Opinion: I'm starting to forget my lost cat: Am I betraying her?

Richa Khare

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Oreo, you'll always be in my heartPhoto by Author

Last year I took in three kittens abandoned by their mother at birth. What was just a temporary arrangement soon became permanent when we all became too attached to the kittens. I decided to adopt all three. My daughter named them Cookie, Brownie and Oreo. They were very happy and comfortable with each other.

The whole day went by just watching their shenanigans. They turned out to be very well behaved cats with no biting, scratching or damaging anything. After a year, I decided to give them away for adoption, but in a story of true love and sheer perseverance, they made me change the decision.

Since then, I and my kids became more attached to the three cats. This year we shifted to a new and bigger house. But the walls of the backyard were low and my cats tasted freedom at last when they were able to go outside on their own.

Every day they went outside in the evening and after some time used to come back. I put a collar on each so that everyone knows they are pets and not strays. Because sometimes, small children take in stray cats as their pets.

Oreo goes missing

One day, Oreo didn’t come back till late at night. I waited for her, then opened a window for her to come in. In the morning when I got up, Oreo hadn’t come back. Thinking that she might’ve again gone out after coming back at night I didn’t worry much.

But the whole day went by and Oreo didn’t return. Now I got worried. This had happened for the first time. I decided to go out to look for her. After searching in my compound for an hour, I couldn’t find her. Cookie and Brownie were at home the whole time. How I wished cats could talk! Maybe they could’ve told me something.

My husband said not to worry and maybe Oreo will be back the next day. Cats do go on their own and return back after a few days. The internet was full of such stories. I don’t know why, nothing could give me relief at that time. Something in my heart was telling me quietly that I’d lost her forever.

Finding Oreo

The next few days went by in a blur. I posted her pictures in all the social network groups. I enquired with all my neighbours and even checked the CCTV footage of my compound. But nothing showed up.

I wanted to put up posters for her, but the country I live in presently has strict laws against putting up any promotions. I tried to get special permission but was denied.

The days went by but no Oreo. Occasionally, someone would contact me claiming they’ve found Oreo. Each time, my hope soon changed into disappointment when I found that the cat isn’t Oreo. It was as if she had vanished off the face of the earth.

Small children and adults alike in my compound were searching for her calling out Oreo. It was so heartwarming to see complete strangers stopping me on my way and telling me that they are searching for Oreo and I shouldn’t lose hope.

No news of Oreo

Slowly, days changed into weeks and weeks into months. When the thought started to sink in finally after a week that maybe we’ll never find Oreo again, I experienced a pain like nothing I had before.

It was like a physical pain ready to tear my heart apart. Whenever I closed my eyes to sleep, I just saw her crying for help. I was sure that she’s in some trouble and needs me. And I wasn’t able to help her, this thought filled me with anger and desperation. I felt as if I was betraying her and wasn’t doing enough to find her.

I couldn’t sleep for many nights. If at all I fell asleep, I used to get up in the middle of the night thinking Oreo is calling. I hurried and opened the doors to check for her. But every time same disappointment.

The effect of Oreo’s departure

Oreo’s departure brought out a drastic change in my other two cats’ personalities. Earlier all three used to chase each other without looking where they were going. They used to get a lot of scolding from me because of this. But after Oreo left, they stopped this game.

They even became more silent. No more begging for pets or food. Now I rarely hear any meows when earlier all three used to eat our heads with their meows. It’s as if the life of our house is gone along with Oreo.

Time heals everything

But slowly, this pain subsided. As they say, time is the biggest healer, after two months of her disappearance I’ve finally started to forget her. Now I don’t continuously think about her and sometimes even a full day goes by without her thought.

Now another feeling has replaced my pain. I’m aware that I’m forgetting Oreo and this thought is bothering me. I think as if I’m betraying her by forgetting her. She might still be in some trouble and searching for her home. She might be lost and struggling to keep alive.

My only wish is that she’s alive and have found a loving and caring home. Or she might find her way back and come to her forever home with us. Till then I’ll be struggling with my emotions. Every day I get up with the new hope of her returning back. Maybe one day.

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A passionate storyteller who can't wait to form an emotional and friendly bond with my readers. I love to write about travel, health, pets and feminism.

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