Thank you each and every one of you who messaged, shared, called, came to look in gutters, gave advice, support and comfort. Chase is back home, and lying at my feet, after a dramatic search and rescue. My life and heart can return to normal.
For those of you interested, here is the long and boring detail of what happened. I now know that it can happen to anyone, with any type of cat, even a fat, 8 year old, layabout, Big Lubowski personality. Brenton went to call Chassie in (on Tuesday evening), as he does every evening at about 7. I had left 10 minutes before to go to the Alexander Bar to watch the CityVarsity 3rd year final work. I got home at about 9pm to find a frantic Big Friendly on the stoep and no sign of Chassie. At first we thought that he might have climbed up into the engine or bumper of my car and driven with me to the theatre. Our worst and most paranoid fear. The one we visualised endlessly, the whole of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
All the obvious things were done. Vets, animal shelters and groups were called, emailed, and face booked. Posters were put up and flyers made. Big Friendly did the rounds, looking for a body. At 5pm yesterday we took our flyers and started going door to door in the neighbourhood, and our neighbours were sweet, and concerned and attentive. Some people felt sure they had seen him. Our last stretch of the search took us to the street behind and parallel to our one (we share an alley between us). People there told us there were lots of cats in the area. I saw a few in an alleyway and kssed to them. They perked up alertly. And then we heard meowing from across the road. It was clearly Chassie’s voice. It took a while to identify that he was hiding in a gap between two sections of a roof, and he was terrified, but, clearly, recognised our voices. I waited with him and spoke to him while Big Friendly walked home to fetch our long step ladder and the cat box (genius idea) and then there we were, hoisting our ladder onto a stranger’s house and coaxing Chassie into the cat box.
He was dirty, ravenous and terribly needy. I hope he has learned his lesson. We tried to read him the riot act but he just started purring, and hasn’t stopped since.
I have a lot to be grateful for, starting with his return. But then there are friends, family, animal lovers, neighbours, organisations and total strangers who helped. Thank you. Chassie is home (and may never be allowed out again).