As a cat sitter and behaviourist, I have the privilege to hear a lot amazing cat stories from my human customers. It never fails to open my eyes and remind me how much we all underestimate the cat’s ability.
Puddy is one of the legendary cats I have come across.
He came into my life when his human scheduled a meet and greet on 2011 and wanted to use my cat sitting service. Puddy was 6 years old at the time.
As always at one of these meet-and-greets, I asked the human how they find out about my service and how did they manage their holiday before. If they have always used a friend or family members, or maybe they have used another company before, how did that go, etc. It helps me to get some background story and gauge how the cat is going to handle being alone etc.
As it turns out the reason Puddy’s human – Paul wanted to use my cat sitting service is because Puddy went missing the year before when Paul’s friend took care of him. Paul and his wife Claudine travel to Asia once a year and it’s usually over a couple of weeks. They would want to have a reliable permanent sitter for future years to come. Due to the incident the year before causing them so much stress, they decided they wanted to have professional sitter from then on and found me.
And then Paul told me this unbelievable story…
On winter 2010, Paul and Claudine had only just got Puddy for 5 weeks at the time when they were due to go on their annual Asian trip. It was their first trip away from him. A friend of Paul, who is also a cat lover, offered to help him out and took Puddy to his home. Unfortunately, Paul’s friend probably haven’t thought about the fact that he also had a toddler at the time. They don’t follow instruction well and tend to do their own thing! So at one point, the child opened the door, Puddy sneaked out, he was gone.
Paul’s friend texted and told them Puddy was missing. But since they were in Asia, there were very little they could do. They also figured that since Puddy wasn’t in his own house, he probably wouldn’t know how to get back to Paul’s friend. Of course, you hear all these amazing stories of cats finding their way back to their old house. But Puddy had only been living with Paul and his wife for 5 weeks, he came in their lives as a 5-year-old adult cat, they thought there is no way he felt attached enough to them to try to find a way home. Plus, he wouldn’t know the direction well enough to do that.
On top of that, there is a big problem…
Puddy lived on Grand Canal and Paul’s friend lived on Sandymount.
Yep…not only the two places are 2 km apart from each other, but also there is a river in the middle of the two locations. Everyone thought there is just no way Puddy would know how to cross the river to get to a place he has only moved in for 5 weeks!
But Puddy had other ideas…
2 weeks after Paul was home, they have all given up on the idea of ever seeing Puddy again. Buddy was missing for 6 weeks at that stage. They even started talking about maybe getting another cat at some point.
But while they were watching TV peacefully one night, Puddy suddenly knocked on their window!!!
He asked to be let in, ate bit of food, went straight to the bed to sleep. In a true cat manner, he acted as if nothing happened.
Paul said he did look a bit more scruffy than before but nothing seems to be different than he last saw Puddy before his Asian trip 6 weeks ago.
WOW! Imagine that?
We figured it must have taken Puddy 6 weeks to finally find a crossing. He must have hunted for food and found shelter somewhere along the way to sustain himself during his journey home. There are two possible crossing places – one in Ringsend, one in Ballsbridge. It would have made the journey so much longer for Puddy. Plus it’s not like Puddy had a map! He must have tried to check along the river multiple times until he reached the point where he saw a crossing.
AND! This incident happened on December 2010!
If you live in Ireland, you should know about the memorable winter!
Because this happened…
Yes! It was the coldest winter in Ireland in 130 years. There is even a Wikipedia entry for the event!
In case you were not in Ireland and you didn’t know how severe the situation was, here is a photo from NASA to show you what happened…
Puddy managed to come home!
It took him 6 long difficult weeks but he was determined to see the humans he loved again, so he made it.
The moral of the story:
- Don’t ever underestimate cat’s ability!
- Use a real pet sitter!
- Cats got attached to their new home and their new human much faster than you think. People underestimate how traumatic it is for the cat when people adopt the cat from a shelter and then return them after. The chance is they already like you and feel abandoned when they got returned. Please think carefully before adopting a cat.
As for my experience working with Puddy, it was a delightful one. He was a teddy bear cat. So soft and cuddly and he was forever very calm. I could totally imagine after his 6 weeks adventure, he would just go straight to the kitchen to eat some food and went straight to bed as if nothing happened. He had that kind of personality. He also liked to ‘disappear’ for days on end going on his adventure, at times making me very nervous as his pet sitter. But Paul and I knew he would come back. He did manage to cross the river from Sandymount to Grand Canal, we trusted that he would be ok, and he always was!
Unfortunately, Puddy was diagnosed with FIV and then a tumour on his tummy on 2014. He passed away suddenly one day outside his home. The neighbour came tell Paul that Puddy collapsed outside. He has already gone to the rainbow bridge by the time Paul got to him. He was only 9 years old.
Puddy was an extraordinary character. He will be sorely missed. I will dedicate this post to my great friend Puddy. May you rest in peace. I have also put up this story and his photo on The Warmest Spot Cat Memorial page.