Karen Eberhardt-Shelton: My cat’s disappearing act has left me worried, bereft, angry, sad – did curiosity kill Liquorice?

Karen Eberhardt-Shelton: My cat’s disappearing act has left me worried, bereft, angry, sad – did curiosity kill Liquorice?

Karen Eberhardt-Shelton: My cat’s disappearing act has left me worried, bereft, angry, sad – did curiosity kill Liquorice?

First published in News by

The SNJ’s new columnist Karen Eberhardt-Shelton was born in California but grew up in England.

She now lives in Stroud and is currently working on an education project called Learn, Think, Act and is hoping to develop an eco-community land trust.

Her thought-provoking columns will focus on how we all have to take responsibility for our actions and for our planet.

WHY go missing?

Around five years ago I lived in Kingskerswell near Newton Abbot in Devon and was ‘adopted’ by a young, skinny black cat with a little white patch on his chest.

He would have been underfed, poorly cared for and, for whatever reason, chose me as his new mum.

I named him Liquorice and we soon became inseparable.

I got him neutered, fed him fresh, raw meat (had to scrape my purse lining for that) and he turned into a gleaming model of interactive black fluff.

We moved from Kingskerswell to Stoke Gabriel to Lower Godney on the Somerset Levels to Frome and finally to Stroud in February this year.

He and my other two cats, Beatrix and Little Ben, started behaving as though they had lived here all their lives.

There are plenty of other cats around but there’s no malicious behaviour or excessive rudeness.

Well, except for a couple of times when badgers fought loudly in a nearby patch of wood. And twice in the night I’ve heard a fox bark and bark as though urging everybody to listen to what it had to say.

That first lengthy barking took place around 2am on Thursday, July 14.

Come morning, Liquorice didn’t turn up for breakfast.

Odd. He never missed a meal. The entire day passed. No Liquorice.

He didn’t come for supper (all that nice meat) either. Now I was truly upset; this had never, ever happened before.

He was almost more doggish than cat: loyal, interactive, clever, curious, actually in charge of the whole house, savvy about traffic, sensible regarding more or less everything.

It’s now August 4 and he’s still gone. He has been gone for 11 days.

Why, where, how?

Did he run off with the fox? I fed a fox when we lived in Lower Godney – Liquorice showed no fear and often came close to observe the little creature.

Here and now, there’s not a clue, not a single sign of him vanishing; no smell of a rotting body, no yowling from being locked inside a garage or garden shed, no clump of fur on a blackberry vine.

Eleven days; nothing.

I’ve put up plenty of posters, talked to people in the surrounding neighbourhood, contacted all the vets with details, walked around calling, calling, even meowing in a voice he would recognise.

I’m worried sick – is he suffering, in pain, trapped?

Beatrix and Little Ben are mournful and bored without him.

My duvet misses the fragments of outdoor plants he would leave behind after a few hours of sharing my bed.

Curiosity killed the cat. Is that true?

Is there something about the time of year or weather that has led him into the great beyond?

Is he exploring his curiosity without any concern for my anxiety?

I’ve lost pets but primarily to old age.

Now, out of the blue, it seems I have lost Liquorice.

I’m bereft and angry. I am sad beyond measure.

I have lost my appetite.

Only time will slowly heal this, one way or another.

l We hope Liquorice returns safe and well. Have you ever thought you had lost a beloved pet for good only to find that they eventually returned?

You can let us know at stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk

Comments (3)

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8:34pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Crow says...

I saw a dead B&W cat on London Road, in Stroud, near the BP garage. Had a red collar. Probably hit by a car..It was gone this morning. Maybe the council took it?
I saw a dead B&W cat on London Road, in Stroud, near the BP garage. Had a red collar. Probably hit by a car..It was gone this morning. Maybe the council took it? Crow
  • Score: 0

11:05am Mon 11 Aug 14

IknowIamright says...

I feel for you - I think it is so much worse for us cat owners - as because of the very nature of a cat we worry every time they go out - you haven't got that worry with a dog - you take them with you - but having a cat is akin to worrying about a child when he or she ventures out - we always worry about them and very often like dogs in fact - we wouldn't dream of letting our children outside unless we are totally sure of where they are. We cannot do that with cats - they go out and yes they may wander and use someone else's garden for a toilet ( if we cat owners could train them to use their own garden we would gladly - my cat actually does happen to use our garden ) and they may catch birds ( not all cats do ) but they are also very vulnerable to being chased by dogs, knocked down and generally being abused or kidnapped or poisoned by cat hating people. They pay a high price for their freedom and independence. That is why I believe they do have nine lives. They need them! And yes, very often they will turn up safe and well after an adventure of some sort!
I feel for you - I think it is so much worse for us cat owners - as because of the very nature of a cat we worry every time they go out - you haven't got that worry with a dog - you take them with you - but having a cat is akin to worrying about a child when he or she ventures out - we always worry about them and very often like dogs in fact - we wouldn't dream of letting our children outside unless we are totally sure of where they are. We cannot do that with cats - they go out and yes they may wander and use someone else's garden for a toilet ( if we cat owners could train them to use their own garden we would gladly - my cat actually does happen to use our garden ) and they may catch birds ( not all cats do ) but they are also very vulnerable to being chased by dogs, knocked down and generally being abused or kidnapped or poisoned by cat hating people. They pay a high price for their freedom and independence. That is why I believe they do have nine lives. They need them! And yes, very often they will turn up safe and well after an adventure of some sort! IknowIamright
  • Score: 1

8:19pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Salendine says...

Hope your cat turns up, but we were promised thought provoking comments. Not a great start.
Hope your cat turns up, but we were promised thought provoking comments. Not a great start. Salendine
  • Score: 1

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