If you are reading this and haven’t read part 1 to where this story begins go back and read my last blog post about how my cat Bailey came into my life.
On Friday July 20, 2007 I was at my lake house in Wisconsin. I had just spent the day with my college roommate Nikki who shared an apartment with me. She came to visit and as we were saying goodbye in the driveway Bailey was outside near us. I was leaving the same time Nikki was to go to my waitress job. Nikki looked at me and said, “Don’t be surprised if Bailey is missing when you return you will know who took him.” Little did she realize how true that statement would be. I went to work and arrived home late that night since I worked the closing shift. When I got home my parents mentioned Bailey hadn’t returned. That wasn’t something extremely surprising Bailey loved the outdoors and had a wooded lot behind us and in front of us for him to adventure in. It was just strange that he had not been seen since I had left for work at 2:30. I looked for him a little Friday night but wasn’t panicking. I figured he could spend the night outdoors and would be crying at the front door in the morning if not in the middle of the night. Saturday morning came and Bailey was still nowhere to be found. This is when I became concerned. This was not like Bailey to be gone this long. My concerns continued to grow as Saturday turned into Sunday and still no signs of Bailey. I called and told my roommate and she thought I was joking because of her comment she made as she was leaving. I began going up and down the streets in the neighborhood calling out to Bailey. I began asking neighbors if they had seen him. I feared he was stuck in someone’s shed or garage so I began knocking on garages and sheds. The good thing about Bailey is he has a loud cry and he responds when you call him. You call him he is like a dog and will come to you and meow. By Sunday night and still no sign of Bailey I was in tears. The cat that I had to give up before in my life and I got a second chance to keep him, was now missing and as each day passed it seemed more and more likely I would never see him again.
By Monday morning and still no sign of Bailey I began making flyers. I printed a picture of Bailey and information about him and when he was last seen. I wondered as friendly as Bailey was if someone else stole him because they loved his affection and great personality. I also put ads in the lost and found section of the paper offering a reward for anyone who found him or returned him. Soon it was Tuesday and still no sign of Bailey. My sister and mother had Bailey dead. I had traveled through woods, cornfields, up and down highways, banging on sheds and garages, and posting flyers all over. I couldn’t rest until I had closure not knowing was not going to settle for me and I kept telling my family I would know in my heart if he was dead. I don’t feel like he is dead something tells me he is alive and I cannot give up until I find him. My dad tried telling me you can always get another cat again. As I explained to my Dad I will not find another cat with the personality Bailey has. He is a cat that acts more human then I know some humans to act.
On Wednesday I went out to the local animal shelter and was taken to a trailer full of stray cats. I walked in to see what seemed like over a hundred stray cats in cages. I just kept praying I would hear that familiar cry Bailey has. I saw a few orange cats but none of them were Bailey. My frustration only grew as every place I went turned up empty handed. I went to several animal hospitals and asked and they all gave me the same answer that they had not seen an orange 16lb cat. I gave each place a flyer to be on the lookout. By Wednesday nearly a week after Bailey went missing I was still holding onto hope I would find Bailey. That day I stood in the driveway leaning against my car feeling like I had looked everywhere and didn’t know where to look next but wasn’t ready to give up. I began crying and looked up to the sky and said, “God lead me to Bailey. Give me a sign that he is still out there and that I can’t give up on him.” Well anytime in my life I have asked God for a sign he gives me one and during my shift that night as a waitress a table I was waiting on mentioned a sign they saw on a gate that said, “Expect a Miracle” that is all I needed to hear and couldn’t wait to get off work and begin searching for Bailey again. When I got off work I had another 50 flyers printed off. By now my family thought I needed to give up my search. They all assumed Bailey was dead but I don’t give up that easy. By Thursday I was still holding out hope even though it had been nearly a week since anyone had seen Bailey. I was expecting my miracle.
Thursday night some kids on my street I have been babysitting for years wanted to help look for Bailey. They knew the cat well. So they came with me. After two hours of putting up more flyers we were on our way back towards our street and I turned to the kids and said, “This is where we find Bailey and go take down all 50 flyers and have the happy ending.”
The street over from our street we ran into a mom and her daughter who knew the cat was missing. The little girl said she saw a bunch of cats a street over from my house and one was orange. When she began describing it I said if Bailey was a street over he would come home he always goes across the street to other streets in the neighborhood. When I told her my cat weighs 16lbs she said, “oh no this cat was tiny.” I thanked them for keeping their eye out and turned to the kids and said lets go check out by this house she said she saw cats
We went over to the house and by this point it is almost completely dark out. I didn’t notice any cats. I started to tap on the shed of a house that was sitting empty and for sale. Suddenly after calling out Bailey I heard a meow. I turned to the kids and said, “Did you hear that. It was a cat meow and it sounded just like Bailey.” Unfortunately only I heard it and then I began to think I was going out of my mind because I was so desperate to find him. I said Bailey’s name again and this time we all heard a cat cry but it was coming from inside the empty house for sale. I knew it had to be Bailey and a rush of joy was coming over me. The cat crying continued and it was coming from a door that was locked but SURPRISINGLY the key was left in the door. I turned it and opened it and it brought me to this little tiny walk in space that had the electric box to the house and a little cupboard but that was about it. There was a string to turn on a light above us so I turned it on so we could see. The cries got louder and suddenly I said to the kids I know Bailey’s cry that is Bailey but how did he get in this house. I kept calling out and suddenly began to think I was getting my hopes up and this was really some other stray cat and I was just making myself think I heard Bailey’s crying, after all it had been a week there was no way he could honestly survive stuck inside an empty house for a week or could he? Each time I said Bailey he cried and anyone who has ever heard my cat cry knows his pathetic meow. I told the kids to stay right there and I ran home and got my mom who ran with me back to this house. She told me I was going out of my mind that the cat is gone and I need to accept that. That is until she got to the empty house and heard me say Bailey and she heard that very familiar cry. A rush of excitement came over my mother and she suddenly began banging on the wall trying to break into this house thinking the cat was stuck in a closet in the house. Suddenly I said, “Wait it is coming from the floor below us. I picked at the wood to get a piece up and just then the light shining down 5 feet underground in mud and pipes was Bailey stretching his paws up crying after being trapped for 6 days underground with no food or water. My mother was shocked, the kids were all excited, and it’s a moment I will never forget. A moment of pure determination to not give up until I found him and I knew in my heart he was out there alive. I can’t get over the fact that I was led directly to him and how the heck I thought to go in this direction and tap on that particular house. Even stranger is the fact that the key was left on the door. Just the night prior I was about three feet tapping on the shed of the house behind it and heard no cries. As I held him in my arms I kept asking my mom to pinch me to make sure I was not dreaming. The kids all found it funny how I told them after putting up all the signs that this is now when we find Bailey and go take all 50 signs down and sure enough it happened. I cannot even describe to you how happy I was and the feeling to see the light hitting this poor cat who had been trapped for 6 days underground. I later found out when we got Bailey home that my sister had already bought me a card that said, “When a beloved cat must leave us, It is only to sit on God’s Lap” she added to the print when she gave me the card…sit on God’s lap for a visit…haha! She had a stuffed animal cat for me too. My mother told her to wait to give it to me because my mom thought it would upset me even more and wanted to wait until I accepted the fact that the cat wasn’t coming home. When my sister walked in the door that night and saw the cat she thought she was seeing things and even asked if we replaced Bailey with another cat because she didn’t believe that nearly a week later we would find him. The vet told me to slowly give him food so he doesn’t over eat after being without food. Good thing Bailey was overweight he had enough fat to keep him alive for 6 days.
Bailey was not allowed outside for nearly a year but I finally gave into that pathetic cry at the door begging to go out. It has been nearly 4 years since Bailey went missing and I haven’t had any repeats thankfully. As I tell Bailey you can’t get rid of me I will always find a way to get you back. You would think by now with all the outfits I put him in he would take off however he knows how spoiled he is that he would never venture too far from home again.
Below are photos of where Bailey was found.
The door with the key still in it to open the door.
Inside the room where we heard the crying coming from.
Crying coming from beneath the wood.
Where Bailey was living after 6 days of being gone.
We are still trying to figure out how he got inside here. Our only guess is a realtor was showing the house and showed underneath the house where other important things were and somehow when they walked away Bailey jumped down to check it out and the realtor closed it up without ever knowing but mistakenly left the key in the door. There was no other way to get down here from outside the house.
Not much room to move.
The next day after being found. Bailey did a lot of sleeping and was too afraid to show his face after the trouble he put me through to find him.
4 years later and 4 lbs heavier Bailey today.
And he knows he is spoiled!
He sits like this all on his own looking right at the television. We added the remote control to the picture.
His familiar meow/cry I was describing.
Crying at the front door in Lake Geneva wanting in. This is the cry I heard coming from underneath that house.
I got my miracle!