Baba may be the world's sweetest cat and I have had more than one person mention stealing him because he is so wonderful! Thankfully this was not a case of theft, but Baba is obsessed with getting outside. When we got him as a kitten we lived on a very busy street and did not feel comfortable allowing him to be an indoor/outdoor cat. After I moved to a quieter area, I would have considered letting him try this, but he escaped one day and was gone for five days. This was about 9 years ago, and I told him then, in no uncertain terms, that he had blown any chance he might have had of me letting him outside willingly. Since then, he darts for the door, but we know better and guard it vigilantly.
However, in April, our trusted housesitter must have missed Baba slipping out the back door while letting our puppy out. When they realized what had happened hours later, he was long gone. When we got back in town, we began the search. A search that lasted 6.5 weeks.
We spent every night for the first several weeks walking the neighborhoods surrounding us and calling for him. We began making huge flourescent posters with his picture and information on it and posting them in intersections. We graduated to creating over 2000 flyers and passing them out door to door in the nearby area hoping that someone would recognize him and call us. We spoke with one animal communicator who confirmed that he was alive and well, but most definitely lost. We kept searching.
Our dear family friend, who loves his pets as much as we do, gave us the information to contact Annette and even offered to pay for it. Bless you, John, what a gift to give. When we spoke with Annette, she confirmed that Baba was alive and lost. She tried to help us get a visual of where he was at, and it seemed that he was not spending too much time around humans but rather following around other cats. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we would speak with Annette for an update and she continued to try to tell Baba to go to a human. I can't say that I didn't get discouraged at times or lose hope, but it helped SO much knowing that even if my walks felt futile, Annette was working on him to make himself seen (since so many people in the community had our flyers or had posters near them, we felt sure we would get a call as soon as he let himself be spotted by someone.) In fact, we went on tons of "Baba sightings" and discovered that there are an enormous number of orange cats out there! Someimtes we would go to see a cat and by the time we got there, the cat would be gone. Those were the hardest ones because we didn't know whether to keep looking for him in that area or not since we couldn't confirm or disconfirm.
About six weeks into the search, we had to go out of town to a friend's wedding, and we planned with Annette to check in with her when we got back in town. Bless her heart, her mom was dying at the time and she was still trying to send Baba the message to go to a human. It still seems surreal, but on the fifth day of our trip I got a call from a man who said that he had a cat that looked much like Baba in his yard. It was in a totally different area than we had been looking, and over a mile and half from our house. I didn't even feel vaguely excited as I had had so many let-downs in the past, but I did call a friend to go check it out---just to rule it out, for my peace of mind.
She called to tell me it was Baba, and I just couldn't believe it. After all that time, 6 1/2 weeks, and to be so far from where I even thought he had gone. But in fact, what eventually brought him back to us was that he went up to the house of a nice man who has several cats of his own. This man had seen him in the yard for a few days, and Baba was acting nervous, but then on the third day, the man saw our poster up close and realized that he had our cat!
I really could hardly believe the news and even when they sent me a picture on my phone of Baba back at home in our kitchen, I was still in disbelief. We weren't coming home from vacation for another four days and the whole time I just kept trying to wrap my mind around the fact that our sweet boy had finally been returned to us. It's one of the greatest gifts and blessings I have ever received. He has been back at home, healthy and happy for almost two months now. I'm still a nervous wreck around the doors and plan to buy a pet GPS as soon as we can afford it. But we are grateful. So grateful. To God for bringing Baba back, to Annette for sending him the messages, to Baba for making himself seen.....
I don't know how I'd live through another trial like that, but this certainly has made a good story.
Thank you Annette, blessings and light to you, Dara