Kelley J. Leigh

Loud World. Quiet Soul. Listen beyond the noise.

When Cats Disappear

Where I share a quick thought regarding the sad disappearance of Cat who was, after all, just a cat.


Dogs come when they’re called;

cats take a message and get back to you later.
Mary Bly

We only meant to borrow him. Our house had a mouse problem so I asked my friend, Kandi, if we could use one of her young ranch cats for a bit.

That was 6 years ago.

I am not a cat lady, per se. But of our two pets, I did relate more to Cat than Dog. I loved how he only needed us in limited doses. I enjoyed how he slept at the end of my bed and rode my tosses and turns like a blanket surfer.

He killed too many birds and regularly stalked the dog. He chased lego trains and speeding matchbox cars, and occasionally chased his tail as a mistaken enemy. And, when nobody was looking, he routinely tipped over half empty glasses and flower vases. One home video of a black bear digging in our garbage reveals Cat’s small head peering around the corner of the house, observing, always observing at a safe distance. He was the sort that laid trustingly on the floor with his belly up but always kept a cautious eye.

Cat went through a phase when he really hated the third brother and we don’t remember exactly when he dropped the grudge.

Cat also loved to go on trail runs with me and Dog. As soon as he saw us depart toward the forest, he’d run, tail straight up in the air. He’d follow faithfully a dozen paces behind. Which all sounds very endearing, however, once we crossed some invisible cat boundary, usually about a mile away from home, he would stop, look backward, and yowl in protest. I’d try to shoo him home. But inevitably I ended up carrying him back for fear of predatory mountain lions or coyotes. Cat also ran along behind family members on mountain bikes, which was even more awkward and exasperating. Over time, we all learned to search for him and toss him indoors before hitting the trail.

When he disappeared, my husband and two high school sons weren’t too concerned. We stood on the porch and called for Cat. We waited. Days passed and we lost hope. We decided the worst had happened. This morning Steve and I noticed a large grey coyote loping around the neighbor’s bird feeder. The big canine was sleek and clearly well fed. Since another cat is missing from the neighborhood, I think we found the answer to Cat’s disappearance. Not to be too gruesome, but dog has since retrieved certain identifiable Cat parts. We shuddered and buried them.

Closure is good. A gruesome explanation is better than no explanation at all.

I will miss having Cat’s purring sack-of-potato weight by my feet at night, and the way he lounged on the stomachs of my husband and sons. But truthfully, I won’t miss having to carry him back home from the trail.

Adieu, sweet Cat.


Pike National Forest, Colorado
Cat stops on the trail just before we have to turn around and take him home.


4 Replies

  1. Oh, so poignant & funny! Autumn’s cat Shadow also chases her up the trail for her runs…then also stops at some point & yowls. Weirdness!

    1. Teri! So wierd. Makes me wonder if our cats ever bumped into each other. : )

  2. I’ll go out on a limb and agree that he was a cat-friend of yours! As much as we can tell with cats … oxox

  3. Joann Gay

    What a great composite description–personality exuding in the text. He was a great cat–a friend of mine. (I think)

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