It has been a month now since we have seen Max...
He has gone missing before. The first time he was gone for three days and I cried every night until he came home.
Then he disappeared for a whole week.
He reappeared looking none the worse for wear. He knows how to hunt and is a cautious and restrained cat. It was obvious when we put him outside that he had returned to what he considered his natural element. Indoors, he was timid and insecure. Outdoors, the world was his oyster.
Denny and I have called for him every time we go outside. Sometimes in the night we hear the sounds of cat disagreements. We feel Max is around. We feel he is doing okay. We have talked it over and both think that he has moved back to his original home territory, an area to the north of us.
You see, Max first started showing up on our doorstep shortly after I trapped Black Jack last September and moved him inside. Up until then, we hadn't seen the fluffy red cat that lives on the farm south of us, either. So we believe that when we removed Jackie from his home turf, the two cats who had bordering territories moved into his and were "time-sharing" our porch and the food dish until I trapped both of them last November.
So we think Max has gradually pulled back, under the pressure of the red cat, into what was his original stomping grounds. I suspect that as it gets colder and "game" becomes scarcer, we will see Max again.
I hope so.