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  • Writer's pictureLily T

Dave : A good friend of mine

Dave has been missing now for almost a month and I finally feel like writing about him. This is in medium detail, if I went much further it would be too long. I have not edited this so I apologize for any spelling or grammar errors. Basically train of thought writing for my own therapeutic reasons and a full run down of his life. Thanks for reading.

I got him a year or so into the pandemic, a pretty random decision that I never once regretted. He was a tiny kitten, he had worms and fleas that were resistant to many rounds of treatments, but throughout it all he was a happy and energetic kitty. He was shy... and tiny, I remember just so so tiny. He loved to cuddle with me on my pillow but because he had worms and they would often crawl out his butt while he slept (sorry for the visual) I tried my best to convince him not to sleep there. He often slept there anyways, and I would often wake up in the morning and cringe at the thought of the worms. Oh well, we got through it. He was a funny kitten, he talked a lot, he ate a lot, and he was also messy. Every morning if I heard the noise of the litter box being sifted through with a paw I was up and ready to catch him when he was done peeing and ran out of the box. He would often pee on his feet and get covered in litter and dust and then I would have to scoop him up and wash him off in the sink. He was used to baths when he was younger, partially because of his litter box habit and partially because he often got flea baths. As he got older and he decided he was ready to go outside sometimes he never cared about the rain and often came in soaking wet.

Speaking of going outside he was uninterested and even terrified of going outside for the first 2 years or so of his life. It was offered to him many times, we had always had cats that were indoor outdoor and we still had a couple who were well seasoned and I knew would be great for him to observe and learn from, but he continued to be uninterested for quite awhile. He got plenty of play time inside and decided on some favorite toys pretty early on, Mr. and Mrs. Owley being two of them, the other a puff ball that for a very long time was attached to a hat that he would drag around. Mr. and Mrs. Owley are both fluffy socks that started out with eyes and wings. In the end Mr. Owley has been blinded and he is full of holes, he was well loved for sure, Mrs. Owley was spared a bit but is still in pretty rough shape. The puff ball on the hat was a staple for a long time, once I realized that even though he would drag the whole hat around willingly, he really only wanted the puff ball I decided to separate the two and boy did he love that. That puff ball was the one toy that could make him go crazier than cat nip. He even loved it so much that I was able to teach him to play fetch like a dog with it.

As he got older he was still fine being an indoor only cat, he was interested in watching birds and our two indoor/outdoor family cats, Charlie and Alvin, explore the outdoors from the window. One night Kevin found a stray cat who had been weaving in and out of the highway on his way home from work. He brought him back to my house where we reached out the community to see if he had a home, he was a very friendly cat who was obviously not a random stray. He was never claimed so we decided to keep him and we named him Norm. Him and Dave had their moments, Dave was very curious about Norm since he hadn't interacted with another cat since he was just a kitten and other than that had been around my Dad's dog Blue consistently. Dave was surprised when Norm didn't enjoy being followed around and jump scared like Blue and the humans around him did. Norm also was very interested in getting back outside, after a few weeks of having him we decided to try it out. He quickly learned how to use the dog door and loved to go out and explore, always coming back for dinner. Dave eventually became interested in going outside too, he learned about the dog door and him and Norm went out exploring together often coming back with something special.

Two months into having Norm he didn't come home one night, it was summer so the idea that he was just having lots of fun and forgot to come home was possible but I was worried sick. After a day or two I heard from a family friend that they had seen a post on facebook, a lady had found a deceased cat on Maxwelton Rd. with a light tan coat and a yellow collar. She had found him and taken his body home with her to make sure he wasn't eaten or taken away by something or someone. I reached out and she graciously brought him back home. Kevin rushed home from work and we buried him and had a ceremony for him, playing the song he was named after (Norm by Andy Shauf). It was a terribly sad time for both of us, we found comfort in the fact that he was a happy and well loved cat who was able to do what he loved the most, exploring the outdoors and unfortunately spending time on and around the road.

Dave continued going outside, he had learned a lot from Norm and was very happy with his new found freedom of experiencing catching real animals beyond Mr. and Mrs. Owley. He brought in the remainder of a bunny pelt that Norm had been obsessed with, and many shrews, birds, chipmunks, and even the occasional snake. Although I was happy he had finally gained the confidence to go outside, the presents were my least favorite part. We had a schedule during the week that we both followed, I would get up to go to work, open the dog door for him, I would say goodbye and he would spend most of the time I was at work outside. He loved sneaking into my Dad's shop where he worked on cars, he would slink around, snoop, and if possible get into a car. There was one day when I got home from work that my Dad told me he had gotten into one of his personal cars, he had been exploring under the tunneau of the passenger side and right before my Dad made it out the gate peeked his head out and scared him. Very close to having a ride all the way to the store in Langley. While I was at work he never seemed to go far because as soon as I got home and opened my door he would come running from wherever he was and would announce he was in. If I didn't answer him immediately he would yell out some more until he figured out where I was in the house. Usually it was the bathroom and he would sit on my lap and I would pet him and tell him about my day.

We had lots of schedules that we based around what the other was doing, for example, in the mornings when I woke up and sat in front of the heater he would get up from wherever he was sleeping and try to sit on me. Sometimes it was my lap, if I was stretching he would hop on my back. Every night when it was time for me to get ready for bed I would tell him it was time for bed and he would follow me down stairs and sit on the toilet while I washed my face and brushed my teeth, then he would follow me upstairs and fall asleep with me. Every time I showered he would be very interested in the water, but never interested enough to get in. While I showered he would lay on the mat right outside and usually when I was done I would forget he was laying there and the shower door would bonk him as I got out. He would alway be surprised and even sometimes a little upset but it was easy to win him over by putting him over my shoulder and holding him like a baby, then he would sit on the toilet again, often reaching out to claw at my towel and use me as a stretching post while I put moisturizer on my face. We talked a lot, what I mean is that I would talk to him often about what I was doing and he would answer me and always want to be a part of it.

In early October of 2023 a seemly stray cat was hanging around the neighborhood of the family I worked for. On a specific day the cat was extremely vocal and seemed hungry, we fed and spent some time outside with the kitty and for the next week the kitty stayed on their porch and got fed by them. The kitty was friendly and sweet but the family was allergic so they couldn't take him in. After the 5th day of getting to work and this cat greeting me on the porch I knew that it would end up coming home with me. Two days later he did. Dave had a new brother and companion again and he was very curious. Once again this new cat didn't appreciate Dave stalking and jumping out to scare him. Probably confusing for Dave seeing as I seemed to love it when he would hide around the corner and pop out to scare me at random times (I did really like it). I took the new kitty to the vet and found out he was around 6, I named him Dennis (Kevin came up with it), and he settled right in. It was hard to manage the two at once, Dave still wanted his personal time with me, but so did Dennis. Dennis was very persistent about cuddling and Dave gave way in a lot of instances because he felt it wasn't worth getting meowed at for.

December 17th, 2023, I got home after dark after having dinner with some friends at their house, my Dad was worried because he heard coyotes very close to the house and when he went to check on my cats Dave wasn't inside. We searched and searched that night but didn't find anything at all. We continued to search the next week and a half every single day, calling his name and covering every foot of the property as well as immediate neighbors around us. Facebook posts, waif forms, notes left in neighbors mailboxes, missing cat posters went up, but nothing ever came of it. Dennis stopped going outside, and if he did it was only for 15 minutes or so. I was devastated and still am, but it is part of owning an animal. Living in the Maxwelton valley for most of my life and having many dogs and cats when I was younger I knew the dangers of the coyotes and also the danger of the 50 mph road we lived on. That being said we had never lost a pet to either growing up, it was always old age or cancer.

Nothing can prepare you for either of those quick and random deaths. I am still so thankful to the sweet lady who had saved Norm's body so that we could have some closure. She told us that she had had a cat go missing and never had any real idea of what had happened so she knew how important it could be for someone to know what had happened.

The first few days Dave was missing I hoped he would just show up, even if he was hurt I knew there was a big possibility that whatever it was was something that the vet could fix. About a week in I was just hoping to find remains, bones, hair, maybe his collar, anything that pointed to some sort of conclusion of what had happened. We haven't gotten that yet and at almost a month in now I have less hope we ever will. Online they tell you that when your cat goes missing that you should never lose hope that they will return. Cats have gone months, even years at times and then returned as if everything was normal. I haven't lost hope that that may happen, but the reality of the situation is also something I need to address in order to grieve. Things may be different if this had happened in the summer where it was warm enough for a cat to live outside, or if there hadn't been coyotes in the yard that night in particular. When the first frost hit after he went missing I didn't realize it was cold enough until I got off of work late at night and I had to defrost my car. I cried while the heater blasted and continued to cry all the way home.

Everyone who knew of Dave was sad, he was a good guy and of course it just sucks to hear for anyone. It made me realize that no one knew him the way that I did, and honestly I don't think anyone had seen me as often or as vulnerably as Dave had over the years. It was just different. Before he was going outside I often thought about the fact that his whole life revolved around me in a way. I was the only person who constantly spent time with him. We understood each others movements and feelings without even making the conscious effort to, it was just something that came naturally with the amount of time we spent together. It is still sad for me to think about him sometimes, but it is also extremely important for me to acknowledge that I did everything I could for him. The night he went missing right before leaving the house he was wanting some attention, instead of leaving the house to be on time I spent 5 minutes with him, I let him sit on my lap like he always did and when I left I expressed how much I loved him and how awesome he was, something I always did when leaving the house. When I went out the door he watched me go and when I walked by the windows he watched me and I waved at him again. I am so glad that I spent the time with him that night and I'm hoping that that love he was feeling was what he continued to think about after I left and is still thinking of now.

Dave will forever be part of my life and my thoughts, he was my best friend and truly the best guy I have ever known. Anyone who knew him knew he was a bit of a weirdo, he had a strong personality, he was picky about the laps he sat on, he was playful, sweet, and overall a fun guy to have around.



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