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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. I missed you! My Thanksgiving was bittersweet – an amazing, memory-making week with family, followed by one sad event that has overshadowed the fun for me for the last several days.

I’ll start with the news that has left me heart-broken, because I don’t want to end on a sad note, then, I’ll show you scenes depicting what I’ve been up to for the last week.

1. Gus has disappeared. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time or follow me on Facebook, you know that I love that cat more than I love a lot of people I know. He’s the best cat I’ve ever had. Even the neighbors have told me that they don’t like cats, but they like Gus because he just has so much personality.

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Unfortunately, I’m a little slow on the uptake and didn’t suspect anything when my two other (strictly outside) cats disappeared in the last few months. They’re both older, so I chalked it up to old age. After Gus disappeared, I started to suspect that someone has been doing something to the cats and Gus is their latest victim. It’s been two weeks today since the last time I saw him and he never stays gone for more than a day or so.

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We’ve put up fliers and Brian has asked around, but I’m not holding out much hope, especially after a few phone calls yesterday. One was from a lady who told me that she’s seen coyotes around the woods in our subdivision and she thinks they got one of her cats. The other was from a lady who thought Gus looked like her cat that’s been missing for a week. It wasn’t him. Her cat was 8 years old. She also told me that another of her cats had disappeared.

After I talked to her, I called animal control to see if they knew of anything going on since we’ve apparently had a lot of cats in the neighborhood come up missing. Unfortunately, he confirmed the coyote thing, saying that their numbers are high this year and there have been many reports of them encroaching on rural subdivisions. He also said that cats are their prey of choice.

I wish I’d known all this a couple of weeks ago,

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I keep watching the dining room window, waiting to see his face staring back at me, letting me know he’s ready to come inside. I find myself watching for him to come running down the hill in the direction he’d usually return home from his explorations.

I miss my fur-baby more than I can explain.

Gus’s disappearance has overshadowed much of the festivities of the Thanksgiving holiday for me, but we did have a lot of fun we before I realized that Gus was gone. We left on November 16 to go to Disney. At that time, I thought Gus was just off exploring and I kept telling myself all week that Brian’s parents just weren’t seeing him when they came to check on him and our outside dog.

2. We spent Thanksgiving week at Disney. We’ve never done that before, but my mom, my sister, and I started talking about it  over the summer and everything just fell into place for us to go. Ten of us went: my mom and step-dad; my aunt, my sister and my niece; and Brian, the kids and I.

Disney Family

3. We saw Cinderella’s Castle decorated for Christmas. And, I even managed to get a halfway decent picture of it. We’ve been to Disney lots of times, but never around Christmas, so it was a treat to get to see all the decorations.

Cinderella's Castle

4. We got to visit all four parks. If I recall correctly, the last time we were able to visit all the parks was 1998. That means that Megan and Josh had never been to Animal Kingdom and I’m pretty sure they’ve never been to Epcot until this trip.

Family at Epcot

5. All the kids were big enough to ride all the rides. Translate that to read: we were able to convince Josh and Megan to ride all the roller coasters – and they loved them! The only ride I didn’t convince them to ride was the Tower of Terror…but that’s because I don’t ride it either!

That’s okay, though. Brian and Brianna rode it twice. She loves it. She was just 5 the first time she rode it. Brianna is definitely my daredevil kid.

I was thrilled to get to ride Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest and I was so excited that Josh and Megan enjoyed the Rockin’ Roller Coaster – that meant we got to ride it twice, too!

6. Megan was still able to enjoy all the characters. Yeah, she knows they’re not real, but she still enjoyed meeting them, getting her photo with them, and getting them to sign her autograph book.

Megan and Goofy

I did, too!

Me and Woody

7. I got lots of exercise. I wore my Fitbit. The least number of steps I got while we were gone (not counting travel days) was just over 15,000. The most was just over 21,000. Yes, there were some kids complaining about their feet hurting.

Brian and Kris at Epcot

8. It was colder than expected. We checked the forecast several times before we left home. It was supposed to be in the upper 70’s for highs and upper 50’s for lows. It was like that the first day. The rest of the week was 15 degrees cooler than it was supposed to be.

For the most part, we were okay in jeans and the light jackets we brought, but the day we went to Animal Kingdom it was cold. Even the meerkats wouldn’t come out and play.

9. We made some great memories. One reason we went ahead and did all four parks is because we realized that this might be the last time we get to do that as just a family of five. The next time we’re able to go, Brianna may have to work or there may be a serious boyfriend in the picture.

Phone Booth

It was nice to traipse around the parks together with just the kids and us or them, my niece, and my sister. We even splurged for dinner at the Sci-Fi dinner theater, the place Brian and I enjoyed so much when we went last summer. We thought the kids would enjoy it and they did.

10. Traveling on Thanksgiving wasn’t so bad. We checked out of our room at Disney on Wednesday because they didn’t have anymore rooms for Wednesday night, but we stayed at another hotel in Orlando on Wednesday night so we wouldn’t have to travel the day before Thanksgiving.

We were going on the theory that everyone would already be where they were going on Thanksgiving day. That worked pretty well. Traffic was very light. Our biggest challenge was finding a place to eat. Cracker Barrel was the only place open – and everyone knew it.

The first Cracker Barrel we tried had a 60-90 minute wait. The next one had a 2 hour wait and we were less than 2 hours from home, so we skipped it, too. (Jamie, that was at your exit – we almost called you to see if you had any leftovers at your house. {grin})

We tried one last Cracker Barrel and they seated us right away. That was good because we’d already decided we were eating there, regardless. We couldn’t take anymore time in the van with restless, irritable, travel-weary kids.

That was my Thanksgiving week. How was yours?

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22 Comments

  1. Last spring we lost two adult cats and five kittens, we suspect coyotes. I sure do miss those kitties. Unfortunately, the squirrels and mice are all too happy.

    1. That’s so sad, Thia. I know what you mean, though — I don’t think the mice, squirrels, and lizards miss Gus as much as I do.

  2. SO sorry about Gus! 🙁 I have furry babies too, so I ‘get it’. But glad you all had a wonderful time in Disney. 🙂

    1. A lot of people don’t get it. It’s nice to know there are people who do. It’s amazing how a pet goes from being “just a cat” to someone that you truly love.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your cat! We live in Minneapolis (and I mean IN Minneapolis) and there have unbelievably been coyotes spotted in our neighborhood as well. One even showed up to a neighborhood block party this summer. It sounds like it’s getting to be a bigger issue everywhere! I really hope he turns up. It’s such a hard thing.

  4. I was so sad to hear that Gus didn’t come back! We lost a cat to a coyote a few years ago. I almost said no more cats after watching my one daughter who was especially close to the kitty cry so hard. We always try to get our cats to stay inside but they inevitably run outside. They just love it out there, catching mice and lizards and tormenting our dog 🙂 Sounds like Gus had a happy life!

    1. It is hard to keep them in. Gus was supposed to be an inside cat, but he loved being outside. He’d usually come in and lie around all day and be ready to go out and prowl at night. The neighbor behind us said he used to come lie on her deck and visit “the girls” (her indoor cats). I said absolutely no more cats for several days, but I’m starting to weaken. Gus is going to be a hard act for another cat to follow, but I loved him so much that I do eventually want another cat to love…if we can find the right one. Gus found us.

  5. Ah, that is so sad! I’m on the verge of tears here! I loved your Gus too..and I’d only seen photos and read about him. I’ll admit that I couldn’t read the rest of your post- I’ll do it later.
    I’m going to go hug my kitty now.
    I’m so sorry for you guys!

    1. (((Blossom))) Thank you. You can’t imagine how much it means to me to know that others understand. I can’t even express how much I loved that cat. We’re still hoping that we’re wrong and he’ll come home, but I’m doubtful that will happen. It rained last night and he hates being out in the rain. I think if he were able he would have come home.

  6. So sorry about Gus! Right around the birth of my 3rd child, one of our cats went missing. So there was some confusion about when he was last seen when we decided he was missing. And lots of people in the neighborhood also blamed the coyotes. And then a year later, I came across a flyer of someone’s missing cat and it was MY cat! So I called them. She said she thought he’d belonged to someone who had moved quickly due to a foreclosure and so she went & put one of those electronic tags in him. She did NOT try to find the owners. And to make it all the worse, after agreeing with me about how great he was and how he was so important to them, she admitted they’d already gone out and gotten a replacement cat! It’s been 2 1/2 yrs now and my cats & I still talk about him coming home. So the good news is maybe Gus got cat-napped and not eaten. The bad news is maybe he got cat-napped! 🙂

    1. I’ve never been a fan of those electronic chips, but when that one lady called yesterday because she thought Gus looked like her missing cat I started to see the value of them if, for nothing else, than to prove your cat is your cat. Once I told her we’d had Gus since he was a kitten 2.5 years ago, she agreed that he wasn’t her cat because hers was 8 years old. I know it’s not usual for an indoor/outdoor cat to visit another family, though. I’d have hated if it *had* been the same cat and we’d had to go through some ordeal of proving Gus was ours.

  7. So sorry to hear about Gus. My heart breaks for you. We had to go through the heart wrenching agony of having one of ours, Mr. Bud, put down this past June. He was 20 years old and my husband and I had him for half of our lives; our kids never knew life without him. We all had a moment last night as we were unpacking Christmas decorations and came across our tree skirt. It still has some of his fur attached to it ~ curled up under the tree was his favorite napping spot over the holidays. This will be our first Christmas in 20 years that he won’t be with us; thankfully we have an ornament with his name on it that will have special place on the tree this year.
    I agree, I love my pets more than many people and they hold such special places in our hearts. I hope yours will be on the mend soon. I will be keeping you in thoughts and prayers.
    On a happier note, it sounds like you had a grand time at the happiest place on earth, and, though you didn’t mention it, I am betting you went to a certain long awaited movie that premiered recently (grin). Hope you enjoyed it.

    1. Oh, Dia, it just broke my heart to read that. I can’t imagine how you must miss Mr. Bud. I truly thought we’d have many, many years with Gus like that.

      Yes, we did have a fun time at Disney and yes, I have partaken of a few viewings of a certain long-awaited movie. It was, in my opinion, the best of all of them, but that stands to reason that it was based on my favorite part of my favorite book of the series. Brianna works at the theater and had to work the premiere. I wasn’t going to go see it without her until I realized I’d have to wait on her to get off work anyway, so I might as well be watching the movie. 😉 Brian and I took her to see it at the nice theater in Downtown Disney while we were gone.

  8. Oh, Kris. This makes me so very sad to hear about your sweet fur-baby!! Will say a prayer that little Gus will find his way home.

  9. I am glad you had such a wonderful time in Disney. You all look like you are enjoying yourselves!! I wish you had come home to better news about your pet. I am sorry for your loss.

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