The first half of this story is below
So Mercury traveled most of the way under the seat of the Ford F150 . We spent the nights in three hotels, one of which was NOT pet friendly...I had to sneak him in under my coat. He lived in the Red Roof Inn in Greensboro while we got an apt, and stored all our stuff. Cats can find amazing places to hide in hotel rooms, in the box spring, in the false bottoms of the bed and tv cabinet, behind a false wall where the plumbing was hidden. He drove with me to Pittsburgh (my home) for Christmas and seemed at home there...he then went to New Paltz NY for New Years with Ian's family where he proceeded to find his way into the attic and become a grey cat. There are pictures somewhere of us giving him a bath, it was not pretty. Then back to GSO and into the new apt, 2 cats lived 2 apt down and Mercury got scratched once....then was very good at running away. I was always worried about him finding our apt door among the hundreds of similar doors in the area but he never failed to come home. We tried to put tags and collars on him but he never failed to dump them some where outside. Our door opened onto a small set of woods and he spent most of his time there.
Last year (June 2003) we bought a house, Mercury moved well as he always had and we were cautious with introducing him outside...but this neighborhood had dogs and one day in July he did not come back when called. I worried for 10 days...called every vet in the area, put up signs, and stopped by the pound every day, and then one morning I hear his familiar meow out side...I go to the door and call him, he returned a meow that sounded (I swear) like relief and joy. I think he was meowing at every house and did not think he had the right one till I answered. We thought he looked thin and took him to the vet, and there we had him microchipped. Before his little outing he usually stayed out during the day and came home at night to sleep on our bed. From then on Mercury would never go outside during the day (unless we were out there to). Usually he would want to leave in the evening and arrive back at dawn...he would climb to our window sit on the sill and meow till we got up to let him in. sometimes only minutes before the alarm.
On the morning of Friday Nov 12 he didn't come home.
I thought that he came home last night...and wake to find it was just a dream. I wish I knew what happened....Ian says he thinks he isn't dead...I think he is...the only reason he would not come home during the day would because he could not because he just decided we were no longer up to snuff. I am a biologist I *know* that he does not "love" us, that we are only his food and shelter provider...but why would you leave your pack/mom/family after 5 years, 2 states, and 4 homes. I *know* cats are independant, but this cat came home every 12 hours.
Yesterday I put away his food and water bowl, soon his litterbox, then no trace of him will be here...except the occasional hair.
GoodBye Mercury 1999--2004