cats

Nami on the Loose!

cat

Nami enjoys going camping with us. Here she is in our 5th wheel, by a large window.

Nami, our 13-year-old Bengal cat went missing in late July. She is an indoor cat with access to our backyard through the pet door, but our backyard is protected with The Cat Fence . (The current Cat Fence shown in the link looks like prison fencing; our 15-year-old cat fence looks more like this). In theory, she can enjoy the back yard without leaving the property. Somehow, she found a way out in late July. At first, we hoped she’d come home on her own. A good ten years ago or so, she got out several times one summer before we found and blocked her clever escape route. She always found a nice woman who would pick her up, check her collar, call us, and give her back. So we waited for a call, but it never came.  

cat in driver's lap

While we are towing the 5th wheel, Nami is co-piloting from the driver’s lap. Did she dream of traveling without us?

After two days we posted fliers around the neighborhood, and I put notices on Petharbor and Craigslist. My middle daughter posted on NextDoor and PawBoost. I talked to neighbors and combed the area; nothing. About a week later, a woman living 1.25 miles to the north called and said that she had seen our cat. I didn’t believe her, but she sent a photo. Yup, Nami had visited her house for several days. Nami had lost her collar, but the lady could tell she was someone’s pet. She found Nami’s pictures on Petharbor and NextDoor and contacted my daughter. The woman put out food for her and promised to nab her if Nami returned. My family took turns searching for Nami in the northern neighborhood, noting a pond, a tiny creek, and lots of open space for mousing, which we found comforting. We put up fliers in the northern area, hoping she continued to dodge the coyotes, foxes, and cars in the area.

Bengal cat

Nami, looking out the camper window, showing us her beautiful spots. She seemed to be happy camping with us. Were we wrong?

We continued to visit the local shelter at least every five days, so that if she was picked up, we could get her before someone adopted her. We saw many beautiful, friendly, and scared cats; it was a hard place to visit, but we were grateful it was there. We wondered about Nami’s motivation. We thought she’d been happy with us, but maybe she wasn’t. Did she run away, or did she just have a bad sense of direction?

bengal cat

The truck is full with two adults, four dogs, and a cat, but Nami is in full command of the situation, getting prime seating on the small cooler when she wants it.

I finally got a call from a man who said that he had seen Nami go home with a nice woman on the walking path the week before. He didn’t know the woman or where she lived; he was just passing by when he saw her tell a friend that she was going to take the cat with her. He knew it was Nami, though, because they marveled over her unusual spots. He had only recently seen one of the fliers but wanted to reassure me that Nami was safe. It was comforting, but we were quite sad to have her gone.

cat with ball

Would Nami ever be back again to play with the toy that Ellen sent?

A week later, the man called again. Through a series of coincidences, he ran into the kind woman that had taken Nami with her. Her name was Sandra, and she said that Nami was not getting along with her existing cat and had a LOT of energy! He gave her my phone number and she called.

cat asleep in driver's lap

Nami sleeping on the job as co-pilot.

When my husband and I approached the glass front door, Nami saw us and her tail began to twitch. It was definitely her! When Sandra invited us in, Nami rubbed against our ankles and asked for petting, which we happily gave. When my husband put down the carrier, Nami walked over and went right in. We all understood how unusual that was and took it as a sign that she was ready to come home!

cat washing, bengal cat

In her station by the picture window in the camper, Nami is contentedly washing. This place was so peaceful that Nami got to go out walking later in her kitty holster and leash.

Sandra had taken Nami to the vet and learned she hadn’t been chipped. When Nami was spayed as a teen, we wanted to get her chipped. The vet talked us out of it, saying that there were at least three different chip vendors, and no one had all three readers, so she recommended waiting until the market stabilized. Well, we never got around to it after that (cringe). We reimbursed the lady for her expenses and gave her and the man who called a modest reward. 

cat on shelf

Nami is on one of the catification features in our house – a shelf and tube she can use to be peacefully above the dogs. She is looking out the window into the back yard, here, while showing off her spots.

Nami again has the run of our home and shaded back yard! My husband had fixed the cat fence, so that it would be safe for her again. She has been quite affectionate since her return – more than usual. Only four generations domesticated, Nami is a typical Bengal and rather stoic. When we heard her purr for the first time in ages, we knew she was happy to be home! She was gone 4 ½ weeks and we are so grateful to all the kind and wonderful people who contacted us with sightings, fed her, or kept an eye out for her. The take-away here is that if you see a stray, please try to contact the owner even if you were unable to capture him/her. Without the first woman’s help, we never would have put up fliers in the northern neighborhood that were instrumental in Nami’s return. We never expected her to go so far! If you see a stray, search social media for the owner. Of course, get that cat chipped, even if you think she’s old and content at home.

Cat and reflection

Nami content to look out the window, home again safe and sound.

As a follow-up, I want to add that Nami is gaining back some of the weight she lost and is quite affectionate with us. She’s also the proud owner of a new collar and tracking chip! We’ve only seen her in the back yard once since she returned; I think she’s had enough outdoors for a while.

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29 replies »

  1. OMG!! What an adventure Nami went on!!! You both must have been so upset. I don’t know what I’d do if any of my cats ever went ‘walk-about’!!! I’m so glad the people cared for her & the gentleman hooked you up to the nice lady Sandra…
    Nami PLEASE stay inside the house or your catio….your Pawents do not have 9 lives like you do!!!!
    {{hugs}} Sherri-Ellen & **purrsss** BellaDharma

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a scary time for you, but so wonderful that you ultimately found her! I have a feeling she just got to exploring and lost her way. She certainly has a very good life with you, with her outdoor yard and getting to go camping too!
    Many, many years ago we had outdoor cats and one day one of ours disappeared. She was gone for a week or two and we had about given up. One morning I opened the door and there she was on the sidewalk.
    As it turns out, we had gotten new neighbors in the apartment above us, and they had taken her in! Can you imagine that they never even knocked on our door to see if it was our cat! We never even thought to check with them either….and back then there weren’t many resources to help with finding lost pets.

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    • There are many more apps out there to help, but old-fashions flyers still help. Those rascally cats like to roam sometimes! I’m glad we both got our dats back – and grateful for so many people out there who are willing to take them in and feed them until they are ready to go home!

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  3. Whew! Thank goodness that she’s back! How scary! But you did a wonderful job of telling the story. I was on pins and needles until the end…thank goodness Nami had a happy ending as did you! Ah, the kindness of people, right? Now I have to check if my cats are chipped. Thanks for telling your story. xo

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  4. Thank Dog Nami was found.
    HuMom can often be heard saying, “Don’t give up. Cats have been known to find their way back even years after they have gone lost.”
    Our Dot was lost after our neighbors house fire spread to ours.
    It was almost 3 weeks before we found her & like Nami, she isn’t much interested in going outside anymore.

    Nose nudges,
    CEO Olivia

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    • The outdoors can be scintillating and exciting — and terrifying, lonely, and hungry. I’m glad Dot came home on her own; Nami required a car ride and cash reward! She was lucky to find a kind soul to shelter her until we found her. The house fire sounds pretty traumatic for all of you; I’m glad you are all back together now.

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    • We are so relieved and grateful to all those who were instrumental in her return. There were so many wonderful coincidences that brought all the right people together! And she is clearly happy to be home. We hope to never have such an adventurous summer again!

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    • Oh yes, she was when she left the house. She had a custom collar with her name and my cell phone number embroidered on it. No tag. Anything heavier or with dangling tags and she would scratch it into shreds within a couple of months. The slender embroidered collar worked well, but for cats they are safety break-away collars. That way if they get their collar caught on something they don’t hang themselves. Somehow, she lost her collar before she arrived in the northern neighborhood three days after leaving our house. 😦

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