Feb 11, 2013: Mussi, my beloved tabby from South Chicago, did not return from his nightly outing! At first, I thought he was just extending his nightly trip for a few hours, but Mussi remained gone until after midnight. I started searching the neighborhood over and over, calling his name. After hours of fruitless search activities, I gave up and went to bed. I tossed and turned restlessly until the following morning. Early in the morning, I got up and combed the neighborhood again. I extended the search area a few blocks, puzzled at the situation. I kept calling his name “Muuussssiiii!” Nothing! Where could he be?
On no occasion had Mussi ventured far from the house in the past. In seven years, he’d never disappeared like this. Our silent agreement entailed him checking in with me every 30 minutes or so. He had always been sticking to it a course in miracles. So, what happened all of a sudden? My mind played out the worst horror scenarios. Was he locked in some dark basement? Kidnapped? Run over? Chased away by other cats, or worse, dogs? I felt so desperate that I could not think straight. I was way too depressed and anxious.
I alarmed my family and friends, who were at a loss for words. Everyone loved Mussi and knew him as the most intuitive, smart, gentle tiger from Chicago a course in miracles lessons . They felt sorry for me, as I was still reeling from pain due to another crisis and certainly had enough sorrows. After many more searches, I decided to get help. I asked my sister to contact a woman she calls “witch”, her intuitive friend, healer and animal communicator for advice. This woman tuned in and felt that Mussi was slightly injured and hiding in a basement somewhere. She did not feel that he was locked in, but simply hiding out. She said that she would send him energy and guide him home.
No cat appeared. I checked the basements I could get access to and informed the neighbors to do the same. My frustration grew with every passing hour. I scanned the entire area, again and again. Where could this cat be? A neighbor and I checked two buildings’ ground floors and garages for a cat sign, to no avail. Instead, she introduced me to her cats, who I greeted suspiciously. They looked guilty and could have been involved in chasing Mussi away. Everyone was a suspect at this point. Even the other two black cats from the neighbor straight across seemed to paw around shiftily. I clearly needed sleep!
I started tagging the entire district and beyond with “Desperately Seeking Mussi” posters. The initial batch I put up two days after Mussi’s disappearance, covering several blocks. The densely populated area did not make the choices for flyer placement and neighbor conversations any easier. There were simply too many places where Mussi could be hiding, it was making me dizzy. So, I put flyers on any suitable spot; on buildings, doors, lamp posts, garage doors, garbage bins, you name it – Mussi posters went up! Within days, everyone in the area knew my cat was missing.
As the desperation grew, I decided to talk to one of my friends in LA about an animal communicator she had used years back when her cat was missing. She could not remember the name of the lady in Seattle, so I googled on my own. I found her and sent an emergency request. I guess the animal psychic grasped the severity of the situation. She called me back the same day, after I transferred a bit over a hundred bucks to her PayPal. The information she apparently obtained from Mussi was that he went down an alley way, across a field and then crawled into a hole. He seemed to find the inside of the new territory interesting and decided to hang out for a while. This sounded totally unlike Mussi. She claimed that he wasn’t locked in and could potentially get out on his own. She further mentioned that the building was near my house and that we would be reunited one day.
I continued to put more posters up in the neighborhood and ask around. A guy called from a few blocks away, claiming that he had spotted Mussi in his yard. I drove down there instantly, but the cat, of course, was gone. I checked the area, but there was no hint of Mussi.
I expanded the poster and search area a few more blocks. I tagged the post office, the outside of stores, pretty much all lamp posts in the area, bus and train stations. It was cold out. Deep winter had arrived. It did not make Mussi’s survival or my search any easier. Many ol’ nights I froze my fingers off, posting flyers. I did not want to imagine what the cold spell meant for Mussi, wherever he was. I could not bear the thought of Mussi freezing to death somewhere out there in midwinter.
My phone really starting ringing now. I received calls from numerous people, claiming they spotted Mussi in the cemetery, close to a bus station and sitting on a trail and under a car. However, none was able to either snap a picture or catch the cat. As I was at work, it was not always feasible for me to drop everything and follow vague leads.
Then, one Saturday, I got a call from a French lady who found and held a grey tabby captive. She snapped a picture and sent it. I was on a horse when I got the call, about an hour away. I hurried back as the somewhat blurry picture could have been Mussi. An hour later, I found the French lady in the described area, with four children and a cat gathered around her. Deeply impressed at her determination and persistence, I thanked her immensely for trying to help. Unfortunately, the captured cat was not Mussi and could get released.
It had been way over a week now and still no cat. He was my precious baby, who moved from Chicago to Zurich with me, three and a half years ago. He loved Switzerland as he could venture outside, which was not feasible downtown Chicago. All my life I’ve had cats, but none as special as Mussi. I was deeply connected to him and loved him from the bottom of my heart. Mussi to me resembled a cat embodiment of Mother Teresa. I knew he was alive, but I simply was unable to fathom where. I missed his cuddling up to me every night, his comfort when I was not feeling well and the many different faces and sounds of Mussi.