Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Great Escape

Grabbing my stuff, I walked out the door at noon, happy to be slightly ahead of schedule to meet my cousin and her husband at the senior care home where my step mom lives.  We were planning a pleasant visit, their first in a number of years.  I locked the back door, went down the back steps and out onto the gravel pathway to my car.

To my absolute shock I was greeted by young Fletcher coming around the corner.  Behind him skittered young Prince Mica; both had frantic expressions.  How on earth had they gotten out of the enclosure?

Twenty odd years ago I had built a sturdy and roomy chicken wire enclosure for my cats to be able to enjoy the great outdoors with no dangers of said great outdoors - racoons, coyotes, cars.  They have 24/7 access to this marvel though a series of catdoors, and tunnels.  Over the years I have reinforced and upgraded this enclosure (corrugated polycarbonate roof, carpeted shelving and cat tree, several perches, cat toys) - and I have checked it regularly especially in the spring to make sure no openings have appeared.  

To my great shock, today I discovered this hole under the porch - the hardware cloth had been ripped away from the post - from the inside by the kitties or from the outside by a raccoon?  Either way freaked me out.

By the time I made this horrifying discovery, Fletcher and Mica had come 'round the back, and I propped the back door open, hoping they would just go back into the house.  This was not to be, however, they had never gone in or out through this door on their paws - only in a carrier.  They were totally unfamiliar with the concept of a door.

I began to hope they would just go back into the enclosure through the hole, but they were too scared because they must have thought I was mad at them.  They just kept darting back and forth through the undergrowth.  Mica was especially freaked.

I went back into the house and got some catfood.  I hoped to entice them.  By this time I decided it would not be a great idea to keep the back door open, I did not want to lose anyone else.  I later discovered a tuft of orange fur on the edge of the hole - meaning Leto had been availing himself of this new-found freedom.

I was running back and forth through the house, gathering up staples and a hammer to seal the hole.  But I realized that sealing the hole would mean Fletcher and Mica would be unable to crawl back into the enclosure.  On one of my frenzied trips I saw Fletcher scuttling around the corner - inside the house!  Thank God!

But now I had to try to coax poor distraught Mica back in.  I circled the house, inside and out, calling, coaxing, begging.  I looked everywhere - and had no idea what to do next -how could I leave my littlest man outside all alone and scared?  Yet if I sealed up the escape route, he would not be able to return to the safety of the house.  And I certainly did not want any of the others to disappear.

I scoured every closet, under every piece of furniture, all the time growing more crazed.  I was regretting not micro-chipping the kittens when I had been given the opportunity.  

On my last frenetic trip down the hallway, I glance into the kitchen - and there, standing wide-eyed by the feeding station, was Mica.  I guess a tiny coal-black kitty who is scared enough can melt into the woodwork when he does not wish to be found.  But who cares where he was hiding?

My kitty boys were all safe and inside!  WHEW!!!  Thank you Bastet! 

I stapled the hardware cloth shut and reinforced it with a large piece of aluminum flashing, both nailed and wired into place.

Tomorrow I secure the perimeter and maybe add another layer of hardware cloth or chicken wire; if it was a raccoon trying to get in to do my kitties harm, I am going to make sure he is stopped in his tracks.

I am so happy that everyone is safe and secure and would you believe, I arrived at my original destination only a half hour late and my cousin arrived five minutes afterwards.  We had a lovely afternoon.

Leto, Fletcher, and Prince Mica.