Lost Cat Found in Florida

Florida cat escapes out the window, found with help from a pet detective in Georgia. Here are the details from Susan, Tango the cat's owner in Jacksonville Florida:

Dear Lost Cat Finder,


Thank you so much for your book and all the research that went into it.  I truly appreciate your expert help, especially since you don't know me at all. 


I want to introduce myself so I can thank you properly.  My cat is home as of tonight, and it's because of your book.


I live in a new home in a historic neighborhood in north Florida.  My house and my neighbors' houses are mostly one-story bungalows built on piers, with crawl space beneath them.  My cat, Tango, is just over a year old, and except for a dramatic and traumatic highway experience when he came to me, has never been outside.


On Monday the weather was nice and I opened two windows to get some ventilation in the house.  Tango loves it when the windows are open and has a stool by one, and a chair and scratching post by the other.  When I went to sleep Monday night, he was half on his scratching post and half on the window sill of the open window in my bedroom sifting through whatever scents the night air was bringing him.  About 20 minutes later, I came awake to a weird thump type noise.  I rolled over and looked and the screen had been bent with the top corner of it out of the window, Tango out the window along with it.  When I got to the window I saw Tango and one of the many free ranging cats in my neighborhood, both atop the privacy fence between my house and the next door neighbor's, all puffed up, but otherwise simply staring at one another.


I called to Tango softly.  I didn't want to scare him, and I didn't even particularly want to scare the other cat, because I was afraid if it took off, Tango might take off after it.  After a tense few seconds the other cat jumped down to the neighbor's side of the fence and Tango jumped down on our side of the fence.  I called to him again, but he was still much more interested in the fence than in me.  I left the window to put on shoes and come outside.  And by the time I got around to the side of the house, Tango was nowhere in sight.


I walked all around the house, and around the block, mainly to try and see if I could tell if he'd jumped the fence to the neighbor's yard.  Then all around the house again.  Then I went inside and promptly burst out sobbing.  It was as if coming inside meant I was giving up.  So eventually, I went back outside.  I sat on my front porch and called and called and called.  And it paid off.  After a while the floodlights on the opposite side of the house Tango disappeared from came on,  Then a shadow of a cat preceded Tango down the driveway and up the front walk.  But he was completely freaked out and skittish.  Though I was talking to him, and I have no doubt that's what pulled him to me, it was as if he didn't recognize me.  He slinked past me on the far side of the walk from where I was, and I made no effort to catch him.  I was convinced in that moment that if I'd moved toward him, he'd have been gone.  He passed beyond the front porch light and into shadow again.  And that's the last time I saw him until tonight.


Yesterday the microchip company had something or sent me something about cat personalities.  I found it fascinating, and more interesting was the story of a woman in Connecticut who hired a detective to find her cat for her. 


Curious, I searched "lost cat pet detectives" after last night's failed attempts to get Tango back, and found your book.  As I told you this morning, I read until I was falling asleep.  I would have been crushed believing my own ignorance cost me the chance to get my cat back.


After 3 hours of sleep, with a full work day at two jobs ahead of me, I was so unhappy to find that your book had disappeared off my computer in the middle of the night.  I was so grateful to you for sending me the link again.


I'd mentioned my lost cat search to my boss at my second job (teaching dance at a local dance studio, which explains Tango's name).  It turned out one of the other instructors also had considerable experience with lost cats.  He offered to come over and help me look in all the crawl spaces and hiding places Tango might be.  Then our boss decided everyone should come over after work tonight, to scout around the house together.

This made a lot of noise, and in terms of finding Tango, proved rather ineffective, but it may have convinced Tango his safe hiding spot might not be so safe after all. They left, the one instructor knowledgeable about cats promising to come back early tomorrow in casual clothes to help me search underneath my house.

I slowly went about my bedtime routine, making noises probably familiar to Tango as I washed my face and turned down the bed.  I came out into the main part of the house, leaving the bedroom dark and quiet.  And within 15 minutes, thought I heard a cat sound.  Of course, I've imagined cat sounds a lot over the past few days, so when it didn't repeat, I figured I was mistaken.  And then unmistakably I heard a cat's meow.  It wasn't until I got in my bedroom and called Tango softly and he howled his, "please, please, please don't take me in a car to the vet" cry that I was sure it was Tango I was hearing and not one of the neighborhood cats.  And sure enough, there he was. He got sort of skittish, I guess, because he started to walk away down the side of the house.  And I went a little quietly crazy, I suppose.  Because I wasn't going through Monday night all over again.  I grabbed a bunch of fur on his back and hauled him backward until I could reach the nape of his neck, and then I pulled him up through the window.  He didn't mind though.  He purred.  I didn't let him go! I don't think he's in an immediate hurry to repeat his adventures.


Anyway, that was the long version.  Mainly I wanted to thank you for giving me hope last night, and for the suggestions about luring him back and setting up to be ready, though I sincerely hope I never have to put that knowledge to use again!


Many thanks, from Tango and me.  I'll attach a picture if you'd like to see who you helped to save.


  I would be thrilled if my story helps someone else.  After all, reading your other people's lost cat stories helped us quite a bit.


I'm a therapist in my full time job.  Usually when things start going well for people again, they stop coming in, so it's always so lovely to have someone let me know of their good outcome, and I figured you'd like to hear about Tango's and mine.  :)

P. S.  I'm going to order your book/video for a friend as a gift.  Hopefully Paypal will let me do that.  I have a friend with multiple cats who said he couldn't help me  because the idea of what I was going through was so terrifying  to contemplate with regard to his own cats, that he was completely immobilized. 


I thought maybe if he had your "pet detective" information prior to anything happening to one of his cats, he'd be better able to deal with it.  And I thought it would be a fitting thank you for  all the help your "How to Find a Lost Cat" book provided me.


Thank you again!


Susan Rucker

Jacksonville, Florida

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