**I don't know why this is showing up as a recent post, when it happened nearly two years ago.**
Not the first time that I've typed those words in the years I've been writing on this blog.
We have been caring for this girl for ten months.
Her owner has been away, staying with her daughter in an attempt to regain her health. We offered to care for her two cats (Padma and her daughter Walli) so that they wouldn't be boarded for two solid months (which was the original time frame for her being gone), and agreed to watch after the property. We figured 'no big deal', but the time was extended over and over again, until it reached nearly a year.
And during that year a lot happened. A lot.
Not long after our neighbor first left, we had one of the worst fall storms that we've seen in quite a few years. The owner had told us that we were not to let the cats in under any circumstances. The fear was that they might 'break' something in a house full of knick knacks. They were always allowed outside during the daytime, but were always in at night. Sadly, that was not to be the case for the time we were watching them.
There are buildings on the property, a barn, and a green house, but still, the weather was pretty harsh for these cats to be subjected to. And Walli would often cry and paw at the front door wanting in so desperately that it broke my heart. To top it off, Padma was the dominant cat (and always chasing or slapping at Walli), and Walli wasn't very well socialized, which made for a difficult situation.
I attract cats (people jokingly call me the cat whisperer), but it was difficult for me to even get close enough to touch Walli. She didn't know me, or trust me enough to come to me the night of the storm. She hid underneath the car and wouldn't come out. Had I been able to get a hold of her, I would have put both of them inside regardless of what we had been told.
The next day Walli was gone, and we never saw her again.
During the months to follow, we finally got permission to try and find Padma a home. We didn't feel that the little time we could spend with her each day was enough, and she deserved a family of her own that would be there and take care of her like she deserved.
We bonded with her, and her with us (she particularly loved my husband) and we tried to work her into our household. It's possible given more time we could have done it, but that was all taken away.
We held off finding Paddy a home because we had been told that the owner might be placed in an assisted living that would allow her to have the cat. We felt that would be best for her, and for Padma, so we put our attempts on hold.
Wrong move. Such a wrong move. And in hindsight it's one of our biggest regrets.
Last week the owner, daughter, and her husband showed up. We got to see Padma for a few minutes last Wednesday at her own house. She then followed us home and stayed with us here for about half an hour before I walked her back to the end of her driveway.
I wish I had never done that. Walked her back. Not that she wouldn't have eventually wandered back home on her own, but I wish I hadn't been a part of it.
On Friday I got a call from the daughter asking if we had seen Padma. She went missing on Wednesday night. Had they called us then, we might have been able to find her. She was used to us, not to them.
They hadn't bothered to try and bring her inside the house, and then on Thursday and Friday, they had a crew of people out to clean up the property, using loud equipment, chainsaws, weed whackers and the like.
Padma got scared and ran.
They tried to tell us that they thought she was sick and had gone away to die, but that cat wasn't sick when we had seen her on Wednesday evening. She was her usual self. And whether or not the daughter convinced the owner of that, or she convinced herself, that was what they decided had happened.
We know that what actually happened was that they hadn't bothered to take her inside. That she became scared by all of the activity at her usually quiet house. That she did the only thing she could do. She ran.
She was spotted crossing a neighbors field, and another neighbor saw her a couple of times. Others thought they might have seen her.
They never made any moves to look for her.
They left not too long after that. Leaving us heart broken, and Padma out there, somewhere.
17 hours ago