Losing Paul Simon

Paul Simon didn't return home as usual one Friday morning in August.  As it had been a full moon, and the weather was unusually warm, I didn't worry too much at first.  He was the wanderer, and enjoyed being in and out of the house on warm nights.
When he was missing for more than two days, we began to look for him in earnest.  We asked around the neighborhood, filed a lost cat report with the humane society, put up flyers; and I began posting religiously on many lost pets pages everywhere -- on social media, Craigslist, etc. -- and spent all of my free time looking up posts.  I went twice to the animal shelter to look at cats that were not Paul, and kept track of another cat that a neighbor was spotting that also turned out not to be Paul.  I went outside every hour or so and called for him.  He was wearing a collar and was micro-chipped, so we were hopeful we could locate him.
We were so worried.  Everyone I talked to had an idea about what had happened to him: he met a she-cat, he took up with another family that's feeding him, he got locked inside someone's shed... Everyone knew, though, that he would come back soon.  I got all kinds of advice on how to find him and followed it all -- we put his litter-box in front of the house, put out our clothing for him to smell, searched for him before for dawn and at dusk.  I couldn't sleep for days.  I was so afraid he was hurt somewhere, or stolen, or starving, or dehydrated, or drinking algae-water and getting sick.  Of course I worried he'd been hit by a car.
On the 10th day after he went missing, we confirmed that a cat that had been killed in the street one block over and disposed of was, after all, Paul.  We had seen a photo of the deceased cat several days before, but it wasn't wearing a collar and we thought it couldn't be him.  The neighbor found Paul's collar days later in the bushes, next to where she'd found his body, and sent us a photo of it. We took another, close look at the photo of the deceased cat and that was when I knew it was him, even though the first time I'd seen the photo I hadn't been able to see it.
Paul had been killed by a neighbor's vicious dog, in a way that was violent enough for his collar to have been ripped off and damaged in the process.  No one saw it happen, but all the neighbors believe it to be true.  We'll never know for sure.  We are devastated that instead of taking him to be checked for micro-chipping, the person who found him discarded him with the trash, which lead to 10 days of worrying and wondering when really he had died the first day he was missing; and also, of course, meant we couldn't give him the burial we would have wanted.
I can't even put into words how awful I feel about all of this.  I've lost many beloved pets before, but never to violence, and it makes for a new kind of pain in the loss.  It was heartbreaking to tell Ben, because he was so bonded with Paul from day one.
I really can't wait until summer is behind us, now.  The warm weather just brings to mind those hot August nights I spent worrying about Paul; sitting out on the patio on warm mornings hurts because I keep looking for him to come over and sit with me like he always did.  Art Garfunkel is confused and lonely; he walks around the house meowing whenever he comes inside and there's nothing I can do for him except commiserate, and pet him and talk to him about how much I miss Paul, too.  I just want time to pass, even though it means wishing away the warm weather and season that I normally love.
Rest in peace, Paul Simon.  I will miss you forever.


Marrianna said…
So sorry for your loss. There’s nothing more I can say about this sad time in your family.
JanF said…
This is so hard for you, I am sorry your dearly loved cat came to such a sad end.
Pallas said…
I am so sorry about your kitty, and the terrible way you lost him. I know how heartbroken you must be. I read in your later post that you got a new kitten. We always mourn the pets we loved, but then find out we can fall in love with another - there is always room in our hearts for more.

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