Mensana
Hi Folks, you have a great site here. Thanks for the work you do. I have read many posts and so many have common threads with my situation but yet I am no further forward with an answer with how to deal with my situation. Might I ask for the groups advice.

My wife and I emigrated a year ago and at the same time we took out two beloved cats (both 12 yr old pedigree Maine Coons) with us. I love cats but to my wife these cats are like the children we dont have. About 6 months ago one of our cats ran away. He knew little of the area around him as we had kept him in our large enclosed garden. Since he went away, my wife and I have posted leaflets, put up posters knocked on doors. Literally every day since his disappearance we and more specifically she has gone somewhere or done something to search for our missing cat.

We live in the country and sound seems to carry in a strange way it doesnt in the city. She is convinced she hears his miaows and sometimes late at night it keeps her awake as if he is calling for help but whenever we go out looking, and I am talking about all and any hours of the day and night, we find nothing. She hears these plaintive wails. Nobody else can, She does seem to have very sensitive hearing.

She tells me she does this to help her cope with his disappearance. I go along with this because if  I dont I wll become the uncaring enemy and she will cut me off which is what I dont want to happen. I go with her on ever more dangerous forays to protect her for other, natural dangers and from herself (walking alongside rail tracks following what she considers as cat trails). She put herself into ever more danger and she has no concept of this, all she can think about is our cat.

I believe she is becoming clinically depressed but she fights on with her job and our house but every waking moment and even her sleep is dedicated in one way shape or form to our cat. I miss our cat but in my head I have said goodbye as I cant hold on to what I consider is false hope for his return. I am not insensitive to my wifes pain, on the contrary every time she calls for him it tears me apart and every new "sighting" of a similar cat kills me because they have never been our cat. I truly worry for her. I cant be with her all the time as I work away but she is truly unhappy, and so am I as a result. I will continue to be her protector without buying into her NEED to search. This i guess could go on for years but I fear for us both with this sustained level of grieff stress and sense of loss.

She subscribes to other forums where she is egged on by well meaning people to continue to look. To take every clue and chase it down. The "you go girl" kind of thing. If these people knew the danger she was putting herself in they might think twice about making such comments.

I am at a loss to know how to help my darling wife. Carry on and be the protector of an ever more desperate lady, confront her with what I see as the real truth (he is gone, dead or just simply too far away to return home), or some other route. I simply dont know any more. Her family worries and pressures me to "say something". To do so would be to cut my wife off from the one source of succour from the one friend who doesnt tell her she should stop what she is doing. Anyone out there have any constructive thoughts. You ever been where I am now or where my wife is? Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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cakes488

I was just like your wife when I lost my cat...it took a very long time to let go.  I am still not over it and it was over 2 years ago...especially since it was my fault that he got out in the first place.    Similar situation as you...I lost my poor boy on my vacation property in upstate NY.  I did the same thing as you and your wife...going out all times of day and night...dusk and dawn to search for him on foot and by car.  I made awesome flyers and posters and went door to door everywhere.  I was so confident that I would find him.  That first night I went out and reminded myself how dark and desolate it is...nobody's going to see him.  And I was right...I never even got a one call about a sighting.  As a matter of fact I had owned the place about 8 years at the time and I had never even seen a cat up there! 

I took all my vacation time to try to look for him...it was heartbreaking leaving the area to go home knowing that he is out there somewhere.   I did a ton of research on lost cats and when they get out they tend to stay in the vicinity.....at first.  They may get chased out of the territory by  other cats, dogs, predators, people and then they end up far far from home.  Often, their mentality changes when they are "lost"...there is something called the lost cat syndrome and if your cat reverts to that it's extremely hard to get them back ...the only way is to trap them.   I bought 3 wildlife cameras and high powered flashlights and set up feeding stations all around town.  I was sneaking around and quite frankly trespassing routinely.  Much like your wife I was consumed with finding my cat and I was confident I would...at first.  Finding anything in the country though is like searching for a needle in a haystack.  Very quickly I realized how difficult this was going to be...but if anyone could of found him..I would of..the things I've listed are just the tip of the iceberg of what efforts I made to try to track my cat Mooch down.
I know you are exhausted...I was too...but I couldn't stop searching until I was forced to when I had to shut the place down for the winter...I suspect your wife will not stop searching until she feels that all hope is lost. 
I'll say one thing...the worst thing you can do (in my opinion) is to have anyone say to her...oh don't worry he's found another home by now..I'm sure someone took him in.  Sadly when a cat goes missing, most oftentimes it doesn't work out like that so saying that does not bring any comfort.   To me it just meant  I should just forget about him since he's warm and comfy in a new home...and when you do the research that is not what happens to lost cats.   =(  
Not sure if I helped you any but wanted to share my similar experience.  It is heartbreaking the never knowing and of the guilt that goes along with the cat getting out. 

Just a quick question though...did you and your wife look for the cat in all the neighbor's property?  In the beginning your guy would not have been far from his home.  But you have to look through the neighbors property and buildings...you can't rely on them to...that's where you need the high powered flashlights.  Also, your wife is receiving encouragement because cats are great survivors and have been know to be found many months and even years later.  

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Beaglemomma
Oh my.  I don't think I can add anything to what has already been said here, but I do want to let you know your wife is not unusual and I beg you to support her for as long as you possibly can.  One thing you learn from this site is that there are "once in a lifetime" pets that differ from all the other pets we truly have loved in our lives.  Nothing I can explain in words they just don't do the subject justice, but please believe me it does happen.  Sounds like this kitty was your wife's "once in a lifetime" pet and it is doubtful anything you can do will change how she feels.  It is hard to watch someone you love suffer so much and I wish I had a quick answer for you, but I doubt there is anything YOU can do to change her thinking.  Hopefully, she will come to the proper conclusion on her own soon and then she will need you even more.

This is no different that telling the parent of a missing child to just give up and accept the loss.  It just isn't possible, that is a place she has to come to on her own.  I can only hope your love for her can stand up under this test, and I DO realize you are suffering too in many ways.  Hopefully, YOUR needs for comfort are also being met.  The statistics of how many marriages fail after the loss of a child is staggering.  It is difficult if not impossible to comfort someone else when you yourself are suffering. 

I wish you peace and comfort and a resolution soon.

After some time to think over your situation and trying to make your issue  personal in the hopes of coming up with something useful and also discussing it with my husband we both agree that if this was our Molly out there, it is doubtful that we would ever give up looking either no matter what.  Not very helpful to you I suppose but just hopefully let you know that maybe your wife isn't so different from the rest of us here in that our pets are quite truly members of the family.  I realize you are concerned for her health and that is certainly a valid concern and I admire you for that, but do try to stick by her and I am sure that anyone reading your story realizes how hard it would be to give up looking for your kitty.  Hope you know that our prayers are with you both and I do hope this has a happy ending.  Sometimes miracles DO happen.
janice
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ahartofilis
Hello,
         I am currently living the situation that your dear wife, and you, are going through. My Siamese cat named Vadie went missing a little over two month's ago. I can relate to every effort your wife has made, how she feels, and how she just cannot give up hope or the search. I can also relate to how you feel as well. You have very legitimate concerns for her wellbeing.
        I live in a rural area with woods surrounding clusters of homes. I have put myself in danger many times, gotten tick bites, fell on a healing broken wrist, gone out at night through woods and the sounds of cayotes in the distance. This was just the beginning of daily searches and putting up flyers, going door to door talking to neighbors, getting yelled at by some not so nice neighbors and through all of this I never once cited my dear missing Vadie.
      I have also done the research on cat behavior have also begun to realize that a displaced cat will most likely wander further away from their home territory in time. Unfortunately they do get lost. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for your wife. I understand her motivation to keep up the search. I also believe that she may have a telepathic level of communication with your cat and can hear him. I say this because there have been many times that I have heard Vadie even if he wasn't there.
          I am honestly extremely worn down from all of this. It is obvious that your wife is as well. I have had to scale down on my search efforts as I work full time and have other demands on my time but I feel guilty at times if I cannot do more. Lately I also realize that my health needs to be considered here and I cannot afford to get sick or injured. I did a lot and even today posted some new posters and went around with flyers. I don't think we ever need to let go of hope but we do need to prepare emotionally for either outcome.
          I will say that I feel you need to be supportive of your distraught wife and it seems like you have done so very much to help her find her cat. Mostly I think she needs emotional support now and she needs to recover from this knowing that you understand why she has been this way. I really do believe that it is a form of grieving that your wife and I are experiencing. It is terrible, the not knowing what happened to our beloved felines. It is really tough and I speak from my own truth.
        I hope that by sharing my experience with you, it has helped in any little way. I am truly sorry that you and your wife have had to go through this...I also try to be mindful and hopeful that something may eventually surface from all of the search efforts. Your wife needs to feel that she did the best she could ..........Sincerely, Andrea
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Mensana
Can I thank everyone that has taken the time to reply to my post. It truly is good to know that there are others out there that understand the road that I travel so to speak. It takes time to construct such replies and it also requires you to revisit the pain and hurt that you clearly feel yet again when you might otherwise want to suppress it for "just another hour". Thank you so much.

I will do my best to stand by my lady when all around me are telling me and her to pull it together. Your thoughts and comments will help me along the way. Thanks folks. You are good people.
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Beaglemomma
Anyone telling you to "pull it together" isn't worth your time.  By now I hope that enough people on this site have contacted you so that you know that you are not unusual and are going through a horrific experience of not knowing what has happened to a little baby you loved. 

It is the not knowing that kills you.  I would be out looking too if it was my Molly that had just disappeared.  Surround yourself with like minded people who can support you and your loving wife. 

Could SHE perhaps come on this site and maybe be receptive to all the love that pours your way here?  Just a thought.  Might be helpful for her to know that others understand what she is going through.
janice
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cakes488
Thank you for standing by your wife...this really is a very difficult time the not knowing....and coming up with all these horrid scenario's in your head. 

The support you give your wife is truly a testament to what a good person you are.  I really could of used support when I was going through it...just knowing you are not alone in this heartache would of been a help instead of being so very alone. 
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