alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

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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