Max jumped off the deck yesterday afternoon about 3:30 and never came back. The other two times he jumped, he was back within a couple of hours. This time, he's not.
We are all feeling the loss of his presence. As aggressive and feisty toward Loosy and Lily as he was, he was also just a kitten, a teenage kitten to be sure, but with vestiges of kittenhood still---the ability to fall limply into a pile of sleeping catfur, to curl up on my bosom while I lie in bed reading my book, to experience the wonder of the bunnies and deer that inhabit the yard. Always eager to go out outside on the deck, he would haunt the door yowling or, if I was here at the computer, he'd watch me hawklike and if I made a move to get up, he was galloping down the hall toward the deck door, always hopeful that I intended to let him out.
Last night when it was time to go to bed, after I put a bowl of food and water out on the deck, just in case he came back in the night, after I stole one of the several catbeds around the house to put out for him, just in case, I sat on my bed and cried.
He's not coming back, I'm sure of it. He has been gone too long. He's either lost or hit by a car or killed by a predator. Of course I'll check with my neighbors, but it's most likely that his sense of adventure got the best of him and he went too far to find his way back, was too exposed by his white fur and spotted by a coyote or a raptor. He's still light enough to be lifted by a large bird, even though he'd put up quite a fight.
I haven't completely given up hope, of course. I'll keep the bowl of food out for awhile. I'll check the roads and the neighbors. But I think Maxie is gone.
I'm not at the point of being able to see that it means less stress for the other cats or that my cat food and vet bills will diminish or that I can put out one less litter box, that I can quit worrying about cat pee on the bed. These were reasons that I almost turned him over to the animal shelter a few months ago. Now they just seem like stupid reasons for wanting to give him away.
He brought immense joy and love into my life, got the older cats moving faster, and was a source of amusement and entertainment, all his short life. It's hard to say goodbye.