August 21—We lost Charlie.
We don’t know how this was possible. Charlie is the original scaredy cat; he jumps at his own shadow and runs away whenever you want to pet him. The only time he is affectionate is at night. Then he climbs into bed with me, kneading biscuits on my arm or leg, wanting attention. Finally after a while, he settles down and curls up next to me, while I rub his tummy.
We have been very, very careful about making sure the cats stay away from the door. In reality, though, they skitter away from it whenever we go in or out. And whenever we start putting things away, in preparation for taking off, they go into hiding.
Charlie’s hiding place is in the cabinet under the sink, where we had taken a door off, originally with the intention of putting the litter box there. (Xena took to climbing into the litter box as her safe place, so we removed it from the cabinet. We didn’t want her hiding in her toilet!) This morning when we left, I thought I had looked to make sure he was there; perhaps I assumed he was there and didn’t look. I don’t remember.
We packed up and left at 8:40 a.m. We made one stop at the gas station, but he could not have gotten out there, since I stayed in the motorhome, and my chair is next to the door. We made another stop at Dateland, where we shared a date shake and a cactus shake (both delicious). We could not have escaped there, either, since we were by the door and in and out quickly.
So, the only place he could have gotten out was in Yuma, in the RV park where we were staying. How, we don’t know.
All we know is that when we stopped tonight in a small town near Bisbee, Ariz., I looked for him and he was nowhere to be found. We have opened every door, looked in every cranny. We even opened the basement doors! He must be back in Yuma.
I called the RV park, and the caretakers looked all around, to no avail. They said they would continue to keep an eye out for him.
I’m afraid, though, that he is gone. Jim irrationally wants to take the car and return to Yuma to look for him. Rationally, he knows there is little chance of finding him. Either the heat or a coyote has most likely gotten him.
Charlie was a good cat, even though Jim would get mad at him for not being a “cat.” He wasn’t affectionate, except when he wanted to be. He fled from strangers, would not climb into your lap (except when you were eating ice cream), and wouldn’t let you pick him up unless it was his idea. To me that is typical cat behavior. But the cats Jim has always had were different. They did all the things Charlie (and Xena) didn’t do.
Despite his cat-shortcomings, however, Charlie was my pet. I salvaged him from the animal pound when he was only about eight weeks old, in June 1998. (I got Xena from an acquaintance about a month later.) I named him Charlie, because that is what Dad always called Rob. It seemed the perfect name.
I feel sad; I think Jim feels even sadder, even though he often threatened Charlie when Charlie disdained his advances.
Charlie, we miss you! Will you be one of those miracle cats who finds their way home after years on the road? We can always hope.
Long live Charlie, long live the cat.
Until next time,
Your Reluctant RoVer,