Just FYI, I hope that this isn't the cause of the missing cats, but a few days ago, both of our cats (outdoor cats) were almost caught by a red fox. We live in the Lake Cochituate area. The first attack occurred just after dusk on one evening and our older cat barley got through the "cat door" (torn screen area) of our screen door and kep running all the way through to the other end of the house. I thought she was being chased by another, bigger cat and I saw the outline of it in the dark, remembering later that that "cat" looked awfully big and it's shape didn't seem quite right. Then the very next morning, around dawn, our second smaller and younger cat went flying by the same door and I happened to notice -- and saw she was being chased by a fox! She ran up a tree and barely escaped the fox, which jumped a good eight feet up the tree before falling back. I ran outside waving my arms and making sounds like a bear (or what I thought a bear might sound like!) and it scurried off. Haven't seen it since, but it is clearly very aggressive and our cats are now very cautious when outdoors and we are more cautious about being alert to the return of the fox.

We lost both of our dogs to illness and old age in the fall and these episodes make me think we will/should get another dog. We used to laugh about how the younger, bigger one, would dash out the door barking at "ghosts." I now suspect that he was keeping more than ghosts at bay.