The following account was related to us by Missy M., who lives in Arizona, where the incident took place. Her husband refused to go on record or to speak with us. As usual, it is reported with local color and grammar retained for authenticity.
Pima County, South of Tucson, Arizona
The M. home is a well kept, one-story home built some time in the ’50s. The land around it is peppered with sage and creosote. The yard is sand and cactus, relieved only by an occasional rock or patch of gravel. To the East lies a major highway. A dirt road runs parallel to the highway, S. Corwin Rd., and there are many dirt trails leading between them, made by four-wheel drives and motorcycles. Low hills in the area provide a lot of cover for small animals, as does the many stands of desert plants. The only shade is provided by tall mesqute trees, which grow in stands along the road, which is pretty hard to follow after a couple miles, especially if you don’t have a map. But there is ample cell phone coverage in the area so few people ever get lost, unlike years ago, when rescue teams on horseback combed thise area once or twice a year to find lost kids and campers, and foolish tourists.
We used our cell phone to go the final couple miles down S. Corwin Rd, since after awhile it turns into nothing but a trail and if you’re not familiar with it, we can see how people could get lost.
Mrs. M met us in the front yard and took us around back, to the patio, which was covered with a wide canvas roof. She was eager to talk, and wasted no time.
First we got a little background.
“Me and my husband bought this ranch property about a half hour outside of Tucson, about half way to Green Valley, in the late 90’s. It’s a single level, ranch style that sits between the hills, off of highway 19 far enough so we never have to worry about hearing any traffic. We’re north of a nearby subdivision, and close enough so our daughter can catch a school bus on the road at the end of our drive.”
We asked about the local animal population and what she’d seen of it.
“We’re used to seeing stray animals that get lost from dumb owners in the subdivision, or pets that get released by owners who can’t afford to keep them anymore. Cats and dogs. They go kind of crazy in the desert, the sun and the heat usually kills them off in a few days. They just aren’t used to that environment. It kills people too, if you don’t know what to expect.”
Aside from strays, anything else?
“Oh yeah, coyotes all the time. And owls, turkey vultures, snakes, that kind of stuff. Hey, they stay out there (she indicated the horizon), we stay in here and we all live together nice and happy.”
We asked about pets, and about the missing cat incident.
“Well, we moved out here to have some land so we could have pets. We got a dalmation and german shepard, and a pot bellied pig, and a bunch of cats. One cat was my little girls favorite, so we kept it in the house. Since all the other cats went outside, she went kind of jealous and got out one night. She never came back.”
“Now, if you live out here you kind of got to get used to the idea that animals are gonna do what animals do, you know, they get each other. Our dogs seem to handle themselves ok and I guess the cats do too, ” she laughed, “cause there’s alway more of ’em!”
Yes, indeed, animals “do things” to other animals, and cats certainly “do things” to other cats that make little cats.
“But my little girls kitty cat, she called it “Pony”, finally got out one day. My husband sez he wasn’t paying attention, you know. It ran outside in the evening and we figured it would have the good lord’s cat sense to figure out how to come home by morning. Well, it didn’t.”
“My little girl went all crazy about it crying for days. My husband, well, he’s useless when it comes to something like this. If it ain’t cars or football he really don’t have much to say.”
We assumed it was her husband, in the house, watching his wife and us behind the curtains that moved just a little bit now and then. We decided not to ask about him after we asked the name of her daughter and Mrs. M. got mad and said it wasn’t any of our business.
“She cried for days and finally I had enough. We let her out of her room long enough to explain to her what happens to animals in the wild, and then her and me took a walk to look for her lost kitty. I didn’t expect much, but I figured it would shut her up.”
We asked where she looked. She pointed toward the horizon, at a group of little cacus covered hills in the distance.
“Oh we just went out there and back. I didn’t want to take her too far, she’s just 6 years old. She’s was already crying by the time we got that far. Told her the flip flops she wanted to wear wouldn’t work out there but she had to see for herself.”
“At the base of that middle hill, where you see that tree? That’s where we found her cat. I was able to recognize it by the collar with the little pink rhinestones. Real cute. Something did something to that poor cat and really tore it apart. It’s whole belly was ripped out and you could see it’s back bone. I made my little girl take the collar off so she had a good look at what can happen to little ones lost in the desert.”
“While she was doing that, ballin’ and cryin’ and trying to run back home, I found a wierd print on the ground. It was like a coyote, but bigger, about the size of a dinner plate. It gave me the heeby jeebies. I know it was a animal print because there was more than one, leading around the bend of the hill. I took a little walk down that way while my girl was messing with the collar, and that’s when I saw the fur. Something had been rubbing against a tree and left a bunch of nasty looking, black wiry hair. Oh and it smelled, oh did it smell. Never smelt nothing like it.”
“I started to feel really wierd. I don’t know why but I know it was wathing me. I got so scared I ran back home and almost forgot my little girl, but I turned around and went back. She had the collar off and was crying in the shade of a big rock. I walloped her for not watching momma and grabbed her up and ran back here as fast as I could. You’re welcome to go out and take look if you want. I don’t think there’s anything left of Pony by now, but it’s easy to find. Just follow that trail between the creosote.”
She showed us where to start, and since the hills were only a short distance away we took off to see what we could see. It wasn’t much. We found some hide that we guessed might be all the was left of Pony, mummified by the dry heat, and we saw all kinds of tracks, including the one odd track we took a photo of, shown below.