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Where’s Bandit? A Missing Cat and the Lessons Learned

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About six weeks ago – August 15th to be exact – my cat Bandit went missing. I began searching for him immediately. Knocking on neighbor’s doors, putting up flyers with his picture, calling and showing up at the local animal shelters, placing an ad on Craigslist, and walking the streets calling his name day and night.

Bandit, a feral cat whom I had adopted about three years ago, was an inside-outside cat, and enjoyed his freedom immensely, but always returned to the safety and comfort of his loving home. So, I was no stranger to him staying out for a few days at time. This means that early on I had hope that he would walk – I mean strut, because Bandit was cool and charismatic – through the little doggie door, give me that “hello meow,” approach me for a quick pet and purr, then be off to eat and take his nap. Yet, as days turned into weeks, my heart sank and I even tweeted my concerns and grief – “Where’s Bandit?” I was consoled by a few of “my tweeples,” Facebook friends, and a Blogcritics writer as far away as Israel took the time to provide some newfound hope. Thanks so much Ruvy, but Bandit is still missing. 

I have always been an animal lover and I am no stranger to losing pets, but as an adult it has always been due to death, not going missing. It started with my two purebred, papered, German Rottweilers (Rotts) [1996 Marilyn (L) and Brigitte (R)] who both died of Lymphoma cancer. This evil disease hit Marilyn at age three and she died in my arms (naturally) on a hot summer day in 1999. In the meantime, Brigitte was diagnosed when she was eight and in an eager attempt to prolong and hopefully save her from this dreaded disease, I went ahead with chemotherapy that my vet told me about, which only kept her around a few months longer than her sister who did not have chemo. In a short time, Brigitte went from a strong, robust, and blissful 130-pound energetic dog to a fragile 90-pound weak one – unable to eat or even walk. Still intact to the bitter end were her unwavering loyalty, the love expressed in her eyes, and her attempts to wag her tail. One of the most heart-wrenching times for any animal lover is when we make that decision – to “put down” our pets. Unwilling to see her suffer anymore, Brigitte’s time had come and on another sad summer day (2004 this time), I said, “Good-bye” to my other best friend

I blame the pathetic breeders and their inbreeding practices for the cancer that took the lives of my Rotts, and since then I refuse to get purebred dogs. Not to mention that we are overpopulated with domestic animals and there are so many pets that need to be rescued. In fact, every time I visit a pet rescue center or the government-run animal shelter, I always leave in tears – from anger when visiting the latter, especially the one here on the Central Coast where I live.

In between the tragic suffering and subsequent deaths of my Rotts, I adopted Jessie, a Chihuahua-Corgi mix [R] and Whiskers a Terrier-Dachshund (Wiener Dog) mix [L].  From their”issues,” it was obvious they had been abused and/or neglected by someone out there. Both are long, painful stories and sadly Jessie and Whiskers are no longer alive. 

After the heartbreaking loss surrounding Whiskers in 2007, I decided take a break from dogs. My sister found two feral cats that were brothers (around seven months old) being kept by a girl who needed to find them a home. We were both immediately smitten and my sister adopted the white one and named him Zeus, while I took in the grey and my daughter named him Bandit. My sister and I scheduled “play dates” for Bandit and Zeus and, amazingly, they would frolic around with such affection every time – proof of the bonds of brotherhood. Later I sought out a friend for Bandit when I rescued Tinkerbelle (a Calico cat) from that hellhole government-run animal shelter in my area. Tink, as I call her, is so wild she won’t let anyone come near her, yet after a year she finally started seeking my physical affection, though only on her terms.

About Christine Lakatos

  • Cindy

    37 LMAO Dr.D. :-)

  • Cindy

    45 zing…who would have guessed you loved lucy? :-) she was a fav of mine too. so many wonderful female characters modeled on lucy* too. i predict you read janet evanovich and like stephanie plum, no? if you don’t, you should. stephanie is a character in the lucy tradition.

    *(as a matter of fact, a fiction book i have been working on is based on a lucy-like character)

  • Dr Dreadful

    (named after lucille ball, the greatest comedianne of all time, although i wanted ethel

    So, zing, you admit to having a crush on Ethel? Each to his own, I suppose. I’m sure Fred would be glad for you to take her off his hands.

  • Dr Dreadful


    Sounds like the leader of a surfer gang in Maroubra.

  • zingzing

    stm: “I don’t know what your calling is, but I suspect you’re missing it.”

    i write about mostly disgusting things. sometimes i write about things that aren’t disgusting.

    “And can I give you a tip mate? Don’t marry for the taxman. I strongly advise against this :)”

    i won’t.

    doc: “So, zing, you admit to having a crush on Ethel?”

    no, but i think she got the short end of the stick sometimes. although her character did allow her to have the best zingers.

    cindy: “i predict you read janet evanovich and like stephanie plum, no?”

    never heard of. will look into.

  • trap4free

    Here where I live it is against the law to allow your cat to roam free and to leave food out to intentionally feed feral or any free-roaming stray cats. Cats have no part in the ecosystem and the wildlife has a very important part in the ecosystem which keeps your local ecosystem healthy and balanced in order for it to sustain life. Your little man-made domestic house cat is an introduced (by you)invasive exotic species that kills on instinct regardless of how much kitty food you feed your cat. House cats kill to kill and the more they kill the more skilled they are at killing wildlife that belongs in the ecosystem. You subject your cat to possibly being run over and killed by a car, being poisoned, being attacked and killed by a wild raccoon and diseases. Have you ever felt how boiling hot water in a water hose can get from baking in the sun? Spraying an annoying little stray cat that enjoys eating birds at the bird feeder with a good hard blast of that boiling hot water will keep him away from that feeder for a few hours. I own very lovely, healthy and strictly indoors house cats. I spend too much money on their vaccinations to just throw them away and let them roam outdoors. You should have at least that much love for your children. I have to wonder if you really can afford to feed your cat since you put him out the door to go kill wildlife for food. Not only are you EVIL you’re also extremely ignorant about nature, wildlife and how domestic cats were originally created. Domestic cats are not wildlife. Big wild cats know when to stop killing for food and they are a very important part of the ecosystem to which they naturally belong to. Your ignorance got your cat and a lot of wildlife killed needlessly and the truly sad part is that you learned nothing from this. If you would keep even a previously free roaming cat indoors and take time to play with your cat as any responsible cat owner should do then your cat would have all of the exercise he needs and he would still be with you. BTW! If your cat was ever! feral he would shred your arm off for trying to touch him.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Your little man-made domestic house cat is an introduced (by you) invasive exotic species

    So is homo sapiens: compared to whom the environmental impact of the free-range domestic cat is minuscule.

  • Christine

    Yeah, trap4free is rambling. Sounds like a cat hater. How did you get anything of that dribble, Dr. D?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Christine, I strongly suspect that “trap4free” is one and the same as our charming friend “Redbud” from further up the thread…

  • Christine

    Dr. D. Oh, my bad.