Tuesday, November 30, 2010
A sad, sad part of our trip
That's Luther in his usual place in Ian's lap, with Sidney relegated to the sidelines
Deep in the heart of Texas we are, and as we prepare to pack up and move along west, know that our hearts are breaking.
Our beloved Luther, one of the two black cats who set out with us on our odyssey, has been missing for almost a week here in San Antonio, and with time and winter starting to force our hand, we can await his return no longer.
If you had asked us on setting out if we were worried that one or both of the animals might go missing, we would have acknowledged the possibility. But having left another of our cats, Edward, while away on a six-week trip, we knew how lonely the animals get when ‘their’ people are not at hand.
We also would have suggested that Sidney, not Luther, would have been the likely choice to go AWOL — he’s done it twice before.
Instead, when we woke Thanksgiving morning in our American idyll, it was Luther who was missing.
Normally when we are camping each of the cats is leashed to the trailer with a 12-foot line. At night though, with the doors closed, we unhook them so that we and they are not constantly skipping rope as we shuffle about in our cosy space.
But on a hot Texas night, the outer door was open and the screen door, shut and latched, seeking any available breath of air for sleeping, was the only barrier. When we woke, Sidney was on the bed, marching over to demand a morning cuddle. Luther, unusually, was not there and we quickly learned why when we bolted from bed to find the screen door standing half open — how or when it happened is unclear.
And Luther, whose usual foray outside has been just onto the step of the trailer, was gone. It has been a week of slowly diminishing hope, of roaming the RV park, the neighbourhood, the adjacent golf course, businesses surrounding the park, and the nearby river valley. We left a notice with the local elementary school, seeking to enlist an army of local eyes and ears from that source. There have been no sightings, despite his bright purple collar and harness, and red, heart-shaped name tag.
Even a couple of men living under one of San Antonio’s bridges, were contacted. They did know of a stray, which they have been feeding after nursing it back to health after a leg injury, but it was not our guy.
Luther, shy, even timid, is less likely that the more social Sidney to find his way to a new home, but we can only hope that he does, or that a phone call comes alerting us to his presence — or his fate
Sadly it was only a couple of years ago that Luther’s sister, Martha, disappeared in the night after being run off by a dog running loose through our Pender Island neighborhood. There never was a sign of her.
Sidney, also a feral cat from Pender Island, was brought in to help Luther adjust to the loneliness and they soon became inseparable, sleeping coiled up together in a ball of pussycat, trading licks and bath time, and running the Feline 500 over our bed as dawn neared.
Now it is Sid’s turn to seek Luther in the usual haunts, to run from window to window in the trailer looking for his friend to return in the night, and to seek constant reassurance from us that we too are not going to disappear.
We try to comfort him, through our tears.