He was a stray in the neighborhood I moved to when I bought my house. Based on neighbor reports, he'd been here about 5 years when I finally adopted him in August of 2016 — I moved here in Sept of 2012 and he'd reportedly shown up in the neighborhood the previous winter, neutered but not fully grown. I had been feeding him for a long time but I adopted him when I had a dream he was the reincarnation of my previous cat, Conan. He did have the same personality and baritone meow. Then shortly after adopting him he proved who he had been, with a classic, obnoxious Conan behavior, in answer to my question. He did it immediately once more, then never again — merely threatening to if I accidentally called him one of Conan's nicknames. He was schooling me that I'm not supposed to confuse lifetimes like that.
The last time I saw him was Saturday morning, and the last time anyone else saw him was Sunday sometime. He had 24/7 run of the neighborhood and many food sources. I never considered restricting his access to outside, because he'd lived his whole life outside.
He didn't come home Saturday night, but probably because he was on a food strike, trying to finagle different types of food from me. I'd just thrown away 2 bags of food he'd turned up his nose at, probably because I had bought them on sale and they were past their sell by date. I gave him some fresh food of the same brand, and he ate it, but wasn't thrilled. Then he turned down some tuna water with bits of tuna, which he's never done. It was a negotiating tactic, which he'd done with someone else who fed him. But he was feeling well, apparently, and still eating his daily Trader Joe's cracker cheese treat.
Piecing everything together, talking to people, using the I-Ching Oracle, and Diane's and my intuition, I figure the coyote got him Sunday night, and he died Monday night. I never found the body, but nobody has seen him since. I suspect a coyote was stalking him for 6 months (image of a coyote coming into my mind unbidden when I hugged him). That's why I put up some flashing red lights on the property that are supposed to discourage coyotes (evidence of human activity). But he wandered pretty far, and daily to a lady's house who has seen a coyote on her street a few times. Fact is, he didn't spend much time in my yard where I have the lights.
When I throw the I-Ching now and ask about him returning, it just says Patience.
Wonder what I'll name him next time?