Nearly three years ago, my cat Titchy came to the end of her time with us at the reasonably old age of 13.
She'd gotten skinny and fragile plus wasn't keeping food down, and then didn't come home the day we were going to take her to the vet.
So that Christmas we got a kitten, Boodle, to join the 3 remaining cats.
Boodle was the most smoochy cat I've ever known. She would snuggle around my neck, sleep on my head at night, and give me big raspy licky kisses. It was like having Titch back, only waaay smoochier. She was always in the garage waiting for us when we got home and never missed a meal - unlike the other 3, who would regularly be late or miss a meal entirely.
Sadly, last November (Guy Fawkes weekend) she failed to show up for breakfast, and then didn't show when we got home that afternoon. We haven't seen her since.
So when I finished work for the Christmas break, we went to the SPCA and came home with Tui, a scruffy black kitten. She would lose traction on our wooden floor due to fluffy feet.
To our extreme distress, she too failed to appear when we got home last Monday.
She was 4 months old.
Tui was still being fed inside, and had never ventured beyond our section and was even more reliable than Boodle at turning up. So we knew that same day that we'd lost her, too.
We think to a dog. Our neighbours lost their guinea pig between our two cats' disappearances, and Steve saw a strange dog in the vicinity of our house this weekend. We haven't had stray/ wandering dogs for quite some time. Plus Burma, one of our other three cats was injured about 10 days ago, we thought in a fight. Now that she's letting us look at it, we wonder again about a dog being involved.
So now we worry when any of the other 3 don't turn up when expected.