Warning: This post be long, as I gave my Inner Crazy Cat Lady full rein. If you don't want to read it all, that's okay. The salient point here is that Frank is home. A little wounded and traumatized, but more or less safe and sound. Thanks to everyone who posted their prayers & sympathies!
I cried every day for two weeks. I reported Frank missing via every agency I could think of. I put up posters. I searched the woods and walked streets in our neighborhood. And I cried some more.
The first week I ended up working from home. I had tried going into the office, but I just couldn't handle being there - I was in danger of bursting into tears at any moment. I feel more grateful that ever for the ability to work from home when I need to.
This week, the second week, I managed to make it through the days at the office, but I still cried in the evenings after work. Yesterday, Thursday, was a hard day and I felt like I barely made it through. I have been veering back and forth between devastation at the realization that Frank was gone and panic at the thought that he was still out there somewhere and he needed me to find him.
I hit my limit and left work around 4:30. Being honest, I was crying in the car on the way home.
For the past two weeks, every time I arrived home I have scanned the hill and looked at the front step, hoping to see Frank. Two weeks people!
Yesterday, I pulled in and there was a big grey tabby on the front step. We fixed the cat fence on Monday, so I knew Zappa should not have been sitting on the front step, but I was afraid to believe it could be Frank, so my first reaction was to tell myself it must be Zappa. But it wasn't. I almost couldn't believe my eyes.
When I pulled the car in the driveway, Frank ran from the step to the tree by the corner of the cat fence. I jumped out of the car and went to get him. I had been quietly crying in the car driving home, but carrying Frank into the house I was out-of-control sobbing. Poor Husband. He's been living with my crying because Frank was gone for two weeks, now I come in carrying my poor mess of cat and I'm still crying. I was just overwhelmed.
A little later when I went out to bring the car in, and went down to grab the mail while I was at it, I was laughing uncontrollably. Anyone who saw me would have thought me deranged, I'm sure.
Frank was quite a mess. Wet, of course, because it had been raining for the past two days. His fur was all matted with twigs, branches and leaves stuck to it. He ticks on him. I could tell he was thinner. I wondered how I'd ever get him cleaned up, he's not one to sit through being groomed.
We watched him wandering around the house. He couldn't seem to settle. Poor Zappa was seeming quite freaked out. Then we started noticing some little smudges of blood on the floor as he walked around, so we immediately called the vet. They were pretty booked, but said if I brought Frank over they'd fit me in. I have never been so patient, sitting and waiting in a vet's office; I was just so relieved to be there with Frank.
The vet we saw was one we'd not met before, but she was wonderful. We removed a bunch of ticks. She weighed Frank and he is down to 14.3 lb from 17 lb on his last visit (I can tell both looking at him, and when I pick him up). The vet found a wound on his side, she had to shave that area to treat it and ended up shaving off a whole lot of fur on his belly and chest because it was so matted.
The vet says it looks like he got hurt in a fight, and the wound turned into an abscess. She says he would have been sick and feverish. The abscess burst, which she said is the best thing that could have happened. It looks to be healing well. She cleaned it up and gave him a shot of antibiotics plus a dose of Revolution for fleas and ticks. She thinks the wound will heal up fine, but if it's not looking better by Monday we should go back and they'll sedate him and close it up.
Back home again, Frank seems fine, though he still seems to have trouble settling. He'll curl up to sleep for 10 - 20 minutes, but then he's up looking for attention. It seems like he needs a lot of reassurance at the moment. It would appear he's been through an ordeal, so that is understandable. He kept waking us up all night long for cuddles. I think he really wants to be sure he's not alone.
Poor Zappa keeps hiding. He's been walking around for the past two weeks, meowing like he lost something, and been even more of an attention hog that usual (and that's saying something). Now Frank is home he doesn't know what to make of it. So I feel bad for him and a little worried. They've lived here together for almost 11 years, so I assume they will adjust.
I am a little apprehensive. I am so glad that Frank is home. I love these cats. But I feel like I never want to let him outside again. Husband keeps saying that we can't let him out to roam any more. So far he hasn't wanted to go out, but I don't expect that will last. If he would be content with the enclosure, that would be great, but I'm afraid he won't because he wasn't before which led to cats peeing all over the house; the only way we solved it was to let the cats have some free roaming time. Granted, they've had more that we would normally allow because of the damage to our fence over the past winter. But any free roaming at all seems like too much to me right now. We will cross that bridge when we come to it I guess.
For now I'm just grateful. I feel like I've been given my very own miracle.