Yes, our darling little black cat "Jet" darted out the door when my last daycare daughter left for the day. No problem, I thought. He is easy to catch. Except this time. He darted to the left and then snuck through our neighbor's broken fence board and that was the last I saw of him.
I thought he would hang out at our neighbor's and then jump over the fence and back into our yard when he was good and ready.
An hour passed quickly and he hadn't come home. The second hour was longer. I went out to scrub some graffiti off our fence and hoped he would hear me, get curious and come home. I had a very good conversation with a neighbor I've never spoke with before, so he could hear my voice if he was in the neighborhood. Nothing.
The third hour was endless. I confessed my sin to my son. He snuck out on me and went into the neighbor's yard. I should have went after him immediately. I didn't. It was all my fault.
My son wandered over to our neighbor's to see if he could see him. Nothing. He walked up and down the alley. No sign. He came home and said, "He's going to have to come home on his own. There is no way we can find him." I sadly agreed. And waited.
My only ray of hope is that he is microchipped and licensed. If someone called Animal Control, he has ONE free ride home but that's it. He's never used up his one "Get out of jail" free card. But if a cat-hater found and trapped him, we may never know what became of him.
As that second hour slowly stretched into the third my optimism started to wane. "This is it. This is the time he doesn't come home."
As my son and I waited the long wait, we agreed that the only way he can go out now (if he came home) will be on a leash. He'll hate it. But he earned this right.
As emotion started to overrule reason in my brain, I was reminded of the few times my middle son didn't come home when I thought he would. I have promised myself not to be a worrier. Worry is the most useless emotion there is. Worry without action is a complete waste of energy. I do worry but I try to accompany it with action, thereby lessening its hold on me. But when you are waiting for someone to come home who doesn't arrive when you expect them to, the best place to be is "home".
Animal control comes right to your door to deliver your wandering cat if he hasn't used up his one chance. Once, I wasn't home which resulted in our Senior Cat having to spend two nights in "jail" because my hours didn't coincide with the pound's. I was his registered owner. I was the one and only person who could release him. I had to stay home. Just in case.
I was exactly at the point that I have come to a handful of times with my middle son. I felt the words and emotions hit my consciousness. "If you aren't home in fifteen minutes, I am going to have to officially start to worry."
Ten to fifteen of those minutes passed and by the time I hit my official worrying phase of the evening, I looked out one last time. And there he was (just as my middle son always showed up when I hit this state), standing in the middle of our back yard like he had been there the whole time. "You little renegade, you! Come back inside where you are going to spend the rest of your days."
Less than ten hours later, he was clawing at our new back door. He was absolutely desperate to get outside again. He wasn't even to be distracted when I opened up the drawer of cat toys. He wanted outside and there was no talking him out of it.
|"I'm so BORED!!" our poor little Jet Cat must have been thinking as he started exploring places he's never seen before.|
|Welcome to your new life, you little runaway. This is going to be harder on us than it is on you, I'm afraid.|