That is a picture of my cat Scratch (named so because we called him the devil-kitten), taken about 6 months ago when he was very small. He has been missing for over a month now. My gf and I are extremely upset about it...but at this point I dont have much hope that we'll be seeing him again. In the picture he looks quite evil, but in actuality he was just yawning.
Don't give up hope (though don't be an idiot about it, either
Exp 1) Cricket, my older adopted child, the furry one, once about 3 years ago spent 6 mo sponging off a house 2 lots up the street. They weren't encouraging him much, just feeding him a bit because he would come up on the porch and looked woeful, so apparently he just couldn't find his way home. My surmise: He had gone out post-snow-storm, when it was icing up. track evidence later indicated that he may have had a confrontation in the yard with 'The Great Enemy', a neighborhood cat fond of pushing the territorial limits of anyone who didn't live outside full-time. He either chased or was chased out of yard to street, where I lost the trail. Next door, between us and his eventual retreat, the neighbors have a G. Retriever who spent, at that time, a great deal of time outdoors ('Invisible Fence') and who chased/barked menacingly at any cats who crossed HIS territory when he was present. I think Cricket got chased into the dog yard, then further chased to the 'land beyond' which was also beyond his usual haunts. Maybe with a stay in a tree for awhile. The snow/ice stayed on the ground for 2 weeks, but melted refroze most days, thus confusing his pathfinding instincts and making his first few days really miserable. Beyond that, he managed to put the touch on the girls up the street with the porch (which they thought he was sleeping under) and the pattern was established. In the spring my wife was out walking, got to talking with one of the girls (college town, sharing a house one of the dad's owns) and the subject of losing the cat as family trauma came up. Voila!
Exp 2) (shorter) My sister-in-law brought two kittens home that had been born in grandma's barn. S-in-L goes off to college, M-in-L continues to keep the brothers. One is shy and a lap cat, one is alpha. One day he just doesn't come home for supper. Much looking eventually IDs / sees him around the neighborhood, but can't be cajoled home (apparently feral by this time). Glimpsed around every year or so, with the general rep around the neighborhood of Top Cat. Then not seen for about 4 years. One rainy fall night, I think 9 years after he went out on his own (minimum of 7 years), my M-in-L hears scratching at the front door, then some mewling. 'Lil Bit' never uses the front door, AND he is curled on the couch. Open front door; in walks Boots, looking like "an old boxer who has finally given up the ring". Goes right to the food dish, then asks for some petting. Stayed withour straying until he died about 2-3 years later.
Moral of stories:
1) Cats talk to God as a near-equal (one-way or the other). 2) God knows where you live.