Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best with his famous quote, "Never, never, never give up." But my mother and I had given in to fear and hopelessness that gripped our hearts and tugged on our souls; our cat Trent was not going to come home.
Trent had a daily routine of going outside to say hello to the neighbors' cats and chase the squirrels for a little bit. He always came back home within an hour or two. But one Friday morning he went outside, turned around, gave my mom a look over his shoulder and then disappeared into the sunrise. He didn't come back that afternoon, he didn't return that evening.
The next day our search began. In the cold rain I hung up posters and handed out flyers to my neighbors, asking them to call if they saw him. Days passed and I walked the same blocks over and over again, calling Trent's name in vain, handing out more flyers with his picture. Our neighbors in the Village of Hamburg were so wonderful to us. They would give us updates of alleged Trent sightings, but we always seemed to get there too late to catch him.
Days turned into weeks with no sign of Trent, and our hope of finding him grew dimmer and dimmer. I think our hearts really sank for good when the freak October storm happened, and the earth was covered in a heavy blanket of snow and downed tree branches. How could our cat survive this?
It was far too cold outside for him to still be alive and nobody was calling anymore with potential sightings. Reluctantly we accepted that our beloved Trent, the cat who had brought us so much joy, would not be coming home again. We mourned him, and thanked God for the years that he had blessed us with Trent's loving nature. My mother was devastated; Trent was her baby, her constant companion.
There was only one thing to do, so it was off to the SPCA to look at the cats in need of new homes. I was instantly drawn to Oliver, a 6-month-old cat who looked remarkably like Trent. As soon as I took him out of his cage, he started nuzzling my face and giving me kisses. My mother fell in love with Oliver right away as well; he curled up in her arms and nuzzled in to her chest like a baby.
He seemed to sense our grief and wanted to let us know that he was the cat who could heal our broken hearts. Oliver went home to my mom, and she spent the next week giving me daily updates on what he was up to, how he was quickly adjusting to his new home.
Exactly six weeks to the day of Trent's disappearance, the most unexpected thing showed up on our doorstep -- the devil himself! He was patiently waiting by the breezeway door, meowing about how hungry he was, wanting to come in and take a nap.
Words can't describe how happy my mother was. She called me screaming that angels had carried her baby home. Trent had somehow survived outside for six weeks, in rain and snow and cold weather, and found his way back to us.
Trent was delighted to be reunited with my mom, but not so thrilled when he saw Oliver. Oliver was more than happy to get a big brother to play with, however.
Trent has readjusted, and it's like he never left us. He's the same beautiful, loving, affectionate cat he's always been. We learned, though, to never underestimate cats -- they are resilient little creatures.
Sarah Hotho, of Williamsville, shares a love of cats with her mom.