When the village animal control officer (who is the spousal unit's younger brother, btw) reported no further cases of distemper among the local feral cat population, I had a brilliant idea, prompted by the daily sight and sound of our two throwing themselves at the window screens and engaging in laments of epic proportion (Mara crying in the wilderness for her children has nothing on them).
It was simple, logical, foolproof and based on the following observations. Mr. Fox does not come out during the day, during which time our cat-hating neighbor is also absent at work. And both cats usually get very sleepy around lunchtime when it starts getting hot out, and start looking for a dark cool spot in the basement to nap.
Why not…wait for it….why not let them outside first thing in the morning and shut the door on them when they follow their natural rhythms to come back in and sleep? 6am-noon outside, noon-6am inside. Perfect, right?
They seemed enthusiastic when we briefed them but it soon became obvious they stopped listening after the “Okay, we’re going to let you out—” part. As soon as the door opened that morning, the Drama Queen streaked across the street and dove into the ornamental grasses in Father Carl’s garden and we didn’t see her again all day.
She really isn’t the problem, though. If you go out to the street and call her name, her natural sense of self-importance asserts itself and she comes rushing over to see what is going on so that she can supervise. She’s fairly easy to catch, since she is not only arrogant but also aerodynamically incapable of running very fast.
The real flight risk here is my sweet, gentlemanly, mild-mannered Reserve Cat who has been known to disappear on eighteen-hour toots, showing up at the bedroom window at 2am, with dirt on his fur, a gleam in his eye, and what is probably—if only our ears were tuned the right frequency—Show Me The Way To Go Home on his lips. After he is admitted we hear him in the kitchen, packing away about eight dollars’ worth of Iams’ cat food before vanishing into the basement where he sacks out out on top of a pile of (of course) navy-blue polar fleece in a most orthopaedically unwise position.
Right now my plan is working, but he kind of worries me. Perhaps we should find out if the people who manufacture those tracking ankle bracelets make them in size extra extra extra-small?