Tuesday morning: Fidel comes outside with us as we leave for work, providing his typical morning kitty escorts to the car (he's a protective little guy). As we pull out of the parking lot, we see that Fidel has approached a group of women we don't know and is enjoying being pet by them. Trevor and I comment to each other how friendly and nice Fidel is and how much we love him.
Tuesday evening: We come home from work, expecting to see Fidel waiting for us by the door as it has been snowing and he does not like the cold. He is not. We assume he'll show up soon, but as it gets a little later, we start to worry and Trevor goes out looking for him (accompanied by Tiberius, the snow rescue cat). They come home empty-handed. We hypothesize that Fidel is in somebody else's apartment, as we've had more than one neighbor mention/complain that Fidel will just go into anybody's house he likes.
Wed midday: Fidel finally comes home, and we are glad he is okay. His collar is mysteriously gone. But he has been known to escape collars before (though this most recent one has lasted a long time comparatively).
Wed late night: I let Fidel outside again (he doesn't like to be cooped up for long). Trevor expresses concern that we shouldn't let him out before we get him a new collar. I don't worry much about it.
Thurs morning: Fidel comes home (he also doesn't like to be outside for long) wearing a brand new collar we've never seen before. Complete with jingle bell and rhinestones. Which is not appropriate (Yes, I know Tiberius has a rhinestone collar...but he's a fluffy, sweet cat meant for lying on velvet pillows and Fidel is an athletic, serious cat meant for hunting worg.)
So apparently somebody is trying to steal our cat. I can see assuming he's a stray. He's perpetually hungry and kind of a mess all the time. And his old collar was really shabby looking (months of trying to scratch that thing off will do that). And, as we've discussed, he's very friendly and doesn't understand that he can't go into other people's houses. But he's our cat. He may be loved elsewhere, but we loved him first.
The plan is to buy him a new collar today and replace the mystery collar. When he goes to whoever is attempting to adopt him (I assume he'll go back again; he can't be stopped from anything), hopefully they'll get the message. It kind of makes me sad for whoever is out there excited about their new nice kitty, because I'm sure she'll (of course it's a she...did I mention the rhinestone collar?) be sad that she can't keep him. But there are plenty of cats out there who need homes. And Fidel belongs to us.