Deeker's Message of the Week

August 1, 2004

Patches, Please Come Home!

July 2004 did not shape up to be a very good month for me this year. Well, July isn't a month I am particularly fond of anyway since I dislike the hot weather and the sparse rain we see at this time of year. The Fourth of July is about the only thing I have to look forward to every year, and in some years' past even that day turned out to be a big crapfest-- specifically, two of the only four total dating relationships I have ever had, ended on this day. I'm not dating now, which is just as well since I really don't have the time for dating anyway, and I have been put off from it indefinitely. I'd rather not go through all that emotional bullshit.

I didn't come here to rant about my dating history, though, but if you are interested, in how I feel about dating, please feel welcome to read my rant about Valentine's Day in the 02/15/04 MOTW for all the sordid details of my immense hatred for Valentine's Day, due in part to my abysmal romantic failures.

July 2004 was a shitty month for two other reasons aside from the heat and a sky-high power bill from running a marginally functioning air conditioner that I'll probably have to have replaced. ( /\ $ /\ ). As I reported in the 07/18/04 MOTW I lost a young friend to heart difficulties. He was only twelve years old and I never actually met him or even talked to him , but my email contact with him was close. I had taken this boy under my wing to help him deal with his feelings about diaper discipline. I still maintain close contact with his family, though.

Now I am having to contend with the anxiety and worry of a lost cat. As some of you may already know, I am very much of a cat lover and I have two cats of my own, Hobbes and Patches. Patches, unfortunately, is missing now. On the night of Friday, July 23, my brother, and I went out for pizza, and then after I brought my brother home I went back out to join some friends from work for a game of poker. We had lots of fun and we only played for very low stakes. When I got home a little after midnight my brother told me that a couple hours earlier Patches had gotten out of the house. This surprised me since Patches doesn't usually try to get out and roam. It Hobbes who does this more often. In fact, Hobbes can be really persistent at times when he wants to go out of the house. My brother even started calling him "Houdini Hobbes" because of his tendency for making escape attempts (and at times he succeeds, the little rascal).

It's kind of difficult to explain and help others to visualize how Patches got out in the first place. On the back wall of my townhouse unit is a large vent opening that leads to the air conditioning/heating unit. The cover plate for this vent opening came loose and Hobbes pawed it out of the way. The air conditioning/heating unit is in a small storage closet attached to the back of the house. There must be enough space for the cats to have crawled out of the unit and into the small storage area. They then pushed on the door from inside the storage area and opened it, thereby escaping. When my brother discovered the door on the outside storage area was open and the cats had gotten out he got Hobbes and brought him back in, but Patches was still missing.

my brother hadn't found him yet (it was at night and dark, of course). We went around with flashlights trying to find Patches. We then got into my car and drove around, hoping to spot him in my headlights, but no such luck. After about an hour we called off the search for the night and figured we'd try again in the morning. I went out first thing the following Saturday morning, but again I couldn't find him. He's out there somewhere staying safe, I hope, and I hope he finds his way back home soon. Since he had never been outside since I brought him here he probably was not familiar with the area and he got lost. I am so worried about him. I tried to tell myself that he knows where to get food and shelter, and he knows where he is loved, so he'd come back sooner or later, but as of now it's been over a week since then and there has been so sign of him at all. I hope he wouldn't have been wishing to get away from here. . I will keep you all posted and let you know if I do find him.

I also called my Mom that day to tell her what had happened. She said a neighbor might have taken him in, not knowing who he belongs to, if anyone. My mom thinks that it's possible that if someone did find Patches they may have taken him in to keep him as their own pet. I would be very upset to find out that someone would do this without at least making an effort to find out if anyone in the area reports him as missing. Patches is not quick to warm up to people he doesn't recognize, so I wouldn't think he would allow someone approaching him to pick him up. In the meantime I will watch the newspaper for the lost and found in the pets listings. I have posted a couple flyers in the area to see if someone comes forward to tell me that they have Patches or at least have seen him. There aren't really a lot of places Patches could hide other than beneath someone's car, and even then he wouldn't likely stay in one place. Patches is spooked easily and stays away from people he doesn't know (it took him a week or more just to get used to my brother after he moved in with me a year ago). My mom also thought that he might have been picked up by the pound, so I called the Idaho Humane Society on the following Monday. They said we would have to go out there to look at the cats to see if any of them might be Patches. My brother and I then went out to the animal shelter and looked to see if Patches was there. He wasn't. I did file a missing cat report with them, however; that way if a cat fitting Patches' description is turned in they can contact me. Likewise, I can contact them and check periodically. If someone does take him as their own pet I just hope they take good care of him, but I hate to think that he would not be loyal enough to want to come home, to his real home, that is.

I try to keep my hopes up, but with each passing day the hope fades just a little more and more. I posted a message about Patches to the Straight Dope Message Board. This is a message board I frequent, and several people there have told me that their pets had been gone for several days, sometimes even weeks or months and then returned. These peoples' posts help keep my hopes up. I know cats can be amazing animals and can find their way home after several months and from sometimes hundreds of miles away. I clipped out a story from the newspaper several years ago about a retired couple who traveled in their RV. They went to Jackpot. Nevada, a gambling town just over the Idaho-Nevada line. While they were there their cat disappeared from the RV. They were devastated and thought their cat was long gone. They went back home to Mountain Home, Idaho, about 140 miles away. Much to their surprise, their cat eventually showed up at the couple's house (I don't remember how much later it was, I still have the article filed away somewhere). The cat had to travel across many miles of arid terrain. Perhaps he followed the highway to get back home. In any case, it was quite a miracle. Let's hope Patches can make it home if this other cat could do it.

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Have a good week and a good August, everyone. I hope it will be a better month for me than July was.

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