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White Shoes

Please read the whole story below. If you're just coming back for updates, you can click on the following links to take you directly to those updates. Thanks.

Update on 3/25/14

Update on 4/8/14

Update on 4/18/14

Update on 4/20/14


Hi Darryl,

She's been calling. Would you like to reach out to her? Her email’s below. Thanks.

Nate
KZST Radio

From: "Diane Tulley"
Date: January 28, 2014 at 10:52:14 AM PST
To:
Subject: cat reference

Hi--

Last week, my friend heard you talking about an organization that matches senior/special need cats with seniors. She thought they were called something like KATS or CATS or CADS. I need to contact them, and cannot seem to get their correct name or phone number. Could you please call or email me the information? My name is Diane, phone --- --- -----. Many thanks!!

hi diane,

i'm the executive director of SNAP Cats, a local rescue and sanctuary for special needs cats. i'm the one that was on the radio last weekend. i'll be in my office later today after 3pm to answer any questions you have. thanks.

darryl
snapcats.org

Hi--

Thank you for responding to my inquiry. I have a great cat named White Shoes, 8 years and 8 months-old, with "megacolon", a condition that can back up his bowels and make him fatally constipated. As long as he has ongoing medicines and the right food, he has a normal life span.

Here’s our history:

My partner, David, and I moved up to Anderson Springs (near Middletown CA) in February, 2003. We brought up our family of three cats, Razz, Lila, and her brother, Lancelot (all indoor cats).

A couple of years later, I found a mother cat and her two half-grown kittens. We started feeding them outside, which also brought along an adult cat, whom we called Black Silk. All of them got pregnant before we could catch and fix them.

We were now feeding four adults and all their kittens. We eventually enclosed our downstairs patio and started feeding them down there. We were able to trap and fix all of them and socialize most of them.

White Shoes, and most of his litter mates and cousins, survived a house fire in 2007. We lost one kitty to the fire, but the rest escaped (we were able to catch a few before the firemen forced us out). It took 22 days of Hell to trap all those who escaped.

White Shoes has burned ear tips (as do several of the others) but is otherwise great. We eventually had to isolate him because he bullied all the other indoor kitties.

White Shoes has had health issues for the last couple of years, becoming extremely constipated, which required vet help. He is now on a medical regime of Cisipride and Lactulose, plus Science Diet W/D wet food (as required by the vet). He’s mostly isolated in the master bathroom as he still bullies the other cats and goes after their food. And I cannot trust him in the kitchen. He tries to go after anything edible.

I can't keep White Shoes anymore. My partner Dave passed away a few months ago. His loss of income means I MUST get a roommate to keep my house and allow me to continue to keep the kitties I have. White Shoes is in the bedroom that will be used for my new roommate, and there’s no other room for him.

White Shoes is extremely affectionate, and loves to head-butt against me and sleep on my lap. He needs someone who does not have other pets, who could keep him inside (and preferably out of the kitchen), has a little money for his needs (he costs about $3.50 a day) and lots of love for him.

Thank you for the work you do. I am so grateful to have some hope for White Shoes. I have been calling every agency I could find for months without luck and am fortunate that my friend heard about SNAP Cats last week on the radio.

Please let me know what’s possible. I’m running out of time and money and must get my house ready for a roommate. I’ve attached a picture of White Shoes.

Many thanks, Diane

I called Diane the next day and told her I’d take White Shoes. She would bring him to me tomorrow.

This was a tough but right decision to make. Not tough because I was saving the life of a cat. White Shoes would be euthanized (killed) at any shelter he was surrendered to because of his megacolon (deeming him unadoptable). Tough because I’d have two cats in my house, White Shoes and my cat, D.J., who do not tolerate other cats. It was the right decision because White Shoes deserves a chance at a good life after surviving such a tough past. I told myself that I’d make it work. I had to. If I couldn’t, there would be no future for White Shoes.

Tomorrow came. Diane brought White Shoes to my house. I made his temporary home in my large bathroom. I opened a deep cupboard and placed blankets inside. Diane brought his favorite bed which went inside as well. I “borrowed” some of D.J.’s toys. Honestly, D.J. had stopped playing with these toys years ago, but I kept them around because, well, it made me feel like I was a good dad. Diane was bringing a week’s worth of White Shoes' meds, and luckily I had a case of prescription diet wet food (Hill’s w/d) that had been donated.

We both sat on the bathroom floor. Diane opened the carrier and encouraged White Shoes to come out. It took about five minutes, but eventually he did. White Shoes was a stunning cat. The picture Diane emailed me did not do him any justice. At all. He was sleek and graceful. His markings more leopard-like than tabby. White Shoes didn’t walk; he pranced; he glided, as if on air. His ears were not only tinged from the fire, but cauliflowered from previous infections or trauma (or both). Still, White Shoes was a beautiful, beautiful cat.

White Shoes brushed up against Diane, occasionally head-butting, but always keeping her between me and him. If I tried to touch him he’d dart away. He had a great bond with Diane, but didn’t want anything to do with me. As we sat on the floor, Diane explained about White Shoes’ food-obsession. He’ll do everything and anything to get to food. Once White Shoes was out of the bathroom, I’d have to hide all food, cat and human, in child-proof cupboards, drawers, etc, or he’d eat it. Diane explained he was fed twice daily, with his medicines in the food. You didn’t even need to crush or grind-up his pills. He ate so voraciously he barely chewed.

I’m not a big fan of scheduled feedings for cats. It’s not good for their digestive system nor for their mental wellbeing. Cats instinctively nibble 9 to 15 times a day, and when that’s interrupted, they respond with aggression, either toward other cats, humans or the environment (or all three). This may be why White Shoes is so food driven. Maybe.

I gave Diane some alone time to say goodbye. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for me to have to give up D.J. I always say that I’d never do it. But that’s what everyone says. Then reality steps in and says, “sorry, no choice.” Even though she was very upset, I could tell Diane felt comfortable leaving White Shoes with me. That made me feel better.

Hi, Darryl--

It was such a pleasure (and relief!) to meet you today. I know that White Shoes is in very good hands, and that if anyone can find him the right home, it's you. I'm really glad I persisted in finding him the right place.

Bless you for all you do. I plan on contributing to your cause as I can in the future, and will invite all my friends to visit your website in the hopes that one of your kitties will be a fit for them.

You're right, that picture of White Shoes doesn't do him justice at all! I will sleep better tonight knowing that White Shoes is with you. -- Diane

This was our routine: Every-other hour during the day, I took my laptop into the bathroom, sat on the floor, softly talked to White Shoes, gave him the “there’s nothing to be afraid of/I love you” slow eye blinks, and waited for him to return the blinks. White Shoes was so nervous he didn’t blink at all (that I saw). He wasn’t hiding in his favorite bed, either. Instead, he found the farthest corner in the cupboard and shrank into it. This was a very, very scared cat. Occasionally I’d try moving a bit closer. He’d shrink even more. If I slowly reached toward him he’d hiss. Unless I had his food bowl. When I had his food bowl he’d stare at my hand, wide eyed and frozen. He was so still. Watching me ever-so closely. He was so afraid that my hand was so close to him. After I carefully placed his food right in front of him, he continued staring at me. His eyes never leaving mine. He never blinked. And he wouldn’t eat while I was in the bathroom. I’d have to leave. Standing outside the door I could hear him attacking the bowl like he hadn’t eaten in weeks. When he was done, I would reenter the bathroom, very slowly and carefully take the bowl back, sit across from him, talk to him softly, and slowly blink.

If you read my story about Jingles (in Darryl’s Den), you know that I have extreme patience when dealing with scared cats. It took me three months to win Jingles over. It had only been two days with White Shoes. I was planning on at least a month, maybe six weeks, of White Shoes and I staring each other down. Maybe longer. This cat had a traumatic history. Who knows what he thinks. Or feels. Or trusts. Or doesn’t.

On the second night, I brought his food in. His demeanor was a little different. He wasn’t as far back in the cupboard as usual. So I showed him I had his food, very slowly reached in and put it in front of him. Something in his eyes told me to leave my hand on the bowl for just a few seconds before letting go. They were less tense. Less scared. So I did. I placed the bowl in front of White Shoes and I left my hand on the bowl for just a few seconds. It seemed like an hour. But it was really only just a few seconds. During that fraction of time I thought to myself: either my hand is gonna come back a bloody mess, or…

As I let go of the bowl, White Shoes leaned forward and gently rubbed-up against my hand. Then, he started eating.

At that moment I knew everything between us was going to be just fine.

I sat back and watched, trying not to move or scare him (or cry). He ate voraciously. Like a kitty vacuum cleaner. When done, he raised his head and stared at me. I softly asked him to come out and say hi. For about a minute we stared each other down, me slowly blinking. Then, in a moment I’ll never forget, White Shoes returned the blink. With some more encouragement, he cautiously moved to the front of the cupboard, paused, looked at me one last time, then jumped to the floor. He took slow, calculated steps toward me, stopped, then rubbed up against leg. I slowly reached out to pet him. He startled a bit, but then leaned into my hand. We spent the next half hour petting and rubbing. Then, White Shoes climbed in my lap and went to sleep.

Now I cried.

White Shoes woke me up the next morning. He was meowing very loudly. At first I thought something was wrong so I took a quick look in the bathroom. He was fine. Just HUNGRY.

The clinking of the spoon against the bowls while preparing breakfast made the screaming even louder. I fed D.J. (who seemed oblivious to White Shoes screaming… lucky him), then went to the bathroom. As I opened the door, White Shoes was spinning in circles screaming. He was so excited. As I reached down and he was literally attacking the bowl before it hit the floor. Why was he like this? What causes a cat to react this way with food? And he snorted while he ate. Loudly. It sounded like congestion. He was thin. Could be sick. Could be hyperthyroid (and a cold). Regardless, this food thing is going to be a challenge until we can test for disease. I needed more info from Diane.

diane,

quick question: do you remember when white shoes became so food obsessed? his medical records indicate that before he was diagnosed with megacolon he wasn't eating regularly. was it after his medical stay at the vet's? i've never seen a cat so food-obsessed, and am trying to figure out how to ease this obsession. also, he doesn’t seem to drink much water. thanks.

darryl
snapcats.org

Hi, Darryl--

Last year, when he wasn't eating right, I took him to the vets for the second time. That’s when he was diagnosed with megacolon. We changed his diet (to w/d) and added the meds. After that, he gradually became more demanding for food (and love). That was also when I had to completely isolate him into the master bathroom since he wasn't allowed to eat anything but the w/d.

White Shoes was allowed back into the main part of the house a couple of months ago after I put the other kitties outside. He tried to get into the food cupboards and garbage, had to cat-proof everything. I eventually had to restrict him to the master bath unless I was home as he was a terror in the kitchen. He once ate two English muffins! And no, he doesn’t drink a lot of water. -- Diane

His “food dance” (out-of-control spinning), as I called it, continued with every meal. I started feeding him every three hours – big portions with his meds in the morning and at night, and smaller portions throughout the day, to see if more food calmed him down. It did not. I managed to weigh him. He weighed 8 pounds, 14.5 ounces. Before his medical problems he was more than 14 pounds. Something was definitely wrong. I talked to our vet, Ben Baldwin, and we agreed once White Shoes was acclimated to the bathroom I’d bring him in for a exam and blood draw for Chem 25/T4 (organ and thyroid) numbers. This would probably be in a week or so.

In the mean time, White Shoes and I were becoming great friends. He became more and more trusting, and, as Diane said, more demanding for attention. He acclimated to the bathroom after a week. So I made a big decision: I would let White Shoes and D.J. see each other, at a distance. I wanted to make sure each knew that the “other” cat was on the other side of the bathroom door so they’d sniff around and get used to each other’s smell. This would hopefully minimize the “trauma” when they’d eventually meet.

D.J. doesn’t attack other cats. He approaches them, sits about two feet away, then sings the song of his people. He only hisses or attacks if provoked. His “tactic” is to let the intruder know that this (our house and property) is HIS space. Period. White Shoes, on the other hand, physically attacks other cats. Just before Diane brought him to me, he attacked another cat. Both tumbled down Diane’s stairs, fighting the whole way down. Diane was sure both were dead at the bottom. But, the cat being attacked by White Shoes released and ran away. White Shoes started after, but then stopped. He had won.

The first opportunity to introduce them was a mistake. My mistake. White Shoes and I were in the bathroom. As I opened the door to leave, he REALLY wanted to come with. So, without thinking, I let him. It was noon, D.J. was more than likely sleeping in my bedroom (as usual), so nothing to worry about. Right?

White Shoes darted out, then stopped. D.J. was two feet outside the door. Both stared at one another, bodies frozen. D.J. growled and moaned, but did not charge. He seemed more puzzled than angry. Both just stared at each other, tails puffed, ready to attack. Then, just as I was about to grab a towel, White Shoes relaxed, swished his tail, turned and went back into the bathroom. Needless to say, I quickly closed the bathroom door. Phew! I watched D.J. for a few seconds. He didn’t seem upset. He stared at the bathroom door. Then turned an walked away. Interesting. This is good. Not the way it happened. But what happened. Yes, this is very good. This could work.

The day came to take White Shoes in for his exam and blood draw. I thought it might be a big deal to get him back in the carrier. I opened the door. He walked right in. Okay.

At Dr. Baldwin’s, we talked about the tests and the results. If it is disease, hyperthyroid would be the best result. It’s easy and inexpensive to manage. What we didn’t want to see is numbers indicating a tumor or lymph problems. That would be a death sentence. The fact that we wasn’t drinking much water was a good sign it wasn’t renal failure. Dr. Baldwin gave White Shoes a thorough exam, and the only problem was an ear infection. (I had treated him for ear mites a week ago, and the treatment was successful.) We sedated him to draw blood, which also included FIV and FeLV tests (which I would do in-house).

After the visit, I posted this on Facebook:

We drew blood today for a chem. 25/T4 test and FIV/FeLV test. White Shoes tested negative for both FIV & FeLV, and we'll get the results of the chem. 25/T4 test tomorrow. The chem. 25/T4 test is to determine why he has such a huge appetite but is not gaining (losing a little bit) of weight. I know this sounds weird, but the best case scenario is that he has hyperthyroid. It's a very easily managed condition. If it's not hyperthyroid and nothing else jumps out, it's something more serious, like a tumor. I get the test results back tomorrow at 10am. I'll post the results.

Testing negative on FIV and FeLV was a big relief. Not only for White Shoes’ health, but I could now start introducing him to D.J. That night, while D.J. slept in my bedroom, I let White Shoes out to sit in my lap as I watched Olympic hockey (I’m a huge hockey fan!). He was such a sweet cat for the few minutes that he calmed down. I hope this will be the norm after tomorrow.

Usually I call Dr. Baldwin for lab results. But I wanted to get the results in person just in case we needed to talk about end of life care. So I went to his clinic at 10am to see the results.

I posted this on Facebook:

White Shoes' lab numbers came back. Everything looks good. He does not have hyperthyroid, and his all of his organs are in good shape.

Over the next few days, while D.J slept in my bedroom, I let White Shoes explore the house. There’s nothing like watching a cat explore a new environment. The smallest things seem to freak them out, while the big “finds” garner no reaction. Although he did stare-down my garbage can (with swinging lid) for 10 mins: What it that thing? And it moves.

On February 23rd I posted this on Facebook:

White Shoes Update: White Shoes has settled in and is really enjoying his new digs. He's been "regular" on his meds and prescription food, and is now in the process of making friends with my cat, D.J. (it’s gonna be a long process!). White Shoes still needs a permanent home with an experienced adopter, preferably where he's the only cat. He is very vocal, so apartment/condo life may not be the best situation. Please email me if you're interested in White Shoes. Thanks.

What I didn’t post is that White Shoes was tearing my house apart looking for food. He was on every counter, pawing at every cupboard. He tried to eat through sealed bags of kibble. Diane didn’t exaggerate. I had to hide anything and everything edible. I had to make sure there were no food particles on dishes. I had to hide my fry pan inside the oven so he couldn’t lick the grease. (I forgot once and after coming home noticed he had a greasy streak from the top of his forehead down the back of his neck. Yep, he had dove into the fry pan!).

Every time I moved toward the kitchen he ran alongside me to see if I was going for or had food. When feeding time came, he jumped on the counter and tried to eat the food out of the can before I put it in the bowl, so I had to lock him in the bathroom to get his food ready. I felt really sorry for him. Imagine feeling hungry all of the time, and not knowing (or thinking) that there will be another meal. And relying on a new stranger to regulate your life. This was going to be very tough.

The introduction process, however, was going well. If I was home, I could now leave D.J. and White Shoes out together without worrying. D.J.’s sleeping habits made that easy. He sleeps in my bedroom until about 3pm, then comes into my office and sleeps on my shoulder (he’s a 10 pound cat!) for about 15 mins, then sleeps on my desk until 6pm.

White Shoes had no interest in my bedroom. He was more interested in finding food. Even though I had hidden everything, he still jumped on counters and tried to open cupboards. If he heard me coming he knew to get off the counter, but that only lasted until I disappeared. Then he jumped back up and continued to forage.

diane,

white shoes is doing great! what a sweet kitty. he totally trusts me now and has run of the house. he's been pooping two to three times a day (i feed him a good-size meal in the morning, then four to five small meals throughout the day, then a good-size meal at night). this seems to work well and keeps his system moving.

i had the chance to thoroughly read through his medical records and want to thank you very much for spending all of that time and money helping him. many people would've just given up. you're a special person for taking care of him the way you did for so long. and I know he appreciates it.

darryl
snapcats.org

As I watched him scavenge one evening it dawned on me that I hadn’t tried free-feeding him (prescription kibble). I wasn’t sure, though, if that was possible since he drinks so little (if any) water. But it could also be possible that he wasn’t drinking a lot of water because he was getting so much water from the wet food. Or it could be he just doesn’t drink a lot of water. I’d ask Dr. Baldwin his opinion.

On February 25th I posted this on Facebook:

I’m going to start free-feeding White Shoes prescription kibble to see if his food obsession is psychological. I’ll watch him closely to make sure he drinks more water. If not, we’ll have to discontinue the free-feeding as he’ll get constipated quickly.

I placed three huge bowls of prescription high-fiber (Purina OM) kibble throughout my house. He immediately attacked the closest, and ate for 10 mins. (He got so tired of standing while eating that he actually laid down so he could continue!) Then, just when I thought he’d explode, he got up and walked away. There was a lot of food left in the bowl. He was probably going to the next bowl to “claim” it. Instead, he went to a water bowl and started drinking. And drinking. And drinking. Then, belly full, he climbed atop his favorite cat tree and fell asleep.

I waited a few minutes. It couldn’t be that easy. I walked into the kitchen. This should send him screaming and chasing me. He never moved from his tree. I clanged a bowl and spoon together. Nothing. Huh. Interesting.

After six hours of free-feeding, SIX HOURS, I posted this on Facebook:

The cat who, from the moment he entered my house, did nothing but scavenge for food; who jumped on every counter; who tried to open every cupboard; who tried to chew through every sealed bag of kibble; who tried to knock-over every trash basket for scraps; who followed me 24/7 screaming he was starving… That cat is gone. There’s a new cat living here now. A cat who, by simply free-feeding, sat in the middle of my kitchen floor tonight, watched me cook my dinner, then, as if bored, turned and walked away. Yes. Walked away.

Sometimes answers are pretty simple.

As I write this, D.J. is sleeping atop my desk, White Shoes under my desk. White Shoes no longer scavenges for food. He no longer screams to be fed. White Shoes is a normal, balanced cat now. He’s doing great on his meds. White Shoes and D.J. are getting along just fine (see bottom picture below). And I plan on adopting White Shoes very soon.

I’ll keep you updated. Thanks for reading this story.

MORE PICTURES


(the two cats that "hate" other cats - White Shoes in the foreground, D.J. in the shadows)


3/25/14: White Shoes Update: Well, White Shoes finally (unfortunately) figured out the cat door. I know that sounds like an easy “solve” but I had to build a special door because I’m on the second floor with only sash windows and no balcony under the windows. So I built a platform that balances on the window ledge, which comes in a foot and goes out a foot. (see pictures below)

This is the inside. The wider left portion of the cat door (under the sash) is a solid piece of tinted glass. The thinner right side is the flap to go in and out. The platform is all one piece of plywood, cut exactly the size and shape I needed. I didn't want to join two or three pieces of plywood together in fear of them coming apart. (The indoor/outdoor carpet is cut into three pieces). The inside is balanced on my floor wine rack below it. Except for the hose clamps outside, that secure it to the railing, nothing is physically attached to the house.

This is the outside. I put a wall around it for obvious reasons. The outside portion of the platform is balanced on the window ledge with little "feet."

This the "runway" view of entering and exiting. There is a little ledge so they don't have to jump too far down. And yes, that's a sign telling delieveries not to leave packages on the ledge.

Before White Shoes figured out the door, he’d watch D.J. jump on the ledge and then disappear out the window. White Shoes would jump up on the ledge and look and sniff around like "where did he go?" Then he'd give up.

When I leave my house I always place a clear piece of plexiglass (same size as flap) in front of the flap to “lock” it so White Shoes can’t get out (just in case). Well, I went out last week and forgot to "lock" the cat door. When I came home he wasn't in the house. Noticing the open cat door I panicked. Just as I was about to go out he suddenly appeared atop the air conditioner outside. (To see where that is look closely at the pictures above. SCARY!). This scared the shit outta me. When he saw me inside a look of panic took hold of him. I thought for sure he'd fall or jump the wrong way. But he jumped to the platform and took off down the stairs. Now I thought he'd run away. But after I went down the stairs, calling his name, I found him sitting around the corner of the house about 10 feet away, meowing as if he was lost. I cautiously went to pick him up and he suddenly bolted up the stairs and through the cat door back inside. Phew!

Being outside must’ve been like a whole new world for him. So White Shoes has to learn that I'm friends with him outside as well as inside. I'm going to work with him this week to see if he'll relax outside with me and D.J. I don't plan on letting him go in and out as he wants, but I'd like to know that if he gets out (by accident) when I'm not home he'll be okay (he obviously knows how to get back inside!). And, when the weather gets nice in a month or so, I like to sit outside in the early evening with a glass of good wine. I'd be nice to have White Shoes there with me and D.J. Anyway, every day a new adventure.


4/8/14: White Shoes Update:

Now that White Shoes has really settled in and become very comfortable, he’s been displaying what I call the Michael Jackson Syndrome – he didn’t have much of a childhood (kitten-hood) so now he’s making-up for it. Please, this is no reflection on his previous owner. Diane did a wonderful job with White Shoes, spent a lot of money on his condition, and raised White Shoes along with a houseful of other ferals/kittens. She's responsible for keeping him alive, and the reason I have the chance to be apart of his life.

Anyway, I have a 9 year-old, 12 lb. cat who thinks he's a kitten. Here's some examples:

  • White Shoes chases his own tail
  • White shoes attacks anything that moves under the bed covers
  • White Shoes has running fits throughout my house
  • White Shoes thinks walking on my keyboard is “fun”
  • White Shoes stares at the T.V. for hours when I play the “Cats Dream” video of birds and mice and other little critters (my cat, D.J. looks at me like, “Really?”)
  • White Shoes is constantly under my feet
  • Do I mind? Hell no. It's the cutest thing... except when he bites through the covers. Then it's definitely time to get up!

    Oh, I forgot to mention, on March 23, 2014, I officially adopted White Shoes.


    4/18/14: White Shoes Update:

    This is how I work now... every day! (and it's fine by me)


    4/20/14: White Shoes Update:

    We had a little scare these past few days. On Sunday night (Easter) White Shoes went out for his usual after dinner jaunt around the outside of my house. Usually I let him wander a bit, then I call for him before I go to bed. He always comes running up the stairs like being chased by a demon, flying through the cat door as if being bitten on the ass. He makes such a commotion that I think the stairs will collapse.

    Well, Sunday night he was nowehere to be seen. Or heard. Sometimes it takes him a little while to "hear" me, so I waited another half hour and... nothing. I went out and walked around my place calling for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. I decided to go to bed, thinking he'd come in when he wanted. Well, the next morning, he was still missing.

    I started to panic. He was still not responding to my calls. He had been using the cat door to go in and out by himself for a couple of weeks with no problem. He usually never went very far and always came when I called. I remembered that about two weeks ago I made the mistake of leaving some trash outside, not in the covered garbage can. The next morning it had been torn apart by (what looked like to me) Coyotes. There are no dogs near my place at night, and Coyotes will mark their area with poop.

    So now I'm very worried. With the drought, I'm sure Coyotes (and other animals) are coming down from the hills looking for water. I've heard Coyotes howling this spring, but have never seen one this far down the hill.

    First thing I do is call the new Healdsburg Shelter to see if anyone had turned in a stray cat. Nope. I call County, but they're closed for the day. I decide to make a flyer with his picture and my info. There aren't many houses in the area, but I leave a flyer in the mailboxes of anyone close.

    Then I hope the phone rings with: "I have your cat."

    I feel so helpless. I feel that somehow I've let him down; that I've let Diane (his former mom) down. I can't concentrate. I can't focus on anything else. I feel like one of Dali's lifeless, hollow souls depicted in his paintings. Time seems to stand still. An hour seems like a month. I go outside and call for him every half hour. Nothing. I make a decision that I've been putting off because I'm afraid of what I'll find.

    I make long, the dreaded walk down to Dry Creek Road. It's about 1/4 mile from my house. I call for him as I go. As I near the road my heart and head don't want to see if he's lying in the road. This would kill me. I don't think he'd come down this far, but...

    He's not here. Thank God (and I'm an Atheist!).

    All day, and into the evening I call for him. I rattle a spoon agaist a food bowl hoping that the sound, which usually sends him into a feed fury dance (yes, still), will find him and bring him home. Nothing.

    I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight. I know it.

    In bed I stare at the clock. It doesn't (seem to) move. I hear something. No. Not him. I close my eyes.

    The clock says 3:34am. I can't tell if I've slept or not. Doesn't seem like it. I just stare up at the ceiling. Silence. The... THUD thud... comes from the living room. Did I really hear that? Because that's the sound White Shoes makes when he comes in the cat door and jumps to the floor. D.J. doesn't make that sound because he's much lighter. Was that really what I heard? I listen very carefully. Nothing. Silence. Then... CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH... from the kibble bowl just outside my bedroom door. That sounds like White Shoes eating. He has a distinct sound, trust me. I slowly get up, turn on my table lamp, move toward the bedroom door, slowly peek out...

    It's White Shoes, scarfing-up food as if he hasn't eaten since Sunday night (and probably hadn't). He looks at me like, "Yeah, I'm back, I'm hungry" then continues to eat. I had a few expletives floating around in my head, but instead I pick him up, hug, kiss him, then put him back down so he can eat. He doesn't understand what he put me through. He was just probably (hopefully) having fun.

    I call him into the kitchen, get him some of his favorite wet food (with his meds which he's been without for 36 hours), and smile as I watch him attack it. Yeap, there's that sound he makes.

    White Shoes slept next to me, on my pillow, the whole night, and hasn't left my side the whole day. Maybe he does know what he did made me worry so much. Or maybe he just missed his dad a little too much.

    SNAP Cats