Spot was an indoor cat who ran out of the house and went missing during the confusion when a family member was dying. Just as his petmom reached her lowest point of depression over her missing cat, he was found on Christmas Eve. Spot was in rough shape after the two months he’d been gone, but he has since made a good recovery.
Spot went missing from his home in Fuquay-Varina, a town in Wake County, North Carolina, in the autumn of 2011. His petmom Diane was desperate to find him and was overjoyed when he was found that Christmas Eve.
Diane made a video earlier this year that tells about Spot as he went missing, was found and recovered from the effects of deprivation.
She writes in introduction to the video:
Spot is an indoor only cat. He, slipped out of the house during all the confusion while my Mom was dying…he was missing for almost 2 months.
I didn’t want to give up hope, but it didn’t look good. I had JUST lost my mom, I couldn’t lose him too! It was the night before Christmas and my sister said to me,”Remember, miracles happen at Christmas.”
He was found late that evening, Christmas Eve, laying half under a bush in some wetlands by two children.
Spot was in critical condition suffering with severe hypothermia and liver failure among other things. He lost more than half his body weight and was too weak to even lift his head…his eyes were already starting to glaze over and he was unresponsive.
Spot was not expected to make it through the night, but we were given a Christmas miracle, against all odds he survived!
Diane started a page for Spot at Facebook in November 2011 as part of her search for her missing cat. The page was renamed SPOT the Cat Found after he was recovered. Diane shared Spot’s recovery there, and makes occasional updates on him now that he is mostly recovered and things have settled down.
Diane’s video about Spot:
Diane told Spot’s Story when he went missing and updated it when he was found:
December 19, 2011
There were once acres of beautiful fields behind our house, what used to be all farm land. On that field was an old barn filled with generation upon generation of feral cats. No doubt descendants from the barn cats that once moused there. One day developers got the bright idea that those fields would be a great place to build a subdivision. I was not happy, but there was nothing I could do to fight it, it was all legal. So turned over were the fields and the barn torn down. We were then flooded with feral cats. That’s when I learned about TNR and maintaining a feral colony – fast!
Eventually the number of cats started to dwindle until there was less than a handful left. All it took was one roaming, un-neutered, male cat, (a neighbor’s pet) and the cycle almost started again. Mama cat had two more litters. Her last litter was born in the fall… a litter of three. They ventured out with mama cat the day after Thanksgiving 2007, it was cold and drizzling rain. We picked up the three babies – they were TINY! We tried so hard to trap mama cat, but she was too smart to let herself be trapped.
A short time later, she tried crossing the road and was killed by a car. Now I had three babies to hand raise, all of them boys. I had all intentions of raising them, getting them vetted, and when they were old enough, finding them homes. Sometimes things turn out far different than we intend!
Even as a tiny kitten, Spot had the longest white legs.
There was one kitten in particular which was the most affectionate and loving of the three, he was also the weakest and took the most time and effort until he became strong and healthy. That little boy ended up right across the street as a present for my Dad who had some serious health issues and was confined to the house most of the time. My father really needed the company of a best friend.
Only two left to find homes for and it was Christmastime. Santa decided the best place for the other two brothers were right where they already were…with me.
My Dad was crazy about that kitten from the very first day. He carried it around under his cardigan while he read the papers, and you could always find that kitten sleeping on his chest. It was also the first time in my life I ever saw him scoop a litter box! That kitten changed everything for him. It was funny seeing him so gentle with this delicate little fur ball, pouring little dishes of kitten milk and even warming it up in the microwave…talk about spoiled.
It took him forever to settle on a name for his kitten, but one day he held up that kitten and said, “Look at that little spot right on his nose. That’s what I’ll call him, Spot!”
I rolled my eyes, shook my head, and smiled. It did make sense, but who names their cat Spot!? Well my Dad did, and it stuck. That’s how Spot got his name.
January 2008 on a Friday evening, I brought Spot and his brothers for a routine vet check and a round of vaccines. When I dropped Spot of at my parents, I had to laugh because my dad was so worried. He had a dozen questions. I warned him that Spot may act a little under the weather because of the shots, but it was normal and stop worrying! Even though I lived across the street at the time, we talked by phone three times that night – about Spot. I told him I would check on Spot in the morning. Suddenly and un-expectantly my dad died hours later, early in the morning. When we found my dad, Spot was curled up, laying on him and crying. We were all blindsided by his death.
Spot was such a huge part of my Dad’s life, even if it was for a little while, that we took comfort in Spot and loved him even more for the happiness he brought my Dad.
Shortly after, my son and I moved in with my mom. For the three of us, Spot was a source of peacefulness…he brought a sense of ease through a trying time. He made us smile. My mother picked up with Spot where my dad left off. Because he loved Spot so much, she loved that cat even more for it. Spot brought our family a measure of happiness again.
Six weeks later, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. This time it was more like a sucker-punch. Our lives once again in turmoil, it just didn’t make sense… it was surreal. Through the treatments and bad days, Spot began to spend more and more time with my Mom. He always had this uncanny sense of knowing when something was wrong.
I remember many times I cried quietly in my room and Spot would literally come running from wherever he was in the house, jump up to me and just start purring from deep in his chest while rubbing his face against my cheek. He became my son’s confidant and best friend. Once again he worked his magic. Spot always seemed to know who needed him.
Many times Spot made us laugh just being his rambunctious self, even if we really didn’t feel like it. He was never aloof like so many cats I’ve known. He wasn’t a quiet lurker either, but had to be right in the middle of everything making his presence known. Maybe because he was raised with dogs and not other cats he acted more like the dogs. Spot even listens better than the dogs most of the time! He never failed to come running when he was called, we never had to beg, cajole or bribe him. He has a huge personality to match his size.
Three years later, when my mother got worse, he started sleeping with her at night…curled up next to her, she loved that cat dearly. I’d often hear her talking to him when she thought no one was listening.
This fall, my mother took a turn for the worse. She was hospitalized for the last time this November. By then it was clear she wasn’t going to rally back like she had in the past…she asked to go home. We were able to fulfill her request and by the afternoon me and mom were riding in the back of an ambulance for the last time, headed home.
The ambulance backed into the driveway and we were greeted by many family members who showed up to welcome her home. Spot has always been an indoor only cat, and although he loves people and is very friendly and outgoing, I can only imagine how much the mass confusion must have frightened him. He slipped out a window that shouldn’t have been left open and the cat that brought us so much comfort, happiness, and love was gone.
I didn’t even realize at first that he was missing.
That afternoon I briefly wondered where he was because normally he would have been sought out my mom already and curled up next to her. The one other place I could be sure to find him was in the room with my son. He wasn’t with either of them. It wasn’t until seven hours later it really dawned on me that I still hadn’t seen him around and started searching the house for him. That’s when I noticed the open window and I felt my stomach drop like a stone…a feeling of panic starting to build. I started looking right then.
My mom was too sick to notice Spot wasn’t with her, which was a small blessing. Eventually she did ask where he was and I lied. I told her Spot was safe with my son. She was relieved. I remember her saying, “What would we do if he got out!?” I assured her Spot was fine and told her please not to worry. She died shortly after never knowing that the cat we loved dearly, who had become such a central part of our lives was missing. That was one lie I still don’t regret – I’m sure she forgives me.
My mother’s passing has been worse than I ever could have imagined, we lost someone we loved more than I could ever put into words. Our family has been rocked to the core.
Now the beautiful, gentle creature that brought so much to this family…that is an integral part of our family is missing. My son and I are devastated…I’m beyond heartbroken.
Now you know the story of Spot and the family that loves him. I’ll never stop looking , I’ll never give up on him. I hope you won’t either.
Monday January 3, 2012
The above story was written on December 19th, 2011. At the time I wrote it, I could never have imagined what was to come. The loss of my Mom was overwhelming. This was the first Christmas without my parents and Spot was gone just to add salt to the wound. I still refused to give up looking for him. I would have kept looking for years until it was no longer possible he was still with us on earth.
Every single day we looked, talked to people, followed leads, planned, stayed up all night outside, freezing while watching traps…. and nothing. Fast forward to Christmas Eve… I was particularly depressed. I missed my Mom and Dad, I missed Spot – the last connection I had to them. I was trying to be strong. I prayed. I asked others to pray for me. It was a simple prayer,”Heavenly Father, I’ve rarely ever asked for anything for myself until now. If it’s Your will, please help Spot come home.” and to the living souls of my parents, “Mommy..Daddy please pray for me, please pray that if it’s God’s will, Spot will find his way home. I don’t think I could do this!” (Oh gosh.. I’m crying typing this! ha)
My family half joking-half serious kept saying, “It’s Christmas Eve, miracles happen and you never know!” Yeah right, if Spot comes home tonight, I’m selling all my stuff and becoming a Nun! (Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that!! ha) I went on with my day as usual. About 5:30 or so that night, we went to Jersey Mike’s to get something to eat. We had no plans for Christmas. I was content to stay home and be depressed. While standing in line, I get a phone call on my cell. It was from “unknown caller”. I answered. The first time it was a terrible connection, I could hear shouting on the other end, but they couldn’t hear me. Then I heard one single word that stopped me dead in my tracks – SPOT. I started to panic. Of course the phone dropped the signal and we were disconnected! Thank God the person called back. She explained how her children had found Spot, but he was very, very ill, gave me the address, which was in our neighborhood, and told me to hurry.
I felt a surge of adrenaline, but tried to reel it in. I had gotten so many calls in the past, by well meaning people, that were sure they had found Spot. Somehow, this call seemed different. My heart was pounding in my chest as we raced back home. As we pulled up to the address, the first thing I saw was a woman standing in the road holding a cat, wrapped in towels. Then I saw grey legs and I felt the let down…” I don’t think that’s Spot.” We got out of the car and took a look at the cat in this woman’s arms. He was limp and his head rolled freely in a sickening way when I lifted it back to look at this cat’s face. OH. MY. GOD.. It’s SPOT! I couldn’t stop crying and barely had time to thank this person. We had over a 20 minute drive to the emergency vet. I didn’t think – no, I was SURE there was no way he was going to make it there alive. There was no life in his eyes. My son made it to the Vet at the same time we did. He ran ahead to get help. Spot was taken from my arms and the wait began.
It was Christmas Eve, Spot was found and saved by two wonderful, brave children – Chandlar and Ryan and my grief…all my grief… turned to a joy I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Spot made it through that first night against all odds. Then the second..and the third. He continues to get a little bit stronger every day. No matter the outcome, we had Spot back and he wasn’t going to die alone in the freezing cold, in the swamp, and on Christmas Eve no less! Yes, it was my gift, an answer to my one prayer, a Christmas miracle…. God is good and miracles still happen.
Now, the next part of our journey begins…
Spot recovered well following his ordeal. He gained back the lost weight and regained most of his motor function. His recovery was closely monitored by Diane and his vet.