A year ago today, our household acquired a second feline resident. Within 30 minutes of being let out of her cage, the 3-month-old kitten was all over the place, chasing anything that moved. That very night, my brother gave her the name ‘Tempesta’ (‘storm’ in Italian).
Tempesta was irresistibly adorable despite her deplorable manners, a legacy from her life on the streets (she was a rescued cat). She drove everyone to exasperation—Bolla, our older cat couldn’t stand her playfulness; we couldn’t stand her penchant for jumping on the dining table, especially when our dinner was on it. She climbed up every tall piece of furniture or furnishing, and ran out the door a couple of times when we weren’t being watchful. (We didn’t want her going out for the first few months because we didn’t want more kitties. Only after she was spayed and had healed did we let her out).
One Monday morning, I had just finished eating my breakfast when Bolla threw up. She’d recently been diagnosed with diabetes, however, she’d suffered poor health ever since Tempesta’s arrival. (Coincidence? I don’t know). I cleaned up the mess and decided that the cats could use some fresh air, and so I opened the garden door. Bolla darted out immedialtely. Tempesta uncharacteristically lingered at the door a few seconds before following Bolla out. It was June 8th around 8:30am, the last time I saw Tempesta.
Later that day, we (there were 3 of us at home) marvelled at not having seen the kitten all day. Tempesta would normally pop back in every couple of hours or so to grab a bite or to catch her breath, so we didn’t think it very strange that we’d not seen her. She didn’t turn up for dinner at 7pm, which was strange. Midnight came and I went to bed, leaving the garden door open in case she showed up. It remained open until Wednesday or Thursday evening. Her food bowls were removed a week later. Tomorrow will be 12 weeks since her disappearance.
The hardest part was not knowing what had happened to her. Was she dead or alive? Had she been run over or catnapped? Or did the neighbour who’d complained about her do something to ‘fix’ the problem? We’ll never know. All we have are the memories of 9 months spent with a cat named Tempesta.