I have had cats all of my life. Sometimes a reasonable amount, sometimes not so much. But, I have always loved them. And, of course, there have been a few that were particularly special to me. One of these cats is Coulson.
We had him since he was a baby in 2012. But, in April, we lost him. Not to death but to an open back door. The hazards of having a dog that can open doors, I guess. We tried to be on top of it but clearly, we weren’t for at least a few minutes. Because on April 17th, I was in bed, moments from falling asleep and noticing that Coulson wasn’t on schedule. Normally, by that point, he would have been in bed with me. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t recall seeing him that day. Brian and I tried to remember when exactly we had seen him last. You see this was in the midst of shut down. Brian was furloughed, the kids were home and I could barely keep track of the day. We searched the house and started to realize what we feared was true. Coulson wasn’t in the house.
Of all the cats to get lost, Coulson was the least equipped. He is a shy cat and I just couldn’t imagine how he would react to being outside on his own. I was so worried.
Over the next several days, we did everything we could. We posted everywhere that we could think of. We followed all suggestions (litterbox outside, flashlight walks at night, etc). We made signs. We made waterproof signs after those signs washed away in the rain. We followed lead after lead. They were never him but it was touching how many people tried to help. We even had a literal stake out in a woman’s backyard (with her permission) when she told us that she had an new orange tabby visiting. We also put a trap in her yard but only caught possums. We put traps in our neighborhood but only caught other cats. After one of our traps was destroyed, we gave up on the traps but not on finding Coulson.
As time passed, I was losing hope but not determination. I checked all the facebook groups daily and reposted his post from time to time. I never stopped looking when I was out and about. After awhile, I accepted the fact that he was gone and focused on hoping that he was ok. I hoped that he was with a family who was spoiling him like crazy. I wondered if he missed me but I hoped he was happy.
Then two days before Christmas, eight months later, I went to get my phone off the charger and I see a text from my daughter who was out walking the dog – “I found Coulson.”
I called her and she said she had him and that it must be him because he came right up to her, even with the dog. It was just on the other side of the block. He had come out of a bush when she walked by. I walked over as fast as I could which isn’t very fast per Lizzie’s observation. But, she asked me not to drive because she was afraid that the car would spook him. So, as I come around the curve, I see her holding a cat under her right arm and the dog’s leash in her left hand. If it wasn’t Coulson, she had just found the most patient stray cat ever. 😉
When I got to him, he looked as freaked as I was. I always thought I would know instantly but after so many false leads, I was unsure. Whoever he was, I carried him home and got him into the bathroom where I could sit and stare at him. As time passed and he started to relax, he started to act more like Coulson. And I became more and more optimistic. But, until I could check his chip in the morning, I tried to remain emotionally distant. Yeah, that went really well.
The next morning, I took him to the vet’s office to be scanned for a chip. When she came out with the website info to look it up, I was terrified. I fully expected it to be someone else’s cat and tried to focus on the idea that I helped reunite a cat with his family. But, then to my surprise, I pulled up the info and it was him!
I stared at my phone for a couple of minutes, not trusting my own eyes. Then I called Brian at work and read it to him. I then made him tell me several times that it really was Coulson and that I could really believe it. Finally, I let him get back to work while I cried and nearly squeezed the life out of my prodigal kitty.
It was truly our Christmas miracle and I truly can’t believe he is home. I fantasized about something like this happening but I didn’t really think it would. I guess that’s why it’s called a miracle, huh? ❤️