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Outdoor cats - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Outdoor cats
My cats are all indoor cats. They've only been outside a few times in their lives, and it's always been supervised. My neighbor knocked on my door a little earlier this evening, to tell me that he'd seen one of my cats sitting on my window ledge, outside the house. He had been worried, because the blinds were down, and the cat was outside of the blinds, and he was concerned the cat couldn't get back in. He showed me which window, and I discovered I'd left it open, having forgotten that the screen fell out of it and I'd never gotten around to putting it back in.

We glanced about, and two cats were immediately visible, neither of which was on the windowsill. "How many cats do you have?" he asked. I have three, but one is afraid of strangers, and could have run and hid. Or, she could have jumped out the window. We both grabbed flashlights, and he helped me look for her in my backyard.

I got to my driveway, and saw the shadow of an animal running away. It climbed my other neighbor's fence and was gone. "Mousie?" I called. "Kitty-kitty!" Silence. "Yes," I told my neighbor, "it may be a little confusing, but my cat's name is Mouse." We both looked around my backyard, shining our flashlights about, and I called her a few times. Nothing.

I was worried, but not frantically so. The reason is that Mouse fell out of a window of this house once before. I think she was relaxing on the window ledge, leaned a little too hard on the screen, and it fell out, her along with it. I'm not sure, because I didn't witness the event.

I was sitting in my livingroom at the time, talking to a friend, when I heard this loud THUD from the back of the house. Then a short pause, then again, THUD-scratch-scratch. Puzzled, I walked into the den, and saw nothing. Then I heard the strange noise again, right outside the window. THUD-scratch-scratch I looked out the window and was utterly shocked to see Mousie, huddled on the wet grass. She gathered herself, and sprang with all her might, aiming for the open window. She hit the side of the house just under the window, scrambled for a foothold, and slid back down. She meowed pitifully, then tried again.

Imagine, if you will, you are a small creature who has lived indoors, taken care of, all your life. That would be like your world. Then one day, something awful happens, and you fall out of your world! All of a sudden you are in a dark, cold, wet, completely foreign place. There above you, in the distance, you can see a warm beckoning rectangle of light. You know your home and everything you love is through that opening, but you just can't reach it. You try, and try, but it's too far away. That's what had happened to Mouse. She didn't know where she was or what had happened to her, and she didn't know what to do except keep trying, whatever the futility, leaping for that window.

Of course I rushed outside and picked her up. Mouse generally hates to be picked up, but that time she just huddled stiffly, burrowing her head under my arm, a frightened shaking ball of fur, and let me carry her inside. I pet her and reassured her, and when I set her down she ran and hid for hours somewhere she probably considered safe.

All of this was going through my head while my neighbor and I searched with our flashlights. I thought if she was outside, she was unlikely to run away. When we didn't see her in the backyard, I told him I'd go search my house and see if I could find her indoors. He was really helpful, saying that if I didn't find her I should knock on his door and he'd help me continue to search. I thanked him profusely.

I went into the basement, where Mouse likes to hide, and called for her. I heard a pitiful response, and then she crept out and looked at me resentfully. I think she was just mad that we'd had a visitor. "There you are! We were worried about you," I told her with relief. She let me scratch her head briefly, then she backed away, not understanding what all the fuss was about.
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Comments
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: June 9th, 2002 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you were able to find her. I kept a friend's cat around Christmas of 2000 when she had to get away from abusive boyfriend. She was on her way out of town when she called me from her car and asked if I would take her. After my friend left, I went to buy catlitter and a litter box since my friend had to leave rather quickly and hadn't packed those in her vehicle. When I came back I couldn't find the cat, but I knew she had to be here somewhere, she wasn't in the downstairs bathroom where she was when I left. After several hours, I decided I needed to find her and finally found her underneath my stero rack, which is about 2 inches off the ground, got her out of there, and she went to hiding under the couch for several days. After a few days, she'd greet me when I came home, but would hide under the couch most of the time I was home; she was eating ok because the food was eaten in approriate amounts and her water dish did get lower and the litter box did get used. After about a week, she'd come out more, and just be my friend finally returned after 3 1/2 weeks, Suki (the cat) would sit or lay purring near me and even let me pet her occasionally. I still have the litter box in the garage. And my friend still has Suki.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 10th, 2002 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
That's great you were able to take care of her! Not surprising she was scared for awhile, being in a totally new place without her mom or anything. Cool that you two kind of became friends before she left though. but it didn't inspire you to get a feline companion of your own?
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: June 10th, 2002 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re:

Thought about it, but some of my other friends are allegeric to cat hair.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: June 10th, 2002 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad she was safe! Can't believe your cats don't go outside, they are missing out on the world.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 10th, 2002 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re:

Thanks, me too! Yeah...sometimes I feel guilty for not letting them experience the outside world. However, outdoor cats have a much shorter life expectency than do indoor. Also they are exposed to diseases, get in fights with other animals, are in danger of getting run over by cars (I live by a major road). Those are the reasons I decided to keep them indoors. They have each other for play and stimulation, plenty of toys, and windows through which to watch the rest of the world.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: June 10th, 2002 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Fair enough.
Perhaps it is a UK thing but I think all cats are allowed out here. They generally use this oportunity to experience freedom by exploring the delights of crapping all over a strangers garden!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 10th, 2002 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Re:

ha-ha! This is another good reason to keep them indoors! Actually I'd guess it's probably half the cat owners, or so, allow their pets to go outside. Depends on where they live, too....
cannibal From: cannibal Date: June 10th, 2002 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's just a UK thing. Most people here let their cats out... but then Rennie has also had all of her cats' front paws declawed. This makes her worry much less when they claw the furniture (they still do it, it just doesn't ruin the couch) but they can't hunt or defend themselves in the wild anymore.

Personally, the only time I had a cat it lived at my grandparents' place, and was barred from my grandmother's house shortly after kittenhood for chasing my mother's little maltese dog and leaping off the fridge onto my grandfather's head, claws out. Thomas was a free spirit, he killed mice in the barn, but I think he mostly lived on snakes and birds, which he would occaisionally bring by the back porch as offerings. He was a rather large cat. Didn't live as long as a housecat, at least as far as we know... I only spent summers at my grandparents', and he stopped by the house less and less often, finally just didn't show up anymore.

I'm really not sure why anyone would have a cat if they didn't own a barn, but girls seem to like them. Rennie says I prefer cat people, but I think it's just that I prefer girls (and it's a bit difficult dating girls who have a dog, because I've gotten very allergic in the last few years).
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: June 11th, 2002 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Girls do like cats. I am more of a dog person myself, dogs are loyal. Cats just do their own thing, although they sometimes bring "presents" which are usually just dead mice which they leave on your bed for you.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 11th, 2002 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re:

My cats and I get along well, they're cuddley and friendly. I like dogs too, but they require more maintenance - with my cats for example, if I want to go away for a weekend, I just put out an extra bowl of food and they're fine. ...and I haven't gotten any nasty presents, because they can't go outside and haven't found any rodents or birds inside.....
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: June 11th, 2002 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't dislike cats you understand. I just prefer dogs.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 11th, 2002 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re:

Fair enough!
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: June 11th, 2002 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Although it is quite fun to throw them out the window!
cannibal From: cannibal Date: June 11th, 2002 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most girls just don't seem to understand this... though some of them do rejoice in getting little "presents" from their cat, praising it and calling it a great hunter. It's quite entertaining. ;-)
cannibal From: cannibal Date: June 10th, 2002 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I fear that this most recent event was my fault - was it in the litterbox room? I opened the windows in there because of that smell we were talking about. Glad Mouse didn't get out, sorry you worried.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 10th, 2002 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re:

Yes, that's the one. It's just as much my fault though: I should have put that screen back ages ago. It's just awkward. Maybe you can give me a hand with it next time you're in the neighborhood?
cannibal From: cannibal Date: June 10th, 2002 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sure.
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