What I Learned When I Lost My Cat Last Week

Almost five years ago, my cousin had found a tiny kitten – barely weaned – that was wandering the streets of Visalia. She knew that my husband and I fostered kittens, and at the time we had three cats in our furry family. We were not planning on expanding our little feline family at the moment, so we had planned to foster the kitten till we could find her a home.
The kitten was so tiny and so malnourished, that we feared she might not make it. She was also remarkably chill for a kitten. She just calmly sat and stared around her so much that we thought she might be in shock.
But eventually, she plumped up and came out of her shell. In fact, she turned out to be a spunky little punk of a kitten. When not jumping off the walls (she likes to play what we call “Ninja Kitty” where she jumps off the walls) she was always picking playful fights with the other cats. She was so tiny and fluffy, and yet so fierce that we named her “Yzma” after the villain in The Emperors New Groove. (There is a scene where Yzma turns into a kitten, and while looking cute and fluffy says, “Now I’m going to kill you!”)
We were ready to hand Yzma over to the animal shelter so they could place her in a home, when Jonathan surprised me by buying Yzma a kitty collar and a name tag that said, “Happy Birthday Gingi”. So Yzma joined our little family in the summer of 2010!


Many of you know that I am a crazy cat lady – counting Yzma, my husband and I have five cats. Long before we had children, we had our furry babies. While I love all of our kitties, my special cat – the one who pretty much owns me – has always been our cat Yzma.
I call her my “Shoulder Gargoyle” because, 1) She has a very smushed, gargoyle-esque face for such a petite cat and 2) She perches every night on my shoulder and looks down at me, like a gargoyle perches up on a building looking down.


She really is my furry baby. When my husband was in Navy boot camp, she got me through sleepless nights. Before I had my daughters, she was who I pampered and spoiled and loved. She is a constant in my life.

I am stressing all of this because I want to really convey the gravity of how devastated I was when she went missing last week.


When I was in labor with Thyme, and rushing out the door at 5am, I accidentally left the front door open. The hospital kept us for two days, so by the time we came home, the door had been left open for two full days. All of our indoor-only cats were accounted for, except for Yzma. She was nowhere to be found.
This really worried me, because of all the cats, Yzma HATES being outside. As gentle as she is, she gets scared and nearly feral whenever she is in new surroundings. She completely loses her head. If she was missing, I seriously doubted she’d have the presence of mind to find her way home if she ran off frightened by a dog or a car.
So when I came home from the hospital, I immediately printed out lost cat fliers, and walked the neighborhood, hanging up signs and going door to door asking if they had seen my furry baby. (Did I mention that the hospital forgot to give me pain medications? And I suffered a second degree perennial tear?)


While I was excited and blessed to have a healthy whole baby to bring home, I was feeling severely depressed that Yzma was missing. She is MY kitty. I’m so used to having Yzma on my shoulder every night that I can’t sleep when she’s not there. I’d roll over and reach for her, and then just tear up, thinking I would never see her again.
On the fifth day of Yzma being missing, I finally decided to give up and give it to God. I pretty much believed I would never see her again. I reached for her in the middle of the night, and woke up in tears. I decided to walk the neighborhood at 4am, one last time, with little to no hope of finding her.
I walked down the street, calling her name, peering into every bush and every shrub in the neighborhood, sobbing so hard I was afraid the neighbors would hear me. I sat down on the curb and just told God, “I don’t know why my kitten was taken from me, especially during this joyous time. I am mad, I am upset, I am confused. But I trust you, and I know you can bring her home. Even if you choose not to, I don’t understand it, but I trust you. Thank you for the time I had with her. These last 5 years with my kitten have been amazing. I’m so grateful for that. I want her home so badly. But if this is goodbye, help me to move on and let go of this pain and embrace this happy time with my new little girl and my growing family to the fullest.”


After getting in a good cry, I headed back home and went to bed, gently sobbing myself to sleep. I woke up the next morning, determined to stop searching for my cat nonstop – especially with a newborn baby in the house who very much needs my attention and love.
I had just settled down on the couch with my morning coffee, when I saw her. Yzma was up on the neighbor’s fence, about to jump over. She looked skittish and scared. Without thinking I screamed, “Yzma! Yzma!” and ran outside, with my husband hot on my heels. My yelling scared her and she jumped over the fence.
My husband vaulted over the fence after her, barefoot and without hesitation (he has never been so sexy to me!) and chased after her just in time to see her jump over another neighbors fence. He climbed up on the fence, to find the neighbors in their backyard. He asked if he could come over to look for our cat, but they said no.
They had barking dogs, and I was really worried if Yzma was in their yard, they would hurt her. We circled around to their front door, trying to see if maybe Yzma had ran into their front yard. We knocked on the door and asked again if we could just go back to look for her and get her. At this point I was openly weeping. I thought I would never see her again, and to know where she was, and not be able to get her?!
But even with the post-partum weeping lady at their front door, they still said no, along with a comment about how, “My dogs don’t like cats, so she won’t be back there for long.” SERIOUSLY. ASSHOLE NEIGHBORS.


Anyway, at this point, we decided since she was super freaked out but obviously knew where home was, that we would set humane cat traps around our property for her. I hadn’t set out traps before because there are TONS of strays and outdoor cats in our neighborhood and I figured if she was close to home, she’d come to the door. But knowing she was nearby, we ran to the SPCA (and had to sit in the car for 20 agonizing minutes to wait for them to open) and then rented 3 cat traps.
On the way home, I asked Jonathan to drive by the asshole neighbors house one more time before we headed home. And lo and behold, there was Yzma, in the asshole neighbors yard! She was crouched down, scared and tentative, under a fence. When we pulled the car over, she got scared and ran up under an RV parked in their yard.
Jonathan crawled under the RV and gently called to her, and she let him pick her up. She was super scared, but once she was in our arms, she relaxed and calmed down. We brought her home and she just started PURRING!


Me being a very tearful and weepy eyed happy kitty mommy!!
I seriously thought I would never see her again. My heart was so broken, and I felt so horrible being so depressed about my furry baby, when God had blessed me with my precious little Thyme. And right when I had given up and let Yzma go, God brought her back to me! It was a blessing I did not expect, and one that I certainly don’t deserve.
For five full days I lost hope. And right when I gave up, she was returned to me. I cannot even begin to describe the joy and awe I’ve been feeling in these past few days. To have a new precious baby girl AND my kitten home safe and sound?!
I learned this past week that it’s so easy to take blessings for granted. Even silly little blessings like furry babies! While I knew losing a cat would be devastating, I never knew just how gut wrenching and upsetting it would be. Having Yzma back has opened my eyes to the importance of loving your pets and family like every day might be your last. Never take your loved ones for granted! Every day is a gift!


Even Tessa is happy to have Yzma back!!

If you have a pet, go give them a hug and a squeeze. You never know how precious they are till they’re gone!

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

73 thoughts on “What I Learned When I Lost My Cat Last Week

  • 20 March, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Now a little tear found its way down my cheek. I am so happy you got Yzma back. Such a lovely cat princess – adorable! I guess she like our Felix is a part of the family. And you miss them when they aren’t by your side. I use to say that Felix is like Prozac – his sweet purring makes me calm and he warms my heart and soul with his presents. Give Yzma a hug from me <3

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      LOL, that is a GREAT way to put it!! Cats being like Prozac! I truly believe that cats are a healthy, therapeutic thing to have in the home! I can’t imagine a house without our little furry ones running around!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 8:01 am

    So happy you got her back. Poor lil girl.

  • 20 March, 2015 at 9:04 am

    This made me tear up! I’m so glad you have your kitty back! I have a 17 year old fur baby (a Maine coon mix) who has been my best friend since day one. Right now, he lives with my mom 3 hours away because we can’t have pets in our on-campus apartment and I miss him terribly. I worry he’ll pass away before my husband and I, and our new baby who is due any day, can get home in May.

    I know when he’s gone I’ll be a mess for a while and it won’t be the same. I have so many stories about him that are similar to this one, haha. A short example: he ran away once and I prayed and prayed for him to be found. Eventually he was, in a neighbors tree!

    So glad you have your kitty back, again and congrats to you on your new baby girl!

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      My husbands favorite cat is a Maine Coon! While Yzma sleeps on me every night, Wraith is on his lap every waking moment! They are such an awesome breed of cat! And that particular breed is really big about “choosing” a single owner to bond with. Whenever people come to be for advise on what kind of cat to get, I ALWAYS urge they get a Maine Coon.. your odds of having a “best friend” in a cat are drastically increased with such a personable breed in my opinion!

      I hope you get to spend more time with your kitty! You are blessed to have him live to such a long age! And good luck with your baby.. I hope everything goes smoothly with your real baby AND your fur baby!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Oh my god, what a story! I can’t believe how rude your neighbors were, that’s insane. We’re talking about a living creature! So happy you found her back. She’s beautiful. x – Naomi in Wonderland

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I know, right?! They are henceforth dubbed forevermore, “The asshole neighbors”. Heh. And thanks, I am SO happy to have her back!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I am so, SO happy that this story has a happy ending. My cats are my world and I would be lost without them. Giving them both an extra big hug today.

  • 20 March, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Ohh it’s amazing to see how much you love your little cat, she’s truly beautiful and I’m very happy for you that you found her back!

    I lost my cat I had since I was ten, about two years ago.. One day my Mum called me to say Jef had gone missing, and we looked and searched and did everything we could, but sadly enough he never turned up 🙁

    I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead!

    XO Imke

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      I have had cats just go missing when I was teenager… back when I lived with my parents, all of our cats were indoor / outdoor. In my experience if cats are missing for more than a day or two, you just never see them again! I’m so sorry you never found your kitty.. hopefully he wandered off and someone took him in and gave him a good home!!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    OMG Gingi, so glad you found her! I was getting too worried while reading through the post! Happy Friday!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Oh my gosh! First, I’m so glad this had a happy ending. I grew up with cats too and they are really a blessing (even if they are not as easy to call as a dog. Because seriously, why do cats run away when we call them?). And holy moly, crazy neighbors! They are so mean! They probably had some crazy shenanigans in their backyard or something they didn’t want people to see. Anyway, I’m so glad you found your cat. I know how devastating it can be to have a cat run away.

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      My cats think they are dogs, a few of ours come when they are called! lol! And I thought the exact same thing about our neighbors!! Why wouldn’t you let a crying neighbor in your backyard to get their kitty unless you had something to kid?! Like what, the chubby postpartem sobbing up a storm is going to strong arm you and rob you or something?? The guy was a big gruff redneck type, and our other neighbors say they are always causing trouble.. so I think they have some crazy shenanigans they’re hiding too… ugh! Luckily, aside from those neighbors, the rest of our neighborhood is SUPER COOL…

  • 20 March, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Thank goodness! I’m so glad you got your fur baby back! I love my dogs in the same way and I would be equally devastated. I’m sorry this happened at what was supposed to be such a joyful time for you 🙁

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Yeah, I felt horrible being so sad during such a happy time. I was trying so hard to hold it together. And I felt downright guilty for being so sad when I had so much joy in my heart toward my new little baby. I’m so happy this week had a happy ending!! <3

  • 20 March, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Oh Gingi, I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. I totally understand how you felt because I love my dogs so much. I’d be heartsick if they disappeared. A few months ago a friend of mine posted a notice on Facebook about her friend’s little dog who escaped from the home of the person who was taking care of her while her family was on vacation. I was so haunted by the thought that that little dog was trying to survive in sub zero temperatures that I got in my car and drove thirty minutes to go and help look for her (she was found after three days). I didn’t even know the family, but I had to help them. Which brings me to your ass hole (I have other names going through my head) neighbors. I think we should say a prayer for them as well.

    Your story brought me to tears. I’m so happy you have Yzma back so you get can back to your beautiful life. xoxo

    • 20 March, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      I was actually amazed at how many people stepped up to help me look for her! People I didn’t even know on Facebook who lived in my town were sharing the missing cat flier. All of our neighbors, from way down the street, were going out of their way to check in on me and see if she had been found yet, and to assure me they were keeping their eyes open. (Our block is awesome, the asshole neighbors actually live on the block BEHIND us, cattycorner to our property).

      And I totally “get it”. A few years ago I saw a missing cat flier online that was ON MY BLOCK, and I decided to go out for a walk and look for the cat.. and I actually FOUND IT! I was so happy to be able to return the cat. I felt like a hero, lol.

      I am so blessed to have my kitty back!! Yzma is getting rediculous amounts of love this week, haha!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Omg, your post almost gave me a heart attack and now I’m almost crying!
    We have only 1 cat but I love him more than anything! We heard a lot of stories when cats run outside and if the breed is good people just keep them for themselves without calling you that they actually found your pet and I’m always so worried for out precious kitty not to be lost.
    I’m so happy that you’ve found your precious cat, this is just great!

    • 20 March, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      Yeah, we have a Scottish Fold, and they are in hot demand.. we figured if she ever gets out, someone would just steal her! Same with our dog, he’s a pure bred Golden Retriever. I wasn’t so worried about Yzma being stolen (she is so skittish with new people and she isn’t a “pretty” cat – she has some scarring on her face from juvenile feline acne and looks like a bit of a scrapper in person!).. I was just so scared of her being lost! I’m happy she found her way home!!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Oh what a beautiful post! I am happy that the cat got home safely and I can only imagine how devastated you were when the cat was missing for those five days. I am thankful God is there for you, and now you have your family complete 🙂

    • 20 March, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      Thank you Christy!! I am so very blessed!!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Well that is a happy ending! So glad she came home! We lost our cats yesterday. Willie sometimes stays out overnight if it’s nice, but Baxter never does, and it was sleeting and nasty. They still weren’t home this morning. Then I got the idea to check the tack shed. Sure enough, they snuck in there when I fed the horses yesterday and got locked in. At least there was plenty of hay and horse blankets to keep them warm (and mice for food, I’m sure)

    • 20 March, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Yay!! I’m so glad your kitties are safe and sound as well!! Happy endings all around!!! <3

  • 20 March, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    What an amazing testimony. Somehow things always work out right after I pray and basically give it over to God. She is such a beautiful cat and super cute as a kitten. So happy you got her back!


    • 20 March, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Yes, I am giving all the glory to God on this one! Having my furry baby back is such a huge blessing!!

  • 20 March, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Awe Gingi, I am SO happy you found Yzma, I cried right along with you and was so full of joy when you wrote how your husband was finally able to coax her out… What terrible neighbors, I wonder if they know the joy and happiness a pet can really bring. If they did, they would have reached out to help you. What a wonderful ending to a heart wrenching loss in the beginning, YAY… I hug my kitty all the time too… she is very much loved xox

    • 20 March, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      My husband really was my hero the day we found Yzma! He knows how much she means to me, and he did everything in his power to get her back… I had a few people acting judgemental about how upset I was.. (“You have a new baby, why are you letting a little cat upset you?!)… but I’m glad you understand!! <3 <3

  • 20 March, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Oh goodness, what a terrible experience and I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been for you when you found out she went missing. I’m glad you finally have her safe back home though, at least now you can finally relax a little and not drive yourself mad with worry. xx

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  • 20 March, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Your post is more timely than you know. I lost my little 12 year old bichon late on Tuesday night. When she went out for a final time before bed, she must have encountered a coyote in our yard. It is a hard story to retell, but I found her about 10 minutes later, bloody and dead. It has been very traumatic, and I miss her terribly. So glad you got your precious pet back. Hold tight and enjoy her. Pets really are members of the family.

    • 20 March, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Oh honey, I am so sorry to hear that! That breaks my heart!! I am sending you lots of love. Losing a cat is so hard. They really ARE members of the family.. I hope you feel better soon! *hugs*

    • 20 March, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      RIGHT?!?!?! They always play their redneck music super loud at night. From now on, I’m SO calling the cops on the them for noise complaints. I’m not usually “that” type of neighbor, but they are very much on my shit list now, heh…

  • 20 March, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Oh Gingi, what an amazing story. To bring your beautiful little baby safely home and find your kitty missing, how difficult and stressful. I’m so glad you and your husband found her.

    I’m sure at some point I’ll sketch another kitty (and possibly a lab puppy, but right now I’ve promised my boyfriend that the next animal that isn’t a study for a piece will be a red chow dog, he used to have one), those Scottish Fold kitties are adorable.

    • 20 March, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      My Scottish Fold kitty is my muse! hehe.. I’ve taken SO MANY photos of her. If you need inspiration, you should sketch her.. she’s BEAUTIFUL!! 😉

  • 20 March, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    ahhh, I can’t cope with this story. She’s SO SO SOSOS OSOS CUTE. I’m so glad you got her back and I can’t believe your neighbour wouldn’t let you look for her. What a dick 🙁

    Corinne x

    • 21 March, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      RIGHT?!?! He seriously got on my shit list. I never made noise complaints when he plays his music loud late at night (mostly because I just don’t care) but NOW… dude pissed me off. haha..

    • 21 March, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      Yeah, I can’t imagine what kind of sad, unhappy people they are to not have compassion on a crying post-partum neighbor looking for her lost cat. Seriously. They’ve GOT to be hiding something shady in their back yard I think…

    • 21 March, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks Angie!! <3

  • 21 March, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Glad for the happy ending. I don’t have time for pets. I have enough day in day out that sometimes I hardly have time for myself.

  • 21 March, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Oh my gosh take those neighbors off the Christmas cookie list!! What jerks. I am so glad you found your fur baby! Our animals are such a huge part of our lives and losing one is no fun. Glad you are all back together again!

    • 22 March, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Your comment made me laugh out loud! Yeah, they really are jerks.. I really don’t understand how they can be like that. The more I think on it, the more I just feel sorry for them.. 🙁 But YES!! So happy to have my Yzma back!

  • 22 March, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I remember the night you got her at the apartment in Hanford. I gave her a bath and picked the fleas off her tiny little body. I kept thinking how tiny she was and was waiting for her to grow but that little kitty just got teenager cat size and just stopped. Lol

    I know that was her mama and I saw run along the fence that night. No other kitty is that small.

    I love how you got her back before the sticky tape residue was even off your hand from your IV in the delivery room!

    • 22 March, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Yeah, I’m all teary eyed and dirty in the photo.. haha.. but did you notice Yzma has dirty paws in the photo too?!

  • 22 March, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Glad you got your fur baby back. I can’t believe the neighbors wouldn’t let you look for her in their yard. That is ridiculous.

    I have one kitty who is 5 yrs old too and I love her – I would be upset too if she went missing like that.

  • 22 March, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Oh my goodness! I think I was holding my breath the whole time while reading this. And I cried a little. And then I was so relieved that I cried some more. I am so happy that you got her back!!!! I know how you felt….give her a big hug from me, please. And tell your a!@$%#$ neighbors that they are terrible human beings!

  • 22 March, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Aw that kitty is so adorable! I had a cat once that ran away the first night we moved into a new apartment and I couldn’t find her for MONTHS- I was so crushed! Then half a year later a vet called and said a family had brought her in because she was sick but they’d just been keeping her for ages! We got her back for another year but then she ran away again and hasn’t been back 🙁


    • 23 March, 2015 at 2:42 am

      Oh wow!!! Did they think it was their cat or something?? How crazy! And I’m sorry she went missing again.. that is heartbreaking! 🙁

  • 23 March, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Wow, it must be extremely devastating when you found Yzma missing! But God is so good and bring her back, so happy for you! And congrats once again on your newborn!


  • 23 March, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Oh Gingi! You had me so worried about your cat. I’m a crazy cat lady too! I’m so glad you got your precious back. You just had a baby and do not need this stress. But God tests us, that’s all I can say and I’ glad your faith took you through and your cat is safely home!!!

    • 23 March, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      I’m happy that God brought my little Yzma back.. I’m well aware it could have very easily ended differently! The timing stinks, but in the end, I’m counting my blessings and putting things in perspective on what really matters. Does that make sense? I haven’t finished my morning coffee so I’m kind of incoherent at the moment, lol…

  • 23 March, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Ugh – I can’t believe those neighbors were so rude!! Sometimes people amaze me (not in a good way).
    So happy that you found your sweet cat!

    • 24 March, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Yeah, they’re a piece of work for sure… I hope karma is a real thing, lol…

  • 23 March, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    thanks for coming by my place and leaving a comment. congratulations on a new baby! and a happy and safe reunion with your tiny gargoyle cat. 🙂

  • 23 March, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Oh wow, what an amazing story! I am so, so, so glad that you got her back! I’m definitely going to give my cat a hug today! 🙂

  • 23 March, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    So glad you found your kitty, Gingi! Those neighbors! How can people act like that? I’m a crazy cat lady too. My dogs and cat are a part of our family. It’s awesome that you gave it up to God and He came through for you. Congrats on bringing your precious new daughter home too. What a week you had!

    • 24 March, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      I’d think they would “get” how losing a pet would feel, since they have dogs! Grrrrrr!!! But yes, I’m so glad God brought my little kitty back!!

  • 24 March, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Aww! She’s so beautiful and one of a kind. I hope you’re both happy to be cuddling together again at night.
    My kitten went missing last summer and didn’t come back for two days. We found her stuck in a tree!
    By the way, your neighbors sound horrible! I won’t even tell you what my parents did to horrible neighbors once..

    • 24 March, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      LOL, now you HAVE TO share!!!

  • 26 March, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I’m a big cat lover and I have a cat that is currently being babysat because my landlord is an ass and wont let me have her. She is old and im sure she wont have too many years ahead of her and i can only imagine how you felt losing her and not sure when you’ll see her (if ever) again. Animals carry so much weight in our hearts. The memories, the care, the comfort. All of it means the world. Your cat is adorable and losing her would be devastating. xo

  • 28 March, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Such a great story, I read it with great pleasure!! thanks God you found your furry baby!! We have three dogs now and a cat, but this winter our second kitty died, I’m still so upset, always crying remembering how we took him from the street when he was a child;(( But cancer is stronger them my love, and now he has gone..I wish all my babies stay with me forever!


  • 1 April, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Part of this story had me in tears, I’m a devoted cat mumma and if this ever happened I’d of been hysterical.. I may have even told the neighbours to get lost and entered their yard anyway (Aussie attitude, oops!)… so glad you’ve got her back, she’s a lovely brave kitty <3 x

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    xx Chontelle Louise

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