|A tribute to
This tribute page is way for me to,
hopefully, come to terms with my grief. This has been just
about the worst week of my life.
|Baby Boy is a domestic
shorthair male. He's a "tuxedo" cat.
He is mostly black, with white paws and a white belly.
I think he's very handsome!
|Immediately, before I became
attached to Baby Boy, something I knew would probably happen soon, I
made an effort to look for Baby Boy's owner myself. Baby Boy
obviously belonged to someone... he looked well fed, and although he
was timid, he clearly wasn't a wild stray.
For several weeks I regularly checked the lost and found section on Craig'sList. I also rode my bicycle all over the neighborhood, looking for LOST CAT flyers. I asked as many people in the condos where I lived if they new who the cat belonged to.
No luck at all. Nothing.
Soon after that, I suppose he officially became my cat... at least for now. And yes, I quickly fell in love with him. Again, he's a very sweet and lovable cat. At the time he was about a year old, from what I was told.
The first few days I had him he preferred to sit and hide behind my bookshelf most of the time. Understandable...he didn't know me and the past three or four days had been rough on him, with all that had happened to him. (Locked up in a store for two nights, a trip to the vet, living in Sonya's home, my home, etc.
However, it didn't take long - just a few days as I recall - before he overcame his fear and really opened up to me. In fact, he soon started following me around everywhere I went. I've never had a cat do that before.
|More than once I nearly tripped over
him, since he was right there at my feet all the time.
Because he would follow me around wherever I went, I got the idea that we could go for an actual walk together. And we did. Most evenings, after I came home from work, we would go for walks, throughout the complex where I live. I truly believe he loved going for walks with me. You could just see it in the way he was walking, with the "spring" he had in his step. He would walk with me, and stay with me, the entire time. Oh, sometimes he would linger behind me for a moment or two, chasing after a bug or something. But I could never get too far ahead of him before he would run up and catch up to me.
He really liked being around me. He really did.
Because of this, and because he is mostly black in color, about a week after I had him I renamed him "Shadow." He was definitely my little Shadow. I think that was the perfect name for him.
However, I soon realized I renamed him Shadow a little "too late." I still thought of him and referred to him as "Baby Boy!"
To most of my neighbors I introduced him as Shadow, but to me he will always be Baby Boy. (Funny though... I rarely ever called him Baby Boy. I usually just called him "Baby" or "Sweetie.")
During our walks together he would always do something that he never did at any other time. He would give me a little "cat hug." That's what I would describe it as, anyway. Just once, at some point during the walk, he would very gently, just for a second, wrap both his front paws around one of my legs. It was about as close to a hug from a cat as you can get. I like to think that was his way of saying thank you for taking him for a walk. I wish I had a video of him doing that to show you.
He would often claw my furniture, as cats do, and it didn't bother me at all. It really didn't. I figured, "it's just furniture" and when you own a cat, you should expect that. I was happy, however, to see him start clawing on a scratching post that was part of a "cat condo" structure that my mom later bought for him. (He loved that thing. He was inside the little condo house before I even put the thing together!)
He would often jump up on the kitchen counter, especially when I was eating or doing other work there. I know some cat owners prefer not to have their cats jumping on their kitchen counters, but that never bothered me. He could jump on whatever he wanted.
He would snuggle with me each night, in my bed, and during this time he would often purr and purr and purr. He never ever purred at any other time - only in the evenings and only in my bed. He would often sleep on my arm or against my side. Sometimes it was hard for me to fall asleep... I didn't want to move around too much, or else I would disturb him.
Although it took some initial patience and time, eventually he really liked it when I took a cat brush and brushed him. He would especially like it when I brushed his neck. It got to the point that when he saw me pick up the brush he would jump up on a nearby table. That's where I brushed him most of the time, and I'm sure that his act of jumping on the table was his way of saying "Yes, please brush me!"
|For whatever reason, he did
not like drinking water from a bowl. Instead, he liked drinking water
straight from the faucet!
I tried large bowls and small bowls and glass bowls and plastic bowls. I tried different colored bowls. But no matter what type of a bowl I used, he just didn't want to drink from any of them! Instead, when he wanted a drink he would jump into my bathtub and start meowing. That was his way of telling me to turn he was thirsty and to turn this thing on!
|In fact, he would use his paws and scoop out and
empty the water of any
water bowl he found. I still don't know why... was he just
playing or did he feel it necessary for some reason. Sonya bought a little electric
water fountain for him, that when turned on, constantly pumped water
out from a small spout. He drank from the
running water from that devices when I first showed it to him, and I
thought everything was going to be fine. However, the very
next day he scooped all of the water out of that bowl too.
(And when there is no water running through the device the small
pump will break down, so I just couldn't use it.)
After an hour, my suggestion worked - just leave him alone. He likes people... if we ignore him, maybe he will come down on his own. Sure enough, just minutes after we all left him, he finally got up the nerve to jump from the rook to a nearby tree. (Which wasn't all the nearby... he's obviously a good jumper.)
Another evening, quite late, I went looking for him, just because I hadn't seen him in awhile. It took awhile but I finally found him... across the street, in the parking lot of a small Ford Dealership! When I found him there I picked him up, carried him home, and "grounded him" for what turned out to be ten days. (For three of those days I was working in Las Vegas and I wasn't home anyway.) When I saw him across that busy street, I got scared for him. I knew if he kept doing that he was eventually going to be hit by a car or a truck for sure.
|But during that week I kept him inside, he was miserable and because
of that, I was miserable. He would meow and meow and meow at my back
door, wanting to be let outside. He would stop for awhile but then
eventually start meowing all over again.
He learned how to open my back patio door by first hopping up on a nearby table, leaning over, and pushing the door handle! That helps to indicate just how much he wanted to go outside.
|This meowing and complaining went on for several days,
with little or no let up. My hopes
and my plans of turning
him into just an "inside kitty" from an "inside-outside kitty"
obviously wasn't working.
So I reluctantly starting letting him outside again. A good friend of mine agreed with me. It is better to have a happy cat, maybe for just awhile, then an unhappy cat forever. That's who Baby Boy was. He was an outdoor cat.
Of course, I'm now regretting that decision.
When he wants to be let in, he knows to
meow at my back patio door. And when he does that I can hear him, no
matter where I am in my home. And when I woke up early Monday
morning, I quickly realized, to my horror, that I never let him back
in the night before.
|I hope I didn't sleep through his meows, but I
don't think I did. My bed is right there by the back patio door, and when
he meows, I can hear it. But I do wish I hadn't gone to sleep until
after he was inside.
I quickly got dressed and went looking for him. I looked in all of the usual spots where he likes to hang out. I looked everywhere. I looked across the street at Ford Dealership. I looked down the street. I walked through the entire complex at least twice. I looked and looked and called his name for more than an hour. I looked until I just couldn't look any longer - I had to leave for work. (I now wish I called in sick that day. I'm rarely ever sick. Each and every year I never ever use all of my sick time. And right now I was sick to my stomach.)
|But at this point I still wasn't worried! I've often gone looking
for him, just wondering where he was, and I haven't been able to
find him. And quite often, sometimes just minutes later, he suddenly
I truly believed he was just around nearby somewhere, having fun and enjoying the fresh air and doing the things cats like to do.
Just before I left for work, I did take the time to move his food dish outside, by the back door where he could find it. I figured he would come home eventually and be hungry. I'll see him again this evening, when I get home, I thought.
And as soon as I got home, as you might imagine, I immediately checked his food dish... and my heart sank and my stomach began to knot up... he hadn't touched any of the food. And that's when I thought I had probably already lost him for good. I've had him more than six full months and in all that time he's never been away for 16 consecutive hours. Not once. He's rarely gone for more two hours at a time before he comes back and checks up on me. And lately it's been closer to 30 minutes.
And that Monday afternoon after I got home it had now been 16 hours and no Baby Boy. 16 hours. Something happened to him.
I looked for him the rest of the afternoon and all night long. I looked for him on my bicycle and then later I looked for him on foot. In all, I believe I walked and rode for several miles. I walked so much feet and legs hurt. My voice started getting hoarse from calling his name so much.
About 10:00 pm that evening I went back home and fell asleep, exhausted. I woke up four hours later, at 2:00 am. And just the thought of him wandering around in some neighborhood or some parking lot or some alley, lost and hungry and thirsty and unable to find his way home, was enough for me to again put on a warm coat and hop on my bicycle and ride all over the neighborhood again, up to a half mile or so in all four directions, looking for him, calling his name.
I couldn't find him. I couldn't find him at all. He disappeared without a trace.
All this week I've been doing everything I can to find him.
(What I would like to do is a mass postcard mailer, which includes a photo, mailed to every house in a mile or so radius, letting everyone know that he is missing. I've looked into it... it's just too expensive. (Thanks anyway for your help, Mike.)
And, finally, each night I set my alarm clock for 2:00 am, and at that time I get up out of my warm bet, put on some warm clothes, and ride my bicycle all over the neighborhood, for two hours, until 4:00 am, looking for him, and calling for him.
|2:00 am is the perfect time to look
for a lost cat.
#1 It is very quiet at 2:00 am. No one is around and there is little to no traffic at all on the streets. My voice carries a LOT further at 2:00 am, when there is not any other traffic noise around to drown it out, than it does at, say 6:00 pm.
#2 I can ride my bicycle in the middle of the street and I don’t have to worry about or other cars. I can ignore stop signs and I don't have to wait for street lights to change.
#3 Baby Boy comes to me when I call him and when he sees me. I think he has a better chance of seeing me / hearing me when I'm the only other person around - and at 2:00 am, I am.
|But all my work so far has been in vain. He's still missing and I'm
still all torn up about it. I haven't been sleeping or eating much
at all. It just kills me that I don't know what happened to him.
That's the worst part. Not knowing. Not having any closure. If I found out he was dead, I
could accept that and move on. If I knew he had a new home, I
could accept that and move on. But it's this not knowing all that drives
me to tears each time I think about it. It's the chance that
he might be roaming around in some neighborhood somewhere, lost and hungry and scared.
I think it's beginning to look more and more like he was eaten by a coyote. (That is a common occurrence where I live.)
The only answer that makes sense
is that he was snatched up by a coyote. That
explains everything... why he didn't come home, why no one has seen
him, why I can't find him, despite looking all over the neighborhood
for him, why no one has posted an ad online, why no one has
responded to my ads, why he hasn't been taken anywhere and scanned
him for a micro-chip, etc.
I miss you, Sweetie. I miss you with all my heart.
|Below are four, poor-quality
cell phone videos of Baby Boy.
(My cell phone is an old, out-dated phone that takes crappy photos and videos.
Still, right now I'm glad it takes photos and videos at all. Otherwise I probably wouldn't even have these memories.)
They are Flash Video (FLV) files and will require a video player that recognizes that format to view them. (Most do.)
Each video is just a minute or less in length. If your operating system recognizes the format, all you have to do is click the photo, download it, and your default FLV player will play the video clip for you.
Baby Boy drinking water from my bathtub.
Here's Baby Boy stalking a bird.
He's terrible at it! Watch his tail
waving like a flag in the air!
The bird certainly saw him coming!
28 seconds of Baby Boy not doing
much of anything. Most of this video is
of the back of his head. He turns around
near the end.
In the last six seconds of this video,
you can see Baby Boy walking over to
me and rubbing up against my leg.