Pip: Hawaiian cat missing in Midcoast
South Thomaston — Googling “lost cat” will yield more 222 million results. The researcher will find the variety bewildering as well: tips on recovering wayward kitties, humane traps, societies dedicated to preserving and protecting our pets, security collars and microchip implants, task recovery teams… and perhaps most common, stories from anguished catcare providers.
I felt that anguish myself the second weekend of August when Pip , felis domesticus, a gray tabby with tigerlike stripes, managed to “pop” a window screen of his South Thomaston domicile and slip into the night. He’s no ordinary cat. The young fellow grew up on, and is a recent guest, from Molokai, Hawaii, one of the Friendly Islands perhaps most-commonly associated with the heroic friendship, and martyrdom, of Father Damien, minister-missionary for the sufferers of Hansen’s disease.
Pip became a stranger in a strange land. He was accustomed to white sand beaches, lava flows, and coconut groves. And here he was in the Wessaweskeag Country — a terrain of coastal mudflats, relic cow pastures, shallow-ledge quarries, pine stands, cranberry bogs and vast marsh grass vistas. No nēnē goose, mongoose, or geckos here, but rather the great horned owl, the non-feline fisher cat, and the benign red-bellied snake ([virtually] no snakes on Hawaii; it's a class C felony to possess or transport snakes in that state. Violators risk a $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison).
Following the standard step-by-step cat recovery procedures, a sweep was made of the vicinity. That first day I must have ranged some 15 miles through some thick-pricker brambles with the sudden, horrible realization that here was a perfect habitat for a tick, over mysterious stone cairns, and almost into an ancient, long-forgotten barn foundation. The constant call “Pip! Pip! Pip!” brought nary a peep, nary a meow. Neighbors joined the search, which continued well into the night. In spite of the Herculean efforts, no kitty… and much disappointment.
Following those pet recovery guidelines found on the Internet, food , a litter box, and a blanket were put out. Then a humane trap set, followed by another standard procedure, posting reward posters. The neighborhood continued to be patrolled. Local animal shelters were all contacted (the staffs were truly humane in their cooperation and coordination), and house calls and phone calls made to neighbors. The Village Soup/Courier-Gazette/Camden Herald came through with a complimentary lost cat notice. Still no Pip. And still that anguish.
However, the silver lining to the story is impressive show of community support. Neighborliness. Sympathy. Empathy. Love. Compassion. I am reminded of Albert Schweitzer: “Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man (and woman) will not himself (herself) find peace.”
I hope and trust Pip enjoys his freedom and peace on this his vacation in Vacationland. But I also hope and trust he will return soon to our domicile, his sanctuary from the owls and fisher cats.
And I will take some consolation from the last “how-to” tip from one of those 222 million Google results, catsinthe bag.org — Don't give up after only a few days, or simply wait for your pet to return on its own. Many pets are found weeks or months after they disappear. With knowledge, persistence, and proper techniques many pets can be found.
When last seen, Pip the gray tabby was wearing a blue collar with his name and the owner’s telephone. Should you have any leads, please contact owner Charles Jacobs at 594-2637.
Jacobs, in addition to being a catcare provider, is an author and small business owner and proprietor.