he had never really paid attention to me before. But when he returned, he started following me around, and meowing when I was gone. He still does that to this day, eight years later.

He does this everytime we let him outside, so I have forbidden him to go out. I wouldn’t mind it so much if he were like the other cats. They return every few hours, so we know they’re alive. But Fred will stay out for days at a time, making me a nevous wreck even though I know he’ll return.

Years ago, we adopted a stray, whom we named Maya. The story behind how we aquired Maya is somewhat interesting (you’ll hear it anyway) and actually probably is a clue as to why she initially disappeared.

My daughter had gotten off the bus one afternoon, and was walking home (about four blocks) when she walked past a row of homes (in the city) and this tattered cat comes running up to her, throws herself at my daughters feet, flips over on her back to be petted. Daughter comes home, begs for a new cat (we already had three), so we go back to the area, confirm with local residents that it’s a stray, and adopt her.

Fast forward three years. Maya, who has proven to have a personality unlike any other cat I’ve ever seen, is an indoor/outdoor cat. (Spare me the rants about letting cats outside…) Everyone in our neighborhood knows her by NAME, and she knows the sound of my car and will greet me on the sidewalk when I come home. One day during the winter, she disappears. She just simply isn’t there anymore. I post signs, call the pound, search the area for a body. Nothing. Not a thing.

Four months later, on a pretty spring day, I open the back door to feed the other furballs, and in struts Maya. She throws herself at my feet, flips over on her back, purring. She’s gained some weight, but otherwise is the same cat. We assume she went on vacation, but she’s not telling. She won’t discuss it and just shrugs when we ask her about it, but we made her promise she wouldn’t go on vacation again without sending us a postcard.

Last Thursday or Friday when I got home from work I went out into the yard to do water some plants. My dog, Goliath came outside as well. He went to the gate and started barking and acting nuts. It turns out that there was a Rottweiler hanging in my front yard. The dog appeared to be in good shape and had on a collar, but I had never seen a Rottweiler in the area before.

After watering the plants I took Goliath for a walk and the Rottweiler started following us. I went by a neighbours house and asked him if he had ever seen the dog, Maya according to her tag, before. He hadn’t seen her before either. It took both of us, because Maya was nervous, but we were able to get the phone number off the tag. I called and a gentleman answered and said that the family had all but given up since Maya had been gone for 6 days - she escaped while being off lease during a walk. He came to pick her up and all was well.

Not quite what you were looking for, but it should show you that animals can survive for a week without human help. Now, I know you said that the cat wasn’t an outside cat, but was he wearing a collar or is he chipped?

When I was a kid, my hound dog Susie disappeared from our front yard. We had no idea what had happened to her–we searched everywhere, including the ditches along the sides of the highway thinking maybe she’d been hit by a car. No luck. Two months later, I was playing outside at my grandmother’s house (5 miles from our house) and noticed a dog running across the field across the street. The dog looked very familar so I called my parents outside and told them that Susie had found us. My dad said there was no way it was her but just to humor me, whistled for her anyway. Susie came bounding across the road ecstatic to see us and no worse for wear from her two month vacation. We still have no idea where she was all that time but she’d obviously been taken care of by someone. After that, she was content to stray no further than the end of the driveway and lived to the ripe old age of 15.

Back in the early 80’s my family had a parakeet, Pretty Boy, I think his name was (no, I didn’t name it) One day, the bird manages to escape out of a window and winds up hanging out in a nearby tree. This isn’t exactly the friendliest bird, so we all figured, that was all we were going to see of it ever again.

Fast forward about a week and my brother is at football practice at the high school, about 2 miles away. Lo and behold, a parakeet flies in and lands on the field. Yes, it was Pretty Boy, and yes, they captured him. Weird.

Thanks for all the stories so far. They help me keep up my hopes that Patches will return or be located. I will be sure to come back and let everyone know if and when my sweet little feline friend is back home again.

My Punkin disappeared for about a week. He came home skinned up, and with very sore pads, so we think he must have gotten up inside some vehicle and got dumped out miles from home.

My Molly disappeared for 10 days. She came home fat and sassy. I suspect someone tried to “adopt” her.

My gran had a cat when I was a kid who disappeared for over a year. She found him wandering through the woods behind the house, called to him, and he came back. She fed him, and he stayed. I guess he’d gone almost feral, but still remembered her, and the easy food.

I was on the other side of it ten or fifteen years ago, when I worked Animal Control.

A vacationing couple was driving back up to Washington State (from California) in their RV with their cat. They stopped at a remote rest stop, and the cat squeaked out the door. They stayed there for hours, until after dark, but they had to move on without finding their cat. They put up signs and called us - it was so remote that I’d never been to that rest stop.

Anyway, one of the people that worked cleaning the stop saw the cat a week or so later. He called us, and I took a trap up there. We caught the cat (he was a beautiful big orange tabby), and he brought it down to the shelter.

Now, we knew whose cat it was, but they were two states away. Getting him back to them was going to be a challenge, especially for a county-run shelter with a limited budget (don’t they all have limited budgets?)

To ship an animal interstate, they have to have a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. Our usual vet took pity on the story, and checked him for free, and also happened to have a spare shipping crate.

So I got him all checked out and installed in his crate, and had him flown overnight up to Washington. Those people were so incredibly thankful, it brought tears to my eyes. They never expected to see their cat again, and really appreciated all the efffort it took to get him back. They even wrote a nice letter to the sherrif for my personnel file, which I still have as the only souvenier of a long and thankless job.

Being that you state Patches escape route and may have seen him enter the outside world I doubt this could be possible but have you checked all of your duct work. Perhaps he got stuck in there (though I imagine you’d here him)

My thoughts are with you and Patches.

My dad was always giving my pets away when I wasn’t looking. I would come home from school and my beloved dog or cat would be gone. He would tell me that they ran away. So when Thumper, my black cocker spaniel disappeared, I didn’t expect to see him again.

He was gone for a week. I came home from school one day and found him on the porch. He was so tired he could barely greet me. He was skinny and matted and had a rope around his neck. It wasn’t until years later, that I found out my dad had given him to a man who had done some work for him, and lived 20 miles away in the next county!

I guess Thumper didn’t like going from pampered family pet to being tied with a rope in some redneck’s yard. :smiley:

dwc1970, does your kitty have claws? If so, I’d venture to say he’s probably all right.
I have had cats go missing for periods ranging from four days to three weeks, and it’s miserable while they’re gone, but they do have amazing track records for showing up again. Get the word out, and call for him every day.
I am wishing you the best of luck.

A couple of years ago, this beautiful tabby cat, Jude, wandered up to the house. A few cans of tuna later and Jude decided he’d like to move in. A couple of weeks later, my dad was leaving for work with Jude lurking by the door. My dad has the annoying habit of throwing the door open whenever he leaves the house, allowing any animal that might be behind him to exit with him. Jude decided to go outside with him. That night Jude didn’t come back. We figured he’d gone back to his old family, but we were worried obviously because the cars in front of my house go really fast.

Cut to a few days later and Jude still hasn’t returned. I’m outside getting the mail one night when I hear a cat meowing. It seems Jude had decided to come home. He’s now living in the lap of luxury at my aunt’s house where he’s adopted my uncle as his person.

Seriously, check your ducts again. In college my boyfriend’s cat “ran away.” Two days later, we could hear her meowing. It took the better part of a day to figure out the meowing was coming from INSIDE THE WALLS. My boyfriends brother had to crawl through this riciduclously small duct and lo and behold, there she was, snug as a bug, in the space between the drywall! She was actually in the freakin wall!

Also, we had a cat who fell asleep in my aunt’s car and accidently hitched a ride. Luckily my aunt went to the store about 5 miles away where she escaped the car. (My poor aunt didn’t realize, of course. It was only after she heard our cat was missing that she remembered seeing people chasing a very upset cat around the grocery store parking lot.) It took eight whole days but she made her way home. She was just sitting on the windowsill one morning. She was thin, but not too thin. And she lived to a ripe old age herself.

I’ve got two.

Mrs. Gaffer and I were cat-sitting The Beast who belonged to an ex-housemate of mine. The Beast was a cat of considerable girth and a pretty cool besides although he had an annoying habit of throwing himself at my closed bedroom door at 7 am if he had not yet been fed. In any case, my old housemate and his girlfriend went to Europe for a month and The Beast came to stay with us. About two weeks into the stay…The Beast disappeared. We live out in the country where wildlife abounds. Cat disappearances are, sadly, very common. The worst part was that we would half to tell the ex-housemate and his girlfriend who both doted on The Beast. Well, 12 days later there is a Meow at the back door and there he is. No collar and substantially thinner but safe and sound. Needless to say, he didn’t leave the house again until they came to pick him up.

The second one was one of our own. She didn’t come back in one night (like she always did) and although it was sad, considering where we live it was not too surprising. A week later, Mrs. Gaffer was putting the kids in the car when she thought she heard something coming from our neighbor’s house. The woman who lives on the next property is very old and had had the skirting around her mobile home boarded up the previous week. My wife ran over and removed one of the boards and out jumped our cat! A little thinner but otherwise fun.

Good luck. I hope he comes back soon.


I hope Patches comes home soon. Anyway, my sister lost her cat for 9 months. Ferrari was both an inside/outside cat. One day she just disappeared. Eventually after a few months, my sister got another cat.

After nine months, a woman called her to say that she had found Ferrari! So she got her back.

I’m sorry about your cat, and don’t forget to check the local shelter to see if he got turned in.

I can share today’s story of a love-starved New Zealand tomtit who was forcibly separated from his mate and flew back across the open sea to find her.