I feel so guilty
Hello all. I apologize if this first post is overly long, but this something I have to get off my chest.
On Sunday Feb 6 I must have gone to bed and forgot to lock the front door of my house. It was very windy that evening and sometime early Monday the wind blew the door open. I heard the bang, but being only half awake I assumed it was my brother leaving for work (he normally leaves around 3 AM) Sometime later the cold air seeping in finally roused me from bed. But by that time the damage was done.
Lucky, my indoor calico cat I've had for over five years was gone. She had wandered out. At first I was concerned but didn't panic. Lucky has gotten out about five times before. The last time was almost exactly three years earlier when my niece left the door open. Lucky was gone outside then for exactly a week. But she came back, hungry but with no other ill effects. This was also during the winter and it had even snowed mid-week.
All those other times I instantly assumed Lucky was gone...but she stayed close and came back. I Told myself it was almost inevitable she would get out again, but I won't worry so much because she always came back.
I haven't seen her any sign of her now for almost a month. I've searched the entire neighborhood for days. I've posted signs and placed flyers in mailboxes. I placed two non-lethal traps with tuna by both the front and back doors. I've called the shelter. She's gone.
I have another cat who is a former stray I adopted some years ago and he goes and comes constantly without incident. I see other neighbor cats around all the time. Our street is pretty isolated and with lots of big open yards around. If she had been hit by a car, wouldn't I have seen her body in the street?
I've read that neuted well-fed, well-loved indoor cats will not wander far if they get outside the house. I've read they go into fear mode and just hunker down close somewhere near until hunger and cold force them by home. This is what has happened with Lucky before. On two of the other occasins she got out, I heard her underneath an old car body behind our next-door neighbors garage. I've seached that entire area thoughly several times. No sign of her. What could have happened to her this time?? Where could she have gone???
I feel so guilty because I forgot to lock the down AND I failed to get out of bed to close it promptly before Lucky got out. I imagine she's dead by now. Starved or frozen to death. That little cat loved me so much and I loved her. I feel I let her down and wasn't a responsible pet owner.
I lost another cat to cancer a year ago and in time came to terms with the grief. But you can't control cancer. I left the door unlocked! I didn't re-act fast enough to close it before she got out! And little sweet Lucky paid the price with a cold, wet miserable death!! You have no idea how the guilt gnaws away at me! Who would believe a 43-year old man could feel this way over a cat. Any advice for to deal with my grief and more importantly my GUILT????