Awful, awful, devastated..
My other half drove home via that estate today (said he doesn't know what compelled him to go there today but something did) and he rang me saying Billy was sitting on someones driveway, with a red collar and a black collar on too. He called his name, the cat looked at him but wouldn't come to him. He rang me, I rang my Dad who lives across the road out of the estate so came quickly. I got kids in car and drove there.
I got there, my parents were in the garden of the person who had let them through to call the cat. My Dad went around to the opposite neighbour as the cat was in the back border bushes. I saw the legs I thought it was him from the back but couldn't get a clear view.
He wouldn't come to me, but then Dad saw his face and said, it's not him. This cat is almost identical but has a black face. My dad went to tell my other half who was minding the kids in the car by that point. Other half couldn't believe it wasn't Billy he saw, then it ran through his mind that this cat maybe had the white fur dyed black on his face?!! He knew this was crazy but he couldn't understand how he could have mistaken this cat for Billy. I also asked my Dad afterwards, when he saw this cats face, did it occur to him at all that it was Billy with a dyed face? My dad said it did occur to him, he thought that for a second, then decided it was crazy. I never got a clear look at Billy as I couldn't see properly through the bushes, only Dad was on the other side telling me it wasn't him. I ran through my mind why anyone would dye a cats face black but still leave his original collar on and it didn't make sense. Other half also said it was crazy, he said why would anyone go to such lengths to do that then leave the collar on. We decided that the phonecalls i had been having almost daily must be wrong. The people who saw this cat must have thought it was my cat, as it had this red collar on and was slim build, young looking and all the other markings.
If my other half who owned and lived with Billy for 3 whole years since we got him as a kitten, couldn't identify him sat right in front of him, looking straight at him, then how the heck could all these people get it right from a couple of photos on a leaflet???! I drove home in shock and couldn't even remember where I was going whilst driving. I took a really long winded route accidently. I am still just numb. All that energy, driving round at 7am after a phonecall on one day, walking the streets talking to people who say they see my cat but cant get him, no one telling me a cat with a red and black collar lived on that estate... surely SOMEONE, including the 15 kids on the streets corner could have told me a cat with a black face does live on this small estate. I'm shocked. My Billy isn't there and I have no idea where he is. I can't describe how gutted I feel now.