One of the things that I love most about Max is his wild spirit…that is until he decides be wants to run away.
On nice days we let the kitties outside on the deck and casually watch them. Pandora and Rufus enjoy lying in the sun or on their ledge we rigged up for them, but Max prefers to walk across the top rail. More than a few times he has jumped to the nearby window ledge a few feet down, and once he jumped from the rail, to the ledge, and then did a flying squirrel technique to the grass below. It has been a really long time since he has even attempted to walk on that side of the deck, knowing that he would be reprimanded.
Friday was a particularly lovely Spring evening. I let the kitties outside and sat nearby, reading. It grew dark, I checked up on the kitties, all were accounted, I went back to reading. About 15 minutes later Sly came down to prep dinner. I turned on the deck light and called on the kitties. Max did not come. I searched all around the house calling his name. Usually he comes immediately when called so when he didn’t we knew he had jumped.
The next couple of hours were spent double checking every nook and cranny, driving around the neighborhood, and scouring the woods with flashlights calling his name and lightly clanging a can of cat food. I’m sure we made a curious sight on a Friday evening as I noticed several curious neighbors peering at us through their windows wondering what the heck was going on.
In my gut I knew he was hiding in the woods. And in my mind, having escaped once before in our old house (by unlatching and sliding open the basement screen window while we are away!) I knew he could find his way back. He had also been microchipped since his last escape so there was a tiny bit of comfort that of he were found he would be returned. And yet, despite all logic, there’s always the fear he would one day return to his feral roots and never come home.
We left out food, opened the gate to our backyard and opened the screens. Rufus was abnormally vocal as he walked through the house meowing like crazy in search of Max. After a couple hours I heard Pandora screeching. I looked outside and saw a gray cat running away. It started to rain and I worried Max would become too frightened to come out of the woods. At this point we decided to “house trap” Max – we locked the other two kitties, put the food just inside the back entrance, and left the door open.
At 3:45 am I heard the back gate creak. I popped my head up, but no Max. Five minutes later, seemingly as if by magic, a soggy gray mottled cat appeared at the top of the stairs. I called Max’s name and he meowed back. He was finally home. After drying him off, feeding him and giving him lots of kisses, I finally went to bed. Rufus immediately realized who he was, licked his face, and they were inseparable for days.
You may be wondering why we continue to let Max on the upper deck when there is a good chance he will make a run for the woods. For the most part Max is very good, very eager to please, and very obedient. But having once been a feral, he has a very wild spirit. It would be more wrong to always keep him cooped up inside. We have no plans of letting him roam freely in the woods but at least we know that if he ever escapes again that he will find his way back home.