I am the proud owner of two adorable tortoiseshell cats who have plenty of tortitude to show for it. They are my kids, and when people ask me about them, they are immediately bombarded with stories, pictures, and even videos. You could say I am obsessed with my furry kids. They are perfect in every way, and as far as cats go, I could not ask for a better set.
What my pretty little girls don’t know is that there was a kitty in my life before them. She was my best friend, and her little shoulder was mine to cry on. Her name was Chuck Norris, and she ran away.
Chuck was from our local shelter, and as soon as I saw her, afraid in the back of her cage, I knew I had to have her. The information on her cage made my heart break even more. She had been at the shelter the longest, and she would be put to sleep if she was there much longer. I knew I needed to save her! She was classified as an indoor-cat only. I did the paperwork and came back the next day to pick her up. She was all mine.
I was living all on my own for the first time, and Chuck made my house a home. She was with me during my heartbreaks, my lonely nights, and my triumphs. She cuddled with me every night and was sitting on the windowsill waiting for me when I got home from work. She was just perfect. Then one day she was gone, and my heart was broken.
I still look back at the day I adopted her and had thought how perfect she would be for me, since she was an indoor cat and I lived in an upstairs apartment. However, shortly after I brought her home, I found that she was not a strictly indoor cat. She was constantly pawing at the door and trying to escape every chance she got. She was clearly an outdoor cat or indoor/outdoor cat and really wanted out. I tried to accommodate her and tried a cat leash. I bought her anything and everything I thought would make her a happy indoor cat, but she always seemed to want her outside time. And I just wasn’t comfortable with her having outside time.
Well, one day she slipped out somehow, and she never returned to me. I think I was bringing in groceries or sweeping some dirt outside. Whatever it was I was doing, her escape was my fault. I did not live in a big apartment, so my search for her inside did not take long. I panicked and went outside to search. I looked for hours and hours. I was looking and crying at the same time. The sun set and then it was far too dark to look for her.
I made missing flyers and placed them all over my apartment complex. I called all the shelters to see if she had been brought in and scanned. I put lost ads in the newspapers. I did just about everything I could to find her. I looked every morning before work and then after work until dark. Every night I would cry and wake up throughout the night to look out the window. What started as days missing turned into weeks, then months, and now years.
I still think about Chuck all the time. I have moved from where she went missing because of work, but I still check the weather in the area to make sure she is warm. When I really get to thinking about her, like now, I cry. My husband thinks I am crazy for still getting so worked up after all this time, but the subject really does break my heart. I always wonder if she was scared or happy after her ultimate escape. I wonder if she found a group of other cats or if she was a loner. I even wonder if she became another human’s cat or a community cat, where multiple people take care of her in a neighborhood.
At this point, I even have to wonder if she is still even alive anymore, which really makes me cry. She was my absolute best friend, and I loved her with all my heart. I feel so terrible for allowing her to get out of the apartment. There are so many things I wish I could have done to prevent it. I was a young and dumb cat owner. She will always have a special place in my heart for her, and I think I will always tear up when I think about her.
I love you, Chuck … wherever you are.
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