I think I was about five and it was this gorgeous maine coon cat I named Ariel.
She was an indoor/outdoor cat and one time she went out for a bit and just...never came back. My mother said she most likely either got hit by a car or the Asian people down the hill ate her (seems a bit racist I guess, but she said she had proof they were taking in strays and eating them...as a child, I never doubted her. I think it was just one of those neighborhood rumors though.).
I always figured she just got lost and was adopted by someone.