I don't like allowing cats outdoors. It's too big a place for them, too much to get hurt on, too many ways for them to get into trouble. When Dave abandoned Precious last year, I wanted to find him a new home. Hubby had grown attached to him and had other plans.
I tried to make an indoor cat out of him, but Butterscotch and his own nature kept getting in the way. During the winter it looked promising, since he'd stay in for hours at a stretch and he found himself a few places to sleep in that he seemed comfortable with. He simply wouldn't use a litter box so we had little choice but to let him out periodically. During the winter months he'd go do his business, and be back in the house within an hour or so. That changed when the snow melted. As the weather warmed up he started stretching that hour.
Whenever he was outside, he didn't go that far. If either of us went outside to do something, he'd be between our feet inside of 5 minutes. We could look out one of the windows and see him sunning himself or taking a bath. He'd go across the road to chase mice in the hay field, he'd travel up the road to say hello to Ed, even hang around to play with Ed's kids if they were outside. Sometimes he'd go in the other direction down the road to Dwayne's to supervise the garden work or taunt Dwayne's dog when it was outside.
When we would come home from someplace he'd appear out of nowhere and jump into our laps as soon as we'd open the car door. He'd rub his head on our neck and purr up a storm. He's a neutered male and they don't tend to travel as large a territory as a full male will. Cats are also critters of habit. They tend to want to eat at certain times.
Friday night he came in at his usual time and stayed indoors for a few hours. He knew a storm was brewing I guess, indoors is safer than outdoors during one of those. He woke Hubby up around 4 am to eat and be let out. When Hubby went to go to work, Precious climbed into the pick up truck and wouldn't get out so Hub carried him to the deck and sat him down. That was the last we've seen of him.
I swore I wasn't going to get attached to him because I was sure that this would happen. I spent months trying to convince myself that I didn't like him since he was such an ungrateful wretch. What cat in it's right mind would turn up it's nose at a lifetime of pampering and choose to spend it's time outdoors? I suspect that choice is easy for a cat that prefers it's own company over that of other cats.
I braved the mosquitoes last night to hunt for him and Hubby left at 6 to do the same. We're keeping a watch out for him just in case, but we both think he's gone. We didn't find him along the roads around here and if something happened to him in the woods, the trees aren't telling. We only know he isn't here, and there are tears. We are heartbroken.
UPDATE: WE FOUND HIM! There's an abandoned trailer up the road and someone locked him inside of it. He's eaten an entire bowl of cat food and drank half a bowl of water. He now doesn't want a thing to do with us. He'll get over that I'm sure, and in the future he'll be very wary of strangers since this appears to have been an intentional act.