I live in a rural area in a patch of woods on a lake. The only really close neighbor is far enough that I rarely see them and nobody would have any reason to keep him inside if they found him and he was okay so he'd be back by now for sure.
Living in the woods though means that there are a lot of predators. They don't normally come around during the day or around people but the coyotes have been getting bolder and I saw a big fox a couple of miles up the road in the daytime so it is possible that one of them got him. We've lost kittens to hawks in the past too.
It's the way he just seemed to vanish into thin air that's driving me crazy. I saw him being born. Heck, I picked his mother up to move her when she was in labor and he popped out and bumped his head on the floor before he even got to breathe. I expected to be there for him when he died and have his ashes burried along with mine at my parent's grave when the time came. I figured after 18 years he'd earned it.
I'm missing waking up during the night because he's sitting on me. I'm missing being pounced on Sunday morning so I'll give up on sleeping in and get up and give him his Friskies. I'm missing wading through him as he winds around my feet as I stagger to the bathroom half awake when he does get me up.
There's nobody trying to drool on my keyboard and nobody tried to steal my dinner last night. Last week he jumped on the couch just as I sat down a plate of rice and eggs next to me to reach for the netbook and managed to land in my breakfast but I haven't had to worry about that this week. I really, really, wouldn't mind a bit of cat hair in my curry. Or on my black skirt.
I'm thinking that there probably isn't any hope but I still jumped up and ran to the door when I heard something sounded a bit like a cat meowing but turned out to be a bird. I'm not sure what the cut off will be when I can admit that he's gone and box up his unused flea meds, unopened food, and the spare bag of kitty litter and donate them to the shelter.