This week I had a terrible, terrible experience. I lost my beloved cat Luna! Spoiler alert, this mystery has a happy ending, but the hours in between the beginning and end of this story were filled with full-blown panic and breakdowns. Looking back on this situation now I am able to laugh about it, but I am still in shock over what happened, and I’m just so thankful that everything worked out and my parents and I were able to find our crazy cat, Luna. Since I have not been able to stop thinking about this experience since it happened, I thought I’d share it with the Stonehill Her Campus readers. Let’s see if you can correctly guess where Luna was before the end of the story! I’d love to hear where you thought Luna was while you were reading…
For the purposes of the story, here is a little background information:
- Luna is a feral kitty. She and her siblings were caught by one of my grandparents’ neighbors last March shortly after they were born. She is now about one-year-old, and we welcomed Luna into our home in August 2020. It’s been about six months since we brought her home.
- Luna is very, very, VERY shy and skittish. It took her a very long time to become familiar with us and our house. She is the definition of a scaredy-cat, literally! When we first brought her home, she would hide in the nooks and crannies of our house, but now over time, she has become comfortable and happy in her forever home. One of her favorite hiding places is up inside a rip in the bottom fabric cover of a mattress in the spare bedroom.
- Luna is a female cat, who has not yet been spayed. She is deathly afraid of her pet carrier and we have had to cancel two vet appointments because we couldn’t get her in her carrier if our lives depended on it! This means every three to four weeks she goes into heat once every few weeks. When Luna is in heat, she becomes very friendly and is always looking for affection.
- Luna is technically my cat, but since I’m still in college and I don’t have my own place yet, she lives with me at my parents’ house! So, the only people living in the house are me, my mom, and my dad.
- Luna is currently in heat during the timeframe of this story!
- Even though Luna is feral, she is now an indoor cat and has never been outside of our house.
The Facts & Timeframe:
Monday, March 22nd
Approximately 3:30 PM:
This was the last time I saw Luna. I was leaving the house to run an errand. My mom was at work and my dad had just gotten home from work. When I left, Luna was sitting in the living room. I left through the side door of our house and locked the door behind me when I left.
Approximately 4:15 PM:
I arrive back home and rush upstairs for a Zoom meeting. I don’t see Luna, but I figured she is just somewhere else in the house. My dad is making dinner in the kitchen.
Approximately 5:00 PM:
My Zoom meeting has ended, and I still haven’t seen Luna anywhere. This is strange because when she is in heat, she is very affectionate and is practically glued to my hip.
Approximately 5:30 PM:
After a little more time has passed, I start looking around the house calling for her, and I can’t find her anywhere. Normally when she’s in heat and any of us call to her she immediately comes running to us. So, at this point, I’m very confused and I’m starting to worry. My dad is sitting outside (but he was still inside when I got back home), so I ask him if he’s seen her. At this point, I’m starting to question if I shut the door fully when I left earlier because our side door is funky sometimes and doesn’t fully shut. My dad said he saw Luna sitting on the windowsill near the kitchen when he was starting dinner.
Between 6:00 – 8:00 PM:
I started searching the whole house, and I mean THE WHOLE HOUSE. I checked the upstairs, the downstairs, the basement, the attic, and I even looked for her in the garage even though she’s never been in there before and there really isn’t any way for her to get into the garage unless the door leading to the garage is left open, which typically is never the case. At this point even my dad is confused. We both start searching the whole house, checking everywhere multiple times. We checked all the closets, under all the beds, under the couches, and basically every inch of the house. We are both seriously confused at this point and I’m starting to panic. I asked my dad if he went outside at all while I wasn’t home, but he said he doesn’t remember going outside at all and that he is 99% sure he didn’t open any doors leading outside. I call my mom to tell her what’s going on. She thinks we just did not search inside the house well enough and she’s just hiding somewhere.
Approximately 8:30 PM:
After searching the house for hours, my mom finally arrives home from work. At this point, I’m completely panicked because it’s been about 3 ½ hours since Luna was last seen, and this is not like her AT ALL! My mom also searches the house for a while and doesn’t find her anywhere. It is also important to note that when I called my mom at work, I asked her to leave her car outside of the garage in case Luna was somehow in there, despite the fact that my dad and I had previously searched the garage, desperately calling her name, and didn’t find her anywhere.
Approximately 9:00 PM:
As the night progresses and we continue searching, we still have yet to find Luna. My mom and I are questioning my dad asking if he’s sure he didn’t open any doors leading outside when we weren’t home. He still claims to have not opened any doors leading outside to his best recollection. My mother points out that dinner included sweet potatoes which are stored in the garage which meant the garage door had been opened at least once.
After all the in-house searching, we are now pretty convinced Luna got outside somehow, but we are extremely confused as to how this happened. Luna has never tried to run outside before, and she usually gets scared and runs away whenever we open doors. And even if my father had opened an outside door, how could he not have noticed her walking out beside him. Our best idea at this point is that she snuck outside, perhaps looking for a mate, and wanting to enjoy the sounds and smells of Spring. We are devastated. We live in a wooded area that is frequented by coyotes, foxes, and who knows what else. Luna would never survive. We call our neighbors and tell them to keep an eye out for her.
Approximately 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM:
We’ve searched the house even more, searched our yard with flashlights, and have been waiting by the doors looking for her. I was periodically calling for Luna from the doors to outside and would walk around looking for her. At this point we are thinking best-case scenario, Luna finds her way home, likely pregnant because there are other cats in our neighborhood, but better than the alternative where she doesn’t find her way home at all. I finally somehow managed to fall asleep around 2 AM.
Tuesday, March 23rd
Approximately 6:00 AM:
My parents wake up before me, and Luna is still nowhere to be found. My dad is walking around the yard and nearby woods looking for her. On her way out to work, my mother searches the garage one more time, even opening the door to my father’s car on the very slight chance that he went in there to get something and she snuck in behind him. Yes, we are now grasping at straws. My mom didn’t tell me this at the time but at this point, she was very doubtful we were going to find Luna. It was like she vanished into thin air.
Approximately 8:00 – 9:00 AM:
During this time, I wake up and go outside to yell for Luna and search around the yard some more, and I don’t find her anywhere. I was googling ways to lure your cat back home if they get outside. I read an article that said to put their favorite toys, favorite bed or blanket, and litterbox with the litter in it outside so that they will smell their scent. I do all of this (while I am bawling my eyes out thinking I would never see her again) and after I finish putting everything outside, I walk around some more calling for her.
I turn around to go back inside and notice something out of the corner of my eye. Something made me look towards the garage, and there on the windowsill inside the garage, she sits, meowing at me, although I could not hear her since I was on the outside. I sprint into the house and run to the garage while yelling to my dad that I saw her in there through the window. When we both get to the garage, we don’t see her anywhere. At this point, I’m questioning if I’m going crazy and if I actually saw this cat in the window, but my dad also says he’s pretty sure he saw her run under his car while we were running into the garage, but we check under the car and we don’t see her.
We decide to go inside the house and leave the door leading from our garage into the house open so that hopefully Luna will come out from wherever she’s hiding and come inside. Note that we had left every closet door and the cellar door open the night before but didn’t think to leave the garage door open! I went outside to grab her stuff and bring it inside, and through the window, I see Luna get out from inside of the bottom of my dad’s car and run inside!
Where was Luna? Remember earlier I mentioned how her favorite hiding place was up inside the bottom of the mattress? Well, similarly, she crawled up inside the bottom of my dad’s car!
Turns out Luna was never outside! She must have snuck into the garage when my dad went to get the sweet potatoes. She had never been in the garage before, so like as she did when she first arrived at our house, she looked for a safe place to hide which turned out to be inside of the bottom of my dad’s car! It still doesn’t make sense why she didn’t come out the numerous times we checked the garage and called for her, but she must have been so afraid that she stayed hidden inside the car. And had we left the garage door to the house open, she probably would have wandered back inside the house on her own while we were sleeping. All I know is I’m just so happy and thankful that we found her and that she’s safe! Now I’m scared to even let her out of my sight. Blame it on the sweet potatoes…