For a few years now, we’ve been feeding a neighborhood stray cat. We’ve yet to find where he’s come from, and no one has claimed him, so we consider him a half-way adopted step-child. If we can ever hold on to him long enough, we’ll get him fixed, his shots and whatever comes with that.
The problem is, and like I just mentioned, he’s kind of difficult to maintain a relationship with. Just last Summer, he disappeared for over two months. When he reappeared on the back porch, he was thin, hungry and suffered from an upper respiratory infection. We were overjoyed to see him so we nursed him back to health. There have been other occasions when he’s disappeared, but none longer than last Summer.
This Winter has been a shady time for Ron Voleman (the name I conjured up for the cat after watching him eat more than a few voles). He’s an unneutered and free-roaming beast. When he sleeps in the garage, he sometimes loves and cuddles and sometimes bolts out the door like it’s the first time he’s ever seen a human. Disconcerting to say the least.
For the past few days, Voleman has been missing. Well, not entirely missing. Every day or two, we see that his food has mysteriously disappeared. The food is in the garage, so we’re sure it’s him sneaking in, eating and then leaving to do what he does. Over the past two days, we’ve become somewhat obsessed about finding him again. Which leads me to this post.
Yesterday, I mentioned that I had a few theories on where this cat goes. I know for a fact that he’s visited a neighbor or two. During a morning drive after a light snow, I followed his little footprints out of the driveway, up the road and into the yard of the house up the street. You can imagine the betrayal I felt when I saw that. Other theories include him scurrying into the drainage pipe down the road (more of a fact than a theory because I’ve physically seen him do this), sleeping in a woodshed through the woods, living in the garage of the old guy down the road and lastly, partaking in a cat colony up and over the hill into the neighboring cul-de-sac.
Regardless of where he goes, we needed to get out of the house today and I thought of no better activity than a hunt for the elusive Ron Voleman.
This morning, we bundled up and went on a trek. I’ll have a short sequence of events via a photo gallery below, but let me just spell it out here to keep things simple. And remember, we were on a tracking mission, so it may seem odd that we visited a few of the places we took pictures of.
First, we went up the driveway and took a right to head down the road. I wanted to see if I could locate cat tracks in the snow near the pipe that runs under the street. A few months ago, I saw Voleman run out the garage door, fly down the road and jump into the pipe. I know this is a favorite place of his, so I wanted to check it first. Unfortunately, no Voleman in the pipe today. I was only able to locate two sets of prints – and they were from last week when we saw him nearby.
We next went across the street to scope out the other side of the pipe. This side is actually the outlet portion of the pipe and even though I’ve never seen the cat near this area, I felt it would be prudent to check it off my list. Especially since there was snow still on the ground to aid in my tracking.
No Voleman there either.
After that, we made our way to the end of all the drainage pipe for the entire neighborhood. This area is where all runoff feeds into a small creek that ends up in a lake that spans across the back of the road and properties. I figured that we may find some paw prints heading in and out of the pipe. No such luck.
We took an about face from there and walked back up the road. I had a few ideas of where this cat may have originated from, but they were in, like I mentioned above, the neighboring cul-de-sac. There are a few suspicious houses and an old cat colony in the woods over there, so I felt our chances where high that we, if nothing else, would find tracks from cat activity.
We hiked through the woods and took a bunch of pictures. I even took some “walking in the snow” video that I’m debating on uploading and posting here. This activity was merely a fortunate side-effect of our hike. What we found at our end point was even more unsettling than what we had done earlier.
After all the photo shoots and videography, we made it to our destination, which was no easy feat considering the depth of the snow. If I do upload the video, you’ll be able to hear it crunching beneath my shoes. Unfortunately, after all my searching (Laura remained in the woods to take pictures), I couldn’t find a thing. All I came across were two lousy foot prints from what I can only guess what a cat. Or small dog. Who knows.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that besides getting some pretty decent pictures of our walk today, we are no closer to uncovering the mystery of where our little orange friend goes off to. If you have experience with these types of things, please share because I sure am interested.
Now, about those pictures…