My parents' younger cat disappeared recently. Four weeks ago today was the last time they saw him. He was mostly indoors but sometimes would slip out to play around the house and yard. Neutered, never roamed even when he did get out. Mostly just rolled on the steps right by the door, then would come in. Well, he got out a month ago and disappeared. We held out hope for a while, but I had mostly given up after a couple weeks.
Then they were coming home today and found him dead in the yard -- a very open space. Some fur missing (he tended to have some hot spots, but they were growing in again well the last time I saw him, a few days before his disappearance), no obvious injuries.
My mother said the other cat was acting disturbed yesterday, and that she heard a tiny sound from outside in the middle of the night, but thought it was nothing, or a bird. But if it was him, he should have been discovered in the open yard if he had arrived in the last day, because my dad is over there with the dogs all the time. In any case, it is unknown what led him to go away for four weeks and then return home to die outside in the open, not even near a tree or in/near brushy cover, of which there is plenty.
I feel terribly sad, although he was never really "my cat". He was only 2.5 or so. Does anyone have any idea what could be behind this? I just want some notion of what could have caused it, or if it happens often, or what.
Thank you all very much.