It has been a very emotional week for us here. Little did I know, on Saturday 27th June, my routine cuddle with Clove would be the last of its kind of several days. Madam left the house at midnight and failed to return in the morning as per usual. It would be 4 days until she returned home.
Clove has always been a special cat. It has been just me and her for the majority of her 3 year life and she’s very much a ‘people person’. Regardless of how sleepy she is, if she hears me move, she’ll be back at my feet in an instant. She loves cuddles and will run straight to the door to greet me after work without fail. Other humans need to earn her trust but with me, we are just two peas in a pod. I honestly adore her more than socially acceptable.
In the hot weather, it isn’t uncommon for Clove to stay out longer than normal. The house we currently live in can act like a sauna when the temperature raises above 18 degrees so it doesn’t concern me if she’s late home. However, I was very conscious that her last meal had been nearing 14hrs ago and she isn’t a big cat. We left it most of Sunday, assuming she would come back when she got hungry or the rain got too much but a sad, untouched bowl of cat biscuits greeted us on the patio when we returned. My housemate and I decided to go into the woodlands that backed onto the house that evening but returned unsuccessful. I didn’t sleep much that night.
The next day, she still hadn’t returned. My housemates searched the woodlands high and low incase Clove had injured herself or was stuck in a tree. (This is the same cat that practically severed her entire toe on barbed wire, might I remind you), Curiosity is (or at least, should be) her middle name. I worried that entire day at work, thinking the worst might have happened to my little companion. As annoying as she can be, her presents is much more valuable and treasured. Nobody in the house slept a wink that night. It just didn’t feel right. I was anxious I’d got up to my room and miss her crying at the backdoor.
Tuesday dawned and the house felt empty. Usually when I get ready for work, Clove is sat behind me, playfully attacking my hairband while I apply mascara. This day, I got ready alone and in record time so that I could head out looking for her. A missing poster was added to a missing cat Facebook page while the local vets and RSPCA were contacted. With each day that passed, the odds of finding my clumsy feline drew slim. I know my cat and this was so out of character. That evening, my friends and I walked until 10pm, searching our estate as well as the next neighbourhood. We’d have a possible lead: someone had seen a black cat being chased by a dog in a nearby park. However, we didn’t find her. I cried myself to sleep that night. It’s so hard to explain the impact pets have on your life. Clove has gotten my through some incredibly dark times. She never judges me for eating 5 donuts in a row. Her love is unconditional.
So we’re at Wednesday; my day off. Waking up to an empty garden was becoming the norm. Cloves food mat was a sad sight, it eagerly awaited some bowls to fulfill it’s intended purpose. A long walk in the morning resulted in nothing. After lunch, we ventured out again to explore some badger sets I’d spotted on my earlier adventure. They were just inside of the Forrest that we’d all be searching the nights previous and one of my biggest fears was that a fox or badger might have gotten hold of my poor cat. Shaking Cloves treat jar and repeatedly calling her name didn’t draw any attention. A few startled rabbits did give us false hope however. We continued down the wildlife neighbourhood, from Badger Avenue to Mouse Crescent. Eventually we came to a crossroads. One path was covered in nettles and quite overgrown, the other was a more well made walking path. We split up, I took nettle road and my housemate took the other route. We assumed they would rejoin a little further along. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t feeling hopeful. I pushed back nettles as high as my head, avoided any bugs I could and practically ran when I saw a more well defined path. Emerging, I looked to my left and noticed a familiar archway that marked part of my running route. I looked to my right to see if my housemate was near by and paused. There stood in plain sight was a cat. It looked familiar, it’s red collar all askew and a dead rabbit at it’s feet. I was speechless. I managed to say the word “Clove?” In a rather puzzled and unsure tone. Within seconds she was trotting towards me like nothing had happened. Like she hadn’t been away for four days. I scooped her up, sobbing uncontrollably and called for my housemate. I couldn’t believe she was alive and so close to our house. We carried her all the way home and gave her some much needed TLC. She was surprisingly unharmed, just a tad bonier than before.
While 4 days missing might not sound like a lot, it is for Clove. She isn’t (or wasn’t) an explorer and has always enjoyed human company. since being home, she hasn’t left our side. We’re keeping a close eye on her but ultimately, she’s a cat and it’s in her nature to go out and find territory. I’m just so relieved to have her home. I’m not sure what to do with the 50+ “MISSING CAT” poster I ordered though…