It's been almost a year since we last saw him. He ran out the door, under my mother-in-law's car and down the street. Into the night.
We brought Odin home from the Humane Society back in 2003. We thought our other cat Princess (named by the Humane Society where we found her) would like some company. She didn't. She hated Odin. She hated him like she was a cool teenage girl and he was an annoying younger brother. She hissed at him, she swatted him, she ran away from him.
He loved her. Her intense and constant dislike for Odin never swayed his love for her. He always went back for more, as if he was convinced that this time she would finally play with him. Finally love him.
Odin was the perfect cat for kids. He was interested in the new baby we brought home four years ago. He would sit next to me while I nursed the girl. He would lay nearby on the floor while she rolled around. He would let her chase him when she learnt to crawl.
A favorite activity for both of them was for the girl to launch herself onto his back and squish him into the ground. She would lay her whole body over him while he purred happily. The boy did this too. He just didn't get the chance to do it for very long.
Odin was always an outdoor cat until he met us. He was found out in the countryside and from the beginning he tried as hard as he could to be outside. He would run through our legs when we opened the door. He would scratch at the windows. He would cry at the door.
When the boy was born we were too tired to fight him anymore. We got him a collar, made sure his shots were up to date and opened the door to his freedom.
The husband looked for Odin for weeks after he disappeared. He made trips to the Humane Society, even though our cat had a tracking chip and they would have our information if he was brought there. The husband put up posters around the neighbourhood. He went on long walks looking for any sign of Odin.
I liked to think that Odin had wandered too far away from home and couldn't find his way back. A lovely family with lots of kids found him and fell so deeply in love with his crazy spirit that they couldn't bare to give him up. So he stayed there, curled up on a warm lap.
As I left the house this morning in the pouring rain to walk to the bus stop and pick up the girl after Kindergarten I was told that one of our neighbours' cat had been found. We call him The Friendly Grey Cat because, well, he is grey and friendly. The cat had been missing for a few weeks. We heard the news. We saw the posters.
His people found him at the Human Society. His leg was damaged and he had to undergo surgery. His leg fur was rubbed raw and maggots had infected the wound when the Humane Society had found him abandoned on the street. He had wandered into someones animals traps. He had been wounded and those people with the traps, people the neighbours have identified and whose house I can see from my window, moved him and left him. They left him on the street to die.
Is that what happened to Odin? Was he hurt and wounded only meters from our backdoor? Did the people with the traps find him and move him somewhere far away from us? Did they leave him on the street to die?
I can't stop thinking about him. In my heart I know this is what happened. It sounds like truth to me.