Sunday evenings in our household are not particularly original, often being compounded of the three D’s: DVR, dinner, and denial that Monday morning exists. Last night we added a few other elements that are not as alliterative: panic, flashlights, and one small, acrobatic feline.
We were about to go to bed when John remarked that he hadn’t seen Milo in a while. Ever since the upper deck on our house was made self-contained (that narrowly-averted disaster was a diagnosis of “possible sudden catastrophic failure” of the stairs connecting the upper and lower decks – total removal was deemed preferable to replacement), we’ve casually let the cats wander around up there. Simon is the only one who really likes to go out there, and he pretty much eats the plants that live there or sits under the chair that is on the side of the deck that doesn’t even remotely connect to anything. Since he’s elderly and the fact that the non-Simon-favored side of our deck doesn’t really connect to our neighbors’, we believed that there was little possibility that a confirmed inside-only housecat would decide to wander.
So I didn’t really think much when I noticed Milo, wee Milo, baby of the house and generally pampered feline, step delicately out onto the deck when John was out there grilling. Then sometime later John noted he hadn’t seen Milo in a while. We looked all over the house. We rattled treat containers. We started to panic. And when I went door-to-door down our row of townhouses, our neighbor Patty informed us that yes, she’d seen a small, orange cat on her upper deck. She tried to get him to come to her, but he startled and ran away. That was about a half hour ago.
Oh. Oh my.
Thus it was confirmed that Milo had gone all Digory-and-Polly on us and threaded his way delicately across at least four dodgy and dangerous connections between various upper decks in our row. Anyone who has had a cat go AWOL can imagine the kissy noises, the treat-rattling, the “heeeeeeeeeeerekittykittykitty” and other neighborhood disturbances that ensued as darkness fell. And I admit it, I went a bit mental. Every rustling in the woods was a marauding fox, every car that slowly circled the cul-de-sac was a potential cat-murderer.
Finally, my cell phone rang. John had located a pair of shining eyes under Patty’s deck. He was going in. And ten minutes that felt like two hours later, John came walking grimly up the sidewalk, both hands clamped onto an unresisting and wide-eyed wee ginger sight-for-sore-eyes. After dumping him inside, John (who was exhausted and muddy from army-crawling under our neighbor’s deck) said, “I’m going back for my flashlight. I need a shower and a drink.”
This morning, wee ‘Lo was not a penny the worse for his adventure, though possibly even more cuddly than usual. And the Smiths will be observing strict security protocols for the back deck.