Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy To Be Here

This is Bart being happy to be inside and warm this morning.

About an hour after I got home from work last night, I went downstairs to get something from the kitchen. Even before I got to the foot of the stairs, I could feel the chill. The door was standing part-way open and the cold night air was streaming in. As I hit the landing, I caught a glimpse of Skinny on the front porch steps but when she saw me, she went running. Oh no! I knew there wasn't a hope in hell that she could be called back to the house. She is one of the most wild of the cats. Taming her was always something I put off for later...

I closed the door, hollered for Denny and we began a nose count. I was relieved that Grendel was still in her den upstairs but Bart was missing.

On the minus side, there would be no coaxing Skinny to come to us and even though I know Bart loves us, I didn't know if he would come to our calling.

On the plus side, both Skinny and Bart were experienced outdoor cats. Bart lived for several years in our yard before we trapped in him 2005 and Skinny had hung around the yard for several months in 2004 before we lured her through the door. They were both wary and knew the hiding spots.

Contrary to popular notions, cats are homebodies and rarely "run away." They can get lost and they can get scared and hide but generally they will stick close to their home.

And it was cold and windy--not very enticing weather for cats who have slept warm and safe for the past few years.

We felt fairly sure that given the chance, both Bart and Skinny would want to be back inside. We just had to find a way to get them back in without letting any more cats out.

We decided to close up the spare bedroom and open the outside door of the cat condo, hoping that the cats who have spent so much time sitting there looking out would realize that it was a way to get back in. We could peer through cracks in the stairs and through the wall vent from the living room to see if any cats were in the bedroom and then sneak out and shut the condo from the outside before anyone could get spooked and dart back out. I also set the live trap and put it by the front door where we could watch in on the monitor camera. Just in case.

I went out a couple times after midnight with a flashlight, calling for Bart. He answered me once and I saw the glint of his eyes up by the fuel tank but he wouldn't come to me and when I walked up there, he melted away into the darkness. About one am I saw him briefly on the front door camera but when I went outside, he was no where to be seen. I took a chair out and sat there for about twenty minutes, hoping he might come to me, but he never did. Cold and tired, I went back up to bed.

I got up about three to check the spare room--no luck.

About five, I came awake gradually, aware of a warm, purring body snuggling next to me. I opened my eyes and saw Denny standing by the bed, looking down at me with a smile. I looked at the cat purring under my hands--and it was Bart!

"He was sitting on the cat tree in the spare room when I checked," Denny told me.

It was a very nice way to wake up. We still have to find Skinny but I am probably about as happy as Bart is this morning.

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