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Luther's Excellent Adventure

July 25th, 2013 at 07:26 pm

Where did the day go? I left in the morning to hit Trader Joe's, the bank, the gas station and the landfill. When I got home, I had lunch and then decided to drive up to my neighbor's behind me as he'd said I could pick berries on their property. He invited me in for some tea and we shot the breeze for about an hour; then I went to pick berries.

I got home I guess around 3, and at some point after that, I decided to mow the front lawn. 40 minutes later, I'm done and go back in the house. Feeling tired, I went to lay down for a while, and got up around 6 to make dinner.

I was just finishing up the dishes after dinner when I realized I hadn't seen Luther in a while and it was feeding time for them. He loves his kibble.

I start doing a whole house search. Can't find him. Then I remembered with a shock that at some point earlier in the afternoon, I'd noticed a screen from an upstairs window had fallen down to the brick patio below. I'd thought nothing of it, really. I knew that screen did not fit well in the window and had fallen out before. But I'd totally forgotten that I'd left that window open maybe about 4 inches at the bottom. Enough for Luther to squeeze through….and jump to the hard brick patio below, a distance of maybe 12 feet.

I couldn't believe he'd done that. But then, this is the same fearless cat that clawed away my flexible dryer vent in the basement and crawled through the 4 inch wide circular opening for the hose to gain access through the basement wall and then jump about 8 feet down to the hard concrete floor of my garage. Thank God I hadn't left the garage door open that day.

But getting back to Luther's escape today. I began freaking out because I couldn’t remember when I'd noticed that fallen screen. Either Luther decided to squeeze himself through the window and then pushed the screen out himself before jumping, or the screen fell out by itself and he at some point discovered it when he jumped onto the window and took advantage.

I circled the perimeter of my yard, calling and calling for him. I brought out his kibble and shook it as the sound usually gets him running. I called my neighbors behind me (where I'd been picking berries earlier) and asked them to keep an eye out, but by this time it was around 8 and already getting dark. I was feeling increasing alarm as I knew once it became completely dark I couldn't find him and he'd have to stay out all night. And we have coyotes around here. Who knows if he'd be around in the morning, or if I'd ever see him again. I don't think there's a very good track record of people finding lost pets, especially those that are indoor animals to begin with.

I drove up to my neighbors and walked around calling for him there, but I didn't really think he'd go that far away. I was picturing him being so fascinated by the vegetation that he would just slink into the undergrowth to explore, and could very well be within earshot of me but ignoring my calls.

I went inside the house and gave vent to my fears, sobbing a little, and then decided to go out one more time around 9:30 pm. I bundled up in a hooded sweatshirt and pants and my rubber boots so the mosquitoes wouldn’t eat me alive, and grabbed my flashlight. I'd left the garage door open, and checked in there for the 4th time, just to be sure the cat hadn't wandered in there. And there he was, mewing, and looking a little scared. I picked him up and brought him toward the front door, when he had the nerve to hiss at me. Evidently, he wasn't ready to end his little adventure.

I am so relieved. I pictured coyotes getting him, or my neighbor's three dogs, who just two days ago got a hold of a woodchuck. Luther doesn't like me to touch him or check him out too much; he’s a very independent cat. I observed him to make sure I didn't see a limp, a possible injury from jumping from that height, and I didn't see any swelling in his paws. I did notice him scratching a little.

I will have to run out first thing to get some Frontline, which I think is prescription-free now, and maybe a flea comb. I sure don't want him transmitting fleas to Waldo or anywhere on the house, or ticks to me.

I will have to be super careful with cracking windows open. Generally, I open the top half of them only on the second floor, in case the cat should push open the screen with his weight, since the screens (Andersen) actually have a warning printed on them about children possibly doing that. But it's been so hot lately (today is quite cool) I'd opened the windows at the bottom as well, but only a few inches. Luther is getting better at crawling in tight spaces.
So he was probably out there for at least 6 hours. I sure hope he doesn't have fleas/ticks, or if he does, that I can rein it in quickly by applying Frontline.

4 Responses to “Luther's Excellent Adventure”

  1. littlegopher Says:

    Our indoor cats have the same attraction to the outdoors. They too tend to escape to a nearby row of lilac bushes or another area of hosta, but the road is a quick front lawn away. How scary - glad he made it back!

    If your cat is like mine, though, this will be the challenging time - that taste of freedom unleashes a powerful desire to get outside again...good luck!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    That is quite the adventure! Glad it worked out okay. We let our cats out on the deck. They can't get down since we have blocked the steps with a baby gate. They love hanging out there. We also let them out on our front lawn, but we are always with them to keep them corralled in our yard.

  3. CB in the City Says:

    Now I'm worried. I do leave my windows open in good weather, but it's a LONG jump down; I don't think my cats would try it even if the screen fell out (which has never happened).

    Glad Luther made it through his adventure okay!

  4. ohsuzannah Says:

    Too bad you can't put a leash on cats and walk them! Glad you found him in good shape.

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