How long does it take for a deceased cat to smell? I have 4 indoor only cats, but one of them vanished…

Cat, ~14 years, female, not spayed, dsh, 8-10lbs (tiny formally feral cat) Columbia, SC

TL:DR (aka the short summary) I can’t find one of my 4 indoor only cats after 9 days. I fear she had a health issue that seemed minor. But I can’t find her, dead or alive, and I don’t smell a “stink.”

The missing cat is named Phantom Kitty because she’s a feral cat that entered my home through a small opening around my plumbing, and couldn’t get back outside. It was many months before I could even get a good look at her because she was insanely fast and good at hiding. (That opening was sealed after that)

That was 14 years ago. Only in the last 3 years has she actually craved attention and let me pet her. She’s the only pet I’ve never spayed, because when she went into heat she became brave and I was able to get a good look at her, touch her, assess her health, and give her treats.

But last Friday (9 days ago) I noticed pus on my thumb when I pet her. I REALLY tried to find the source of the pus but couldn’t, so I figured the source must have been small and just drained… and I’d check her first thing the next morning. In total, I think she drained about a tablespoon. (It didn’t seem worth an emergency vet hospital visit late Friday night) She was behaving normally at that time.

That was the last time I saw her though. I’ve been tearing my house apart trying to find her. I had a dream that she was trapped in a wall… but I’ve ruled out any possibility of her exiting my home. She IS good at hiding though.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I thought I caught a few wifs of dead animal smell that only lasted a few seconds… but I’m not sure if that was only because I’m looking for that smell now. I also have an EXTREME number of flies in my home right now though. The flies aren’t leading me to a source… they’re just swarming in my kitchen. She is a very thin “alley cat” and might not smell so much… I don’t know.

Sorry for the long story… shouldn’t I strongly smell her if she were passed away by this point?

Every time I hear a tiny noise in my home, I look up expecting to see her!

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