No one was more surprised than me when Stanley jumped off the porch onto the red haired cat.
OK, maybe the red haired cat was the most surprised. If a cat were to leap from the ceiling right now and land on top of my head my reaction might involve personal urination. Certainly that's how Red responded.
See, the whole premise here at 16 Poucher Street was that Stanley could go out on the second floor deck because there was no way down to the concrete pad surrounding it. Plus I knew Stanley's little secret. He's a scaredy-cat. To preserve his dignity I don't spread that info around, but it explains why I never worried about him flying into space and onto terra firma.
Besides, he had no role models. True the racoons would waddle up the coping and facia past the soffit and over the eves until they were up on my deck, rummaging through the garden. But I thought for sure their complete lack of grace would provoke revulsion in a dignified and graceful animal such as Stanley.
Then one day this past summer a cat showed up on the deck. I knew that meant trouble. I could literally see the light bulb appear above Stanley's head as he realized “cats could climb UP, and DOWN, from the deck to the laneway.
The laneway of hidden secret delights. The laneway of irresistible odors. The laneway where Stanley now hides.
And there it was before us. Given sufficient motivation, ANY cat could gracefully plop from the lane below into the centre of our deck. That started a clock ticking. Stanley's countdown to laneway clock. And it is typical of his cat-nature that he chose to go mad not on a fine spring night when all the girl cats would be mewling pornographically “kiss me”, using less delicate language. No, that would make too much sense for an unneutred 3 year old male.
No Stanley had to wait until the heart of a dark winter and minus degrees to leap into space into a setting sun and onto a startled red haired cat.
No thoughts of his owner, who's recovering from two months of treatments and whose time should be spent eating, sleeping, or at the doctor. And lucky for me, I had to be at the doctor at 9am the next day.
Top tips about catching your escaped cat.
- If your cat runs away it will hide. It is not afraid of you. It is afraid of all the wild animals.
- The ideal time to start a search is midnight. All the people are in bed. The traffic is quiet. Yes the nocturnal animals are up and about but the cat is a nocturnal animal.
- The technique is simple. Start where you last saw the cat and call the cat's name. Call “Stan-leeeeeee” in you cutest squeak. Cats love high pitched sounds. Call it 3 or 4 times.
- Move a metre or two along, and call the cat's name again. Call “Stan-leeeeeee” in you cutest squeak, 3 or 4 times.
- Move a metre or two... Yes, you are going to do the entire laneway this way. And the sidewalk in front of your house. And the sidewalk across the street.
Doing this technique I found Stanley many, many times last night. And each time he would not come to me. He would sashay tantalizing close, then run away.
As the thermometer plunged below zero, and with Stanley outside, I snapped into action, clicking online and determining what temperatures a cat could survive in. Lucky for Stanley, he'll survive those -3 nights that are coming up no problem. Armed with that information, I went to bed.
Up again at dawn, squeaking “Stan-leeee”, hearing Stanley mewl, and then him running away before I could grab him.
Then I had doctor's appointments, and health care worker appointments, and mani-pedi appointments, all of which meant I was unable to look for the cat.
It was still light. I made supper. Then the “Eureka” moment. I was opening the can of tuna I was going to add to the penne alfredo I was making, and I remembered that Stanley's favorite scent in the whole wide world is that liquid in the tuna can. I swung into action, decanting the tuna juice into a water bottle and getting supper together.
I had my supper, then noticed the sun was setting. I went out on the deck and squeaked “Stan-leeee”.
My heart stopped. Stanley was right across the lane. He saw me. I saw him. We meowed at each other. I threw on my coat and grabbed the tuna juice and went on the chase. Each time I located Stanley hiding under a car he would crawl to the next car. I finally manged to get the nose of the bottle where he could smell it. He crept out under the car just far enough to expose his neck.
And now Stanley is safe at home.