I haven't even written it yet and this is already one of my favorite posts ever, right up there with the day I announced that Little Meow got a forever home.
I've kept kind of quiet about it here (hoping to post about a happy ending), but some of you know from Facebook and Twitter that I've been searching for a lost cat for the past few weeks. NOT Pimp or Moo, thank goodness, but Stubbie, a cat I was rescuing from my office parking lot.
Stubbie is a sweet little thing with no tail. She had a tail, but when she was dumped in our parking lot she had a rubber band around it and it eventually lost circulation and was no more. She is an absolute love who deserves better than the parking lot life.
So her other two parking lot mommies and I decided to look for a home or rescue for her. Her main parking lot mom, Kelly, found her a tiny rescue where she was welcome to go (even after she tested FIV+!) and we were happy to give her the beginnings of the good life.
However, on her first night there, she somehow managed to get out. Stubbie is shy and she was no doubt scared. We have no idea how she got out, but I woke up the next morning to an email that started with "OMG! OMG! OMG! I don't know where Stubbie is."
Panic. I drove over there, speeding the whole way, hoping to find her in the deep back of a closet or something. But no, she must have gone outside.
And so started the search. I was NOT letting this girl be on her own in a place she didn't know. Our goal was to do better for her, not to just dump her somewhere else.
Luckily, the neighborhood was very cat-friendly and safe, and we weren't immediately concerned about strange streets or traffic.
The short version of the search: Over the past three weeks, six of us have spent probably a couple hundred hours scouring the neighborhood; we've hung and passed out over $350 in color fliers, signs and stickers; we've put out countless piles of food hoping to just give her a place to stop roaming and make a "home base;" we've talking to every neighbor within earshot.
I made Stubbie her own website -- www.findstubbie.com -- and posted it on all the fliers so people could get the latest updates, sightings, contact info and her story. We registered a special phone number for her with Google Voice so she could be an easy-to-remember 281-FIND-CAT. I made "Stubbie Search" a foursquare check-in with contact info and her picture.
We were getting some calls from people all over the neighborhood. They saw a gray cat, but weren't sure if she had a tail. They saw her 100%... the morning before. They saw her walking across their front yard. I sped over every time, but none of us ever saw her ourselves, and we weren't even sure it was her they were seeing.
After nearly two weeks had passed, I'd honestly all but given up hope. I wasn't giving up, believe me, but that little seed of doubt was creeping into my head and I was worried we'd really never find her.
And then, like some kind of miracle, Kelly, one of her fellow parking lot mommies SAW HER when she was going to put out food! She was walking across from the house she'd gotten lost from. STUBBIE! She fed her, but Stubbie wouldn't let her close enough to touch. She stayed with her a long time, but there was no getting her that night. We knew where she was, though! Progress.
Over the next week, we visited those bushes and Stubbie several times a day to make sure she always had food and water, and no reason to roam. She slowly got back into a routine, learned that we were the people who loved her and eventually started coming out more and closer to us.
Today, finally, WE GOT HER! Just wow. Our little girl is safe. I am so relieved and so happy that we were able to find and get her. You can't even imagine. Lost cats just don't normally get found... Stubbie is very, very lucky.
Here's a video of her in my office right after Kelly scooped her up and into a carrier. She came to hang out with me for a little bit before she went to her next destination.
Today she's in our friend's bathroom and she will go to the vet next week to get a bad tooth fixed (we took her to the vet before the rescue) and then we'll figure out what the next steps are.
Part of me wants to let her live in her parking lot again, where she's lived for years with her fellow parking lot kitty friends. She gets food from us three times a day, lots of love and vet care when she needs it. It's not that bad of a life.
And the other part of me wants to try desperately to find her a real home, with a forever family who will love her and give her the adjustment time she needs to be a good inside kitty -- which I know she will be!
But in the meantime... back to the parking lot while we look? I'd hate to coop her up in someone's bathroom while we search. Finding an FIV+ kitty from a parking lot a home isn't the easiest mission to embark on.
Whatever we decide (we have a few days to figure it out), I know we'll do what's best for her. I love that little girl. And having her back safe and sound and with us is the best thing that's happened to me in many, many weeks.
And just for the record, the rescue she went to, Good Karma Pet Rescue, is a great place. The woman who runs it is fabulous and cares immensely for all the animals there. She has a huge heart, and this was something no one could have predicted or ever thought would happen. She helped hugely in the Stubbie Search and we love her for offering Stubbie a place to live. She may go back there; she may not. What I've learned for all of this, I think, is that sometimes OK really is OK. And Stubbie's life in the parking lot really is kind of OK.