Hug him and squeeze him.

Mrs. A would probably not want to bring this up, but it appears as though we've lost our cat.

How do you lose a cat, you might ask. Don't cats run away?

Well, yes. That is mostly correct. George was found by me and Mrs. Austin about 5 years ago, very shortly after we moved to Austin. He was a stray that would hang out by our house a lot, so we started feeding him. Of course feeding him kept him coming back, and eventually we pissed off the landlord by cutting a hole in the garage door to make a cat door. It was a homemade cat door, by the way. I thought it'd be easy to cut out a square, put some hinges on it and voila! But guess what, that only works in Archie comics.

Anyway, George moved with us 2 1/2 years ago to the house we now live in. He never strayed like you hear about when people move the pets go nuts looking for their home. We always left the garage door open a little ways so he could come in. He was a fat friendly cat. (Was, how dare I.) Mrs. A, however, is allergic to cats so he had to stay outside, but she would see him every day and give him a little love.

So last week we noticed that we hadn't seen him lately, in almost a week. Well, once you realize you're missing something it doesn't matter when it was last you saw it, steps have to be taken immediately. Mrs. A printed up fliers and we took turns canvasing the neighborhood. Now, most of our neighboors are latino, but I'm hoping even they could recognize an animal and a phone number.

So it's days later now and we haven't got any calls. George has tags, but we always get collars that break away, so he doesn't get caught on something, and they break away and get lost. I haven't quit grasped the logic behind that one yet, but I know it's circular.

George is apparently pretty old. The vet says he's about 15, but I don't think that's right. He wasn't much older than 2 or 3 when we found him. I don't think he's even 10 yet. However, he does have FIV, and I'm thinking that if anything, he finally succumbed to that. But I sure didn't see any signs of declining health. Animals, I hear, have a way of knowing when it's time and they tend to go off and find a quiet place. I sure hope I don't stumble on that place in a few weeks.

The other thing is, since he didn't have tags, someone may have found him and either kept him or turned him over to the animal shelter. We haven't called the shelters yet, I'm afraid to honestly.

I just hope he comes back. Mrs. A really misses him.

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