The Robinson family was devastated when Willow, their cat, disappeared on the stormy night of Feb. 26.
It was the height of the “Beast from the East” cold wave and as Storm Emma was pummeling their home in Hope under Dinmore, Herefordshire, England—one could hardly imagine a worse time for the 18-month-old tabby to vanish.
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They searched for Willow day after day and plastered the neighborhood with his pictures. To no avail.
Then, on March 8, their worst fears materialized. The father, Jonny, 32, went to search the road in front of their house and found a lump of fur.
“It resembled a cat,” his wife Caterina, 35, said.
“I was trying to be positive saying, ‘that’s not him, that’s not our cat.’
“Jonny couldn’t sleep that night, he went calling for Willow and then scraped what was off the road.”
He took the remains to a vet.
“I kept saying that’s probably not him, I wanted to buoy him up,” Caterina said.
But the vet confirmed their worries. The remains likely belonged to a cat. One with the same markings as Willow. The vet didn’t say for sure, but the conclusion was self-evident—it probably was Willow.
“The fact our cat hadn’t come home and the body of the cat was outside our house, you put two and two together,” Caterina said.
They broke the news to their two boys, Josh, 7, and Buddy, 4, and put together a touching memorial service for Willow.
Yet even then, Jonny didn’t let go.
“I need you to keep hoping it wasn’t the cat,” he told Caterina.
“I thought I’ll just play along with it just to cheer him up,” she said.
Josh, the older son, kept leaving cat food outside—just in case. But it was left untouched.
Then, on March 10, something changed. The cat food was gone.
Jonny went to investigate.
“Jonny went outside to the coal shed and came running back inside,” Caterina said.
He was holding Willow in his arms. The cat was alive and relatively well, save for an injured rear leg. The family rejoiced.
But how could it be?
Indeed, sometimes it seems cats have nine lives—and sometimes you just bury the wrong cat.
“It’s amazing but we obviously have someone else’s cat buried in our garden,” Caterina said. “We can at least say that they had a nice burial.”