Sisi, in the morning of Feb 6, before I let you out of the house into the vastness of Laohu Valley Reserve while I was leaving , I picked you up and said to your pretty little face: “Don’t you dare to ever leave me. Please wait for me to come back again in a couple of months”.
So where have you gone now?? It’s over four weeks since you disappeared without a trace. You have never ever left me since you and I become friends in 2006. Each time I was back at Laohu Valley, I was looking forward to finding you inside my bedroom already waiting and without fail. And I was each time greeted by your excited sweet little voice. You showered me with affection with your pretty little head rubbing my cheeks. You showered me with love by watching me quietly in the middle of the night. You kept me such good company during the day if there were no other people around. You waited for me patiently on the big tree if I had guests in the house, as if guarding me.
Many a solitary nights passed with you besides me purring contently. You kept that wild side of you, the genes you inherited from perhaps a blackfooted cat father, to yourself, but it betrays you none the less-the shyness that kept you away from other humans. But you were always there for me. You would emerge out of anywhere whenever I called out: “Sisi….Sisi…”, and you have always run to me excitedly, out of trees, bushes or from the top of my roof.
So where have you gone?? I worried about you each time I left. I investigated how to get you to London without putting you into quarantine but knew you wouldn’t be happy in an apartment in a big city with no trees to climb, no bush to hide, no mice to catch, and no shining stars to behold. Therefore I wanted to wait till both you and I are old, so none of us could travel any more.
So why have you gone? I was so proud of you, your wild genes and boasted often to friends and visitors about my friendship and bond with you-my “million dollar wild cat”. Even though the worry that I may one day return to Laohu Valley without finding you around always lurks around the corner, I never ever expected this to happen, and so soon too.
Did I put a curse on you when I spelled it out loud to your little face forbidding you to ever leave me? Perhaps I should not have said that to you? Perhaps you are just playing hide & seek with me? I cant think of any reason why you are gone: You are too quick to be taken by a jackal, too smart to have a fight with a caracal, too athletic to fall from a tree, too cautious to touch a porcupine. Or perhaps you are poisoned by a Cape cobra? Or perhaps you were poisoned by neighbouring farmers’ jackal control traps? However, you never wandered that far away…
Or perhaps you simply decided to have an adventure somewhere!
But wherever you are, you should know I am always waiting for you, to return to me one day.
Li Quan from Laohu Valley on April 5h 2012