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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Eight: Case File No. 07-371

blue background; CASE FILE number 07-371, what happened to Mittens?" with a minimalist illustration of a tuxedo cat

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Where We Left Off:

During an excavation to alter the landscaping, an artifact was uncovered The detectives are hoping to get more information on it.

This is a heartbreaking case and if you need to skip it, I understand. While I try to keep everything fun and fictional here, there are some real animal deaths that are discussed like in this case.

Puss in Boots:

Something you should know about cat behavior is that there are types of cats who need to get out their aggression when they detect an intruder nearby. Other cats don’t care at all. At the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency, the Butler and I (the biographer) have spent many hours watching cat expert, Jackson Galaxy, on My Cat From Hell and his YouTube channel. It was watching his old television series that educated on me on how cats on one side of a door can react to strangers on the other side of the door. A couple of my previous cat companions were “sprayers,” marking inside the house even though they were fixed; this was male and female alike. Fortunately, with Oliver and Gus, we do not have that stinky problem. However, we do have a major aggression problem.

When there’s a cat outside, Gus and Oliver need to be separated as quickly as possible or they will try to destroy each other. They make those howling, hissing, and growling noises that could be used as sound effects in movies. This behavior is only half the problem. The other half is that The Cook’s anxiety goes into turbo drive and takes longer for her to return to normal than it does the cats. In anxiety terms, that feeling of being content and able to think using the full functions of the frontal lobe is call the window of tolerance. Needless to say, she has zero tolerance when Ollie and Gus fight.

Enter Mittens

Beginning in January (2024), I began seeing a tuxedo cat with white mittens on the trailcam footage, particularly the one that points at the invisible line all the wildlife seem to follow. There’s no actual path, but it is a border to the woods. I started naming all the images and videos of this cat with a similar naming convention like “black and white tuxedo cat with white mittens” or something akin to a description. There are multiple cats that are black and white, but each has a distinct pattern.

Gus, Ollie, and I studied the evidence from the trailcam. Because of this stranger cat’s size and build, we made an assumption that it was part of someone’s family (or being fed somewhere) and likely a male. He looks quite beefy and not in a fat/overweight way.

By April, Mr. Mittens was here a lot! Then in May, not only did the camera catch him visiting, but Gus and I caught him in the act of trespassing! It was a rare evening patrol because I felt bad that the morning adventure had been short. I thought we might see something different, but I didn’t expect Mr. Mittens to visit while Gus was out. He laid down in the grass and basically dared Gus to charge him. At that particular moment, Gus was busy with a snake.

New cats and couple of the familiar ones were showing up on the cameras as the weather got warmer. The ones I call Lokai and the döppelgus called Bud were among them. There’s also a skinny dark tabby and a medium-sized lighter cat with some tabby stripes on its tail (that one might be Ringo).

The Missing Mittens

The last time Mittens appeared on our trailcam was May 16, 2024 at 3:43PM. On May 21st, I got an email that shocked me. It was a Missing poster announcement from the microchip company, Home Again. At the top of the poster was a familiar tuxedo cat lounging in a cardboard box. It had to be the same one that was here because the “last seen” location is not far away. Coincidentally, my nickname for this cat, Mittens, is his real name! We got other details correct too that he did have a family somewhere and was male.

I compared my photos to the poster and grew confident that I had information to share with Home Again. Not everyone in the household agreed with me. I usually get Missing announcements like this from other nearby towns. This was the first time a notification had the same town.

Lost Cat poster with Mittens photo and details (some blurred) from HomeAgain microchip company

I called Home Again and answered their questions. I said I was absolutely positive Mittens had been here. I was willing to share my information and gave them permission to pass it on to the owners.

“He’s here every few days,” I explained. “If they want to come onto the property, that’s no problem.”

The best Home Again could do involved two different approaches. The first was to make the location broader and not our specific address in order to send out an updated announcement that Mittens was last seen at our closest crossroads. I never got that updated email. The next step was to forward more accurate information to the owners.

The man on the phone didn’t sound enthusiastic like I was. I was elated! If one of our cats was missing, I’d want to know every detail immediately. He said what usually happens is that if there’s a volunteer group in that area who is willing to set traps, they’ll do so.

I deflated. I don’t think we have any groups like that here. We have Animal Control. They have to cover a lot of territory.

The man did say that if I could set a trap and hang onto the cat, that would be the best case scenario. I discussed this with the elder humans and we didn’t think it would work. We’d get a raccoon or opossum or the wrong cat. There are so many critters roaming in this backyard alone that the chances didn’t seem good that we would be able to capture Mittens on our own.

Gus and I began to increase the frequency with which I check the better of the two trailcams which is the one that all of the instances of Mittens’ visits except for one time when I moved trailcam1 to a different angle.

Was That the End of Mittens?

I didn’t want to believe it, but The Butler said he read a Facebook post about a tuxedo cat being hit by our post office. He didn’t say dead, but he also couldn’t find the original post to share with me. I had seen Mittens down in that area. I thought he lived over there, but some cats love to have a wide range for roaming. Based on the reports, Mittens was that type of cat willing to cover over a mile with some sort of routine. The trailcam would have a few dates close together and then he’d disappear for weeks.

Days later, I couldn’t let it go. If Mittens’ body was down there, the owners had a right to know. I parked my car and searched, but didn’t seen anything. If there was a body of any kind, the wildlife would have cleaned it up quickly.

There haven’t been any signs of the husky Tux cat since May 16th. We’re sad for the family of Mittens who must be neighbors. We wish he could have been safely trapped while he roamed and returned to his home.

Case Findings:

The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency received an email that cleared up one mystery and then opened another. We had confidently matched the email report from the microchip company to one of the frequent roaming cats who visit the estate. It was the 2-year-old tuxedo named Mittens.

Unfortunately, after our last sighting and subsequent report to the microchip company, The Butler saw a social media post that said a tuxedo cat had been hit in the road near the post office. Mittens is presumed dead.

  • Victim: Mittens
  • Age: 2
  • Markings: Tuxedo cat
  • Status: Presumed dead
  • Manner of death: accidental homicide
  • Method of death: vehicular hit and run

Case Status: Closed

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