// Bear Hunting//
We have been stalking our cat Bear for the past five nights. Yes, we “found” our missing cat… sort of.
Bear escaped our massive apartment building and *somehow* found his way down six stories to the ground level. Despite numerous attempts, fliers, and phone calls, we hadn’t seen him in almost a month. Then, last Wednesday a neighbor called to say they saw a small black cat in the park across the street.
At first I begged Melbs not to go over there. It was going to be yet another disappointment and I was just coming to terms with the loss and ready to move on. But he insisted, and went out into the night alone. About ten minutes later I received a text message, “I just saw him.” And my heart leapt. Still, not wanting to get my hopes up yet again I replied, “are you sure?” And he said, “100%”.
It took me about 3 seconds to fly myself out of the building— ill fitting pajamas, no shoes, clay mask on face. I tip toed into the park myself and Melbs and I sat silent, waiting to see Bear again. About twenty minutes passed before he peeked his little head out of the bushes across the way and gave a little meow. He was looking right at us… he knew who we were.
We didn’t know whether to sit still or make a move, so we sat for a minute and then when he didn’t approach us we slowly stood to walk towards him. He ran. And we didn’t see him again that night.
Seeing Bear again was like seeing a ghost. As I said, I had just come to terms with losing him and had recently packed away his food bowl and cat box. I had started to remember the positive things: at least we got to experience raising a kitten, it’s kind of nice not being pawed in the face each morning, I like not scooping poop out of a box…
But there he was, alive and well, right across the street from our home all these weeks! I was proud of him. He was clearly resourceful, able to hunt and keep himself alive and unharmed. I wondered if he tried to come back home but just couldn’t find a way back into the building. I wondered if he loved being out in the wild and that this was his plan all along?
Regardless, Melbs and I resolved to bring him home. So, we have returned each night in vain with food and are now armed with a humane cat trap stuffed with sardines, hoping to get Bear and restore him to our home.
It’s been difficult. Really difficult, and again, I’ve lost my cool. It’s incredibly frustrating to not be in control. Trying to rationalize your efforts with a cat is futile. He is scared, he is fast, and to be honest I’m not sure that he wants to come home.
Last night, after we laid the trap, we sat out of sight on a park bench… barely breathing and trying to keep quite, hoping to hear a “SNAP!” You could hear a pin drop in downtown Oakland. All of the sudden, we hear a loud MEEEOW and to our left is Bear. He was so close, and looked so precious… just like when he was my baby at home. We didn’t move a muscle and he meowed a few more times and then just as quickly as he showed up, he scampered away not to be seen again.
What was he telling us? To leave him alone? That he knew who we were and wanted us to try harder for him?
One thing is for sure, he is smarter than the average cat. He won’t go near the cat trap… I’ve done a ton of research on catching difficult felines and this process could take weeks. It has been all-consuming and it may just be the beginning.
It’s a comical scene, Melbs and me. Each night we get ready for bed but then around 9pm we pack up our cage, some stinky food for the cat, a big blanket and slink out of our building on a mission. Our neighbors inquire about last nights attempt, and the park security guards always give us a thumbs up when we sneak behind the locked park gates. We are the craziest cat people you know.
For us, this experience has been stressful but has also brought us closer together as a couple. With wedding planning, heaps of travel, and demanding jobs, Melbs and I haven’t spent so much time together in months. Whatever the outcome of our Bear hunting, I know that this is just another colorful part of life and we were meant to live, love, and learn through it.
Wish us luck tonight…