Most cat owners have a close relationship with their domestic cat companion. It can be at least as strong as any relationship between people. For many the relationship that they have with their cat is the key relationship in their lives. And I don’t want anybody who reads this to snigger and think it’s funny. It is perfectly normal for a person to have close bond with their cat companion, which explains why if and when they are lost, they can experience overwhelming emotions. I realise that some readers will immediately think that Ms Hogan is the author of her own problem as she could have kept her cats indoors. However, you probably know that in the UK the default cat caring method at the moment is to allow cats to go outside unsupervised. More owners are deciding to keep their cats confined nowadays.
We need to remind ourselves of the depth and strength of the relationship which very much comes across in an online news media story today. It concerns Teresa Hogan, living in Bristol, UK, who is convinced that her two cats have been stolen. Their names are Harry and Skippy.
Note: Owners of indoor/outdoor cats can put themselves through mental conflict as there is always the possibility that their cat won’t come home. It is a price they pay for their decision.
Harry is about 14-years-of-age with a couple of medical issues and Skippy is over 10-years-of-age and is wary of people, which is good.
As is usual, Ms Hogan and her cats had a nice, settled routine. Her boys would go outside together and return during the night. One night, Harry did not return. Of course, she immediately noticed and felt something was wrong. Within 24 hours she was searching for Harry and putting up posters.
Three days later, on September 23, 2022, Skippy didn’t return home. Ms Hogan contacted the police. She told them that her cats had been stolen although she doesn’t have any hard evidence which makes it very difficult for the police. They’ve been supportive which is nice to know. The police said: “We received a call at around 8.30am on Monday 26 September from a woman in Brentry, Bristol, who reported her cats as being stolen. Enquiries have been carried out, but at this stage we have no evidence to suggest a criminal offence has been committed.”
This is about all they can say and do. It leaves Ms Hogan in a very difficult position because she must have felt helpless. This added to her distress.
She is self-employed but finds it difficult to work and she’s spending all her time and energy in looking for her cats. She said: “I am on a low income, but this is my priority, and I will work every waking hour to get money to spend on the safe return of my cats”.
And tellingly she said that “the pain this separation is causing is unbearable. The feelings are so overwhelming it feels that I cannot breathe and just want to go outside and scream”.
She said that she has a very strong bond with her boys. She is suffering and senses that her boys are also suffering from their separation. She said: “The stress they are going through is really detrimental to their health. They need to come home. This is a monstrous thing that has been done to them.”
She decided to hire a private detective to find her cats. In the UK, there is a well-known cat detective who I have written about. As I recall he has a pretty good success rate. It’s going to cost thousands of pounds but her dedication to the return of cats will see her through it.
When Harry became sick about six years ago, she realised how important he was to her. She prayed that he would be well again. It took longer for her to develop a strong relationship with Skippy but realised one day that “I had developed a deep emotional bond with him about four years ago”.
I feel for her loss. They’ve just disappeared. It must be torture for her because she does not know if they are still alive, which must have crossed her mind. Non-purebred cats can be stolen to be sold to laboratories for animal testing. They will not be stolen to be sold as a pet in my view.
But the story at the moment is about the pain that Ms Hogan is feeling. It is a reflection of the close emotional bond that millions of cat caregivers have with their companion feline and the benefits that domestic cats bring to millions of people in all the world’s countries.
P.S. social media can be a powerful tool sometimes in these situations. Ms Hogan might consider using it.