Cosmo is Home After Three Years Missing

Cosmo is an outdoor-access cat that had been living at his current home, an apartment in the greater Boston area, for 5 years before he went missing.  This story is as told by his owner who would like to remain anonymous.

Lost 12/6/11         Reunited 12/24/14

My cat, Cosmo, went missing after he got out during a thunderstorm. I put out over 700 posters, I got a few sightings but you never know if they are your cat. Then a woman called saying she thought my cat had gotten into a fight with hers. I went over to her place and looked at the fur on the ground; it matched my cat’s. I hired a search dog. We went to the fight spot and the dog immediately picked up Cosmo’s scent. First, it told me my cat was alive (which was a joyous relief) and then the dog mapped the path that Cosmo had been following.

I ran into someone I knew in the area and he said I could put a camera and trap in his yard. His yard was down the street from the cat fight and on the search path. I got a picture of Cosmo the first night. Everything looked like it was going to work out and then I couldn’t get him to go into the trap. He came only late at night or at dawn, and would not go into the trap.

Cosmo would not enter the trap.  (Note: dates on photo are not accurate)

Cosmo would not enter the trap. (Note: date/time on photo may not be accurate)

No matter what I did and yes, I tried sardines. I trapped eight cats and a possum and did this for six weeks, checking the track every two hours. I also walked the track path each morning and evening, about two miles each day. Everyone in the neighborhood of the trap was also looking for him. No one saw him, even though I got him on camera almost every night. In addition, I started a treat, fur, and catnip trail home to my house, which was about five blocks away. I also tried a drop trap, with no success. Finally, after six weeks I really didn’t feel I could stay in their yard anymore and trapping simply wasn’t working. There were other cats that came by who also wouldn’t go into the trap. They would eat the food up to the trap, like Cosmo, but not go into the trap. And I could tell they were really hungry.

Cosmo shows up but the food has already been eaten.

Cosmo shows up but the food has already been eaten.  (Note: date on camera is not correct)

I asked two retired ladies who lived next door to where I was trapping if I could put some food and a camera out in their yard. They were home all day and they would keep an eye out for him. He found the food immediately, but so did the rest of the cats in the neighborhood. The food would usually be gone.  Here he is sad and limping, so I knew he had been attacked (see Video 03 below).  He came to this location every night but they never saw him. I did this for two weeks.

I laid the treat trail every night and had another search dog track. This time I shared the expenses with a couple who had been looking for their cat for months. The search dog found their cat four houses away. It was just too afraid to come out. They had walked past that house over 100 times calling for it.

With the second search came good news. The path Cosmo was following was closer to home and I felt like he was making his way back. After this track, I put out new posters around the new path, put posters in every single person’s house along the way and talked to as many people as possible. But when your cat only comes out late at night posters, CraigsList, and other places are just wastes of time. No one sees him, but people will continue to call with sightings of other cats. I came to realize that I was spending all my time chasing other people’s cats.

Then finally one of my neighbors saw him one night in my yard looking at the house so I knew he was back in the neighborhood and could stop leaving the trail. Then I put cameras and food around my house and on my porch. It took a long time, but I finally got him on camera again. Here he is in my backyard (see Video 04 below).  But he was so scared he would just come by once late at night and then I wouldn’t see him again for months. Then I got a picture of him on my front porch. Watch when he turns his neck. As you can see, he survived a pretty bad attack (see Video 05 below).

Finally, about a year ago, I heard a cat fight on my back porch. I went out in time to see two cats run away. I called out but no luck. I looked on the camera and saw that it was Cosmo and also saw that he had gotten chased away by the same cat that I believe beat him up and chased him out of the yard three years go. Here he is right on my back porch just about to go into my back porch door when Cosmo senses the cat coming up the steps and tries to hide (see Video 06 below). The cat appears (see Video 07 below) and they run away fighting (see Video 08 below). It was a non-neutered cat and they don’t like any males around. I decided I wouldn’t leave food out so the other cat would go away but he still hung around; he was so hungry I saw him eating frozen cat food in the snow so I couldn’t let him go hungry; I decided I would get him into the house and adopt him. Unfortunately, the next week he showed up sick or wounded. He could barely get up the steps. I thought he had been hit by a car. Animal Control took him to the vet and it turned out he had water on his lungs and there was nothing they could do. It was really sad because he was so friendly (towards people, anyway). I kept the camera, catnip, and treats on my porch hoping that Cosmo would come back after the cat’s scent dissipated.

Anyway, I have since kept the camera up and the happy ending is I have my cat back. Someone picked him up (I think he must have gotten so weak from starvation that he eventually let someone come near him) and brought him home to his house as a pet for his father. Fortunately for me, his father was allergic so they brought Cosmo to Kitty Connection in Medford. After all I had done, if he hadn’t been allergic…  Anyway, he’s lost about half his weight and has kidney failure. Used to weigh 12 pounds, now about 6. He didn’t know me and wouldn’t even look at me. Just crawled into a corner at Kitty Connection and refused to look at anyone. They said he hadn’t even meowed since they got him. It was so sad. But then when he walked into my apartment, he knew he was home. He became really animated and started walking around, smelling his bed and the place where he once found a mouse. And then when I took out some chicken (his favorite) he gave out a loud happy meow and did what he always does when I give him something he likes–rubs his head against my hand and purrs loudly. I was supposed to give him an IV but he’s been drinking pints of water since he came home and looks really good. He came home Tuesday, Christmas Eve and by Thursday he had eaten half a roast chicken and three cans of tuna. I don’t know where he put it. It was a nice Christmas present! Here is a picture of Cosmo from Kitty Connection’s newsletter.

Photo from Kitty Connection's newsletter

Photo from Kitty Connection’s newsletter

This entry was posted in Found after several years, Humane Trap, Kindness of Strangers, Lost in Winter, Online Search or Postings, Outdoor-Access Cat, Pet Detective or Search Dog, Shelter or Rescue Group, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cosmo is Home After Three Years Missing

  1. Your story inspired us again! We are looking for our cat that escaped from a cat sitter place in Lebanon CT last September 3rd 2014. We hope that someday we can be as happy as you are now with Cosmo back at home! Our Tigre will be 2 years old next April 10th 2015, classic tabby like cat neutered male. Big boy 15/16 pounds when missing. Congrats! Victoria Victoria

  2. That is bananas! We are missing our cat Howie and the lengths we’re going to. . . it’s borderline psychotic. But this is our fur baby! The most insane thing about this story is that after all the efforts to find/trap him, it was some random person taking him in that did it. We’ve done flyers, camera, door to door, signs, etc, and since our boy is microchipped that’s our last hope. So glad you got your baby back; we’re waiting for our happy ending.

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