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Murphy, a tabby, has been missing 6 months. His family refuses to give up the search.

Murphy has been missing from his south Raleigh home since Aug. 5.
Murphy has been missing from his south Raleigh home since Aug. 5. Contributed photo

There’s no rule book about how long people should continue searching for a lost pet. A month? A year? Forever?

Murphy, a handsome male tabby, has been missing from his south Raleigh home since Aug. 5. His humans, Christina and Pete Waller, really want him back.

For nearly six months now, the Wallers have been posting pictures of 3-year-old Murphy on social media and websites devoted to missing pets. They regularly check the Wake County Animal Center’s site to see if their kitty is up for adoption.

They set up a Facebook page for Murphy and created an email account for the search effort (murphysmom@protonmail.com).

And they run a recurring ad in The News & Observer’s classifieds section, calling Murphy “a much loved and dearly missed member of our family.”

“I’m old enough that if you have a lost pet, you put it in the classifieds,” Christina Waller said.

Murphy, part of a brood of tabbies belonging to the Waller family, was last seen on Pagan Road near the Bristol subdivision. Many cats are found within one mile of their home, so the Wallers hope their neighbors will be on the lookout for Murphy.

“We’d like to thank everybody who has contacted us,” Christina Waller said. “It’s been very encouraging to realize there are so many kind people. People are, for the most part, very compassionate. The experience has been more than just looking for Murphy. We’re trying to figure out all the resources.”

Pete Waller said it’s common to see deer, raccoons, possums and foxes in their rural neighborhood.

“We’re out in the country and find cats dumped a lot. ... There’s a lot of cover out there,” he said.

The Wallers take in stray cats from time to time. Murphy’s dad, PK (Porch Kitty) was a stray, and another new arrival, Momma, became Murphy’s mother. Her original name was Crazy Girlfriend – because she was so possessive of PK – but the Wallers renamed her when they realized it might seem strange to neighbors.

The Wallers kept all the kitties in that first litter – Murphy’s siblings – then had Momma spayed.

Since Murphy has been missing, the couple has followed up on a number of leads. They even claimed one tabby because they thought it was Murphy, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. Even so, JD (short for John Doe) joined the family.

“Even if there is a small chance Murphy is still alive, we want to give him that chance to come home,” Christina Waller said.

Joining Christina in the search for Murphy is Brooke Aycock, who lives nearby in the Silver Point/Lassiter Farms neighborhood. Her cat, Cleo, a 9-year-old black-and-white tuxedo tabby, disappeared Aug. 19. The two women have joined forces in putting out flyers.

“Christina has been so helpful,”Aycock said. “I still get calls weekly about Cleo. I even found a cat who looked a lot like her. My heart skipped a beat.”

Aycock had been in her new home only a week when Cleo ventured outside with the dogs. Aycock figures the cat was spooked by construction nearby.

“I feel like she’s in the neighborhood beside mine, but I can’t find her,” Aycock said. “I was only 19 when I adopted her, so we’ve grown up together.”

As for Murphy, the Wallers aren’t giving up.

“Even if there is a small chance Murphy is still alive, we want to give him that chance to come home,” Christina Waller said.

She was taken aback when asked what makes Murphy so special.

“Of course we think he’s a great cat,” she said. “Even if he were ugly and crotchety, I’d still want him back. I was there the day he was born, and I took care of his mom. I feel like Momma and I raised him together.”

She added, “We think everything about Murphy is special. Murphy is beautiful, funny, affectionate and full of personality. But that’s not why we’re fighting tooth and nail to find him. He’s family and we love him. That alone makes him irreplaceable and worthy of our every effort to bring him home.”

Susan Shinn Turner is a correspondent for The News & Observer. Email her at susanshinn3535@gmail.com.

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