So … yeah. I’m neglected this blog for some time and the funny thing is I have posts in the wings that all they needed was photos but my heart wasn’t in it. Almost three weeks ago, I did something that was insanely stupid with a harness and a cat. While one of my precious babies enjoyed it and another didn’t want anything to do with it, my smallest rescue gave me the guise of calm. That meek demeanor vanished when she realized she couldn’t bolt to hide. I’d never seen her freak out so much, scratching my leg as I tried to calm her. Too my complete surprise–as the harness was snug–she spazzed right out of it and took off like a rocket. The dark aided her sprint and I had no idea where she went.
I freaked. This was a little girl I’d trapped at three months and saved from starving. Stray cats roam the back yards around here and she’s a little one. Whether she was scared or out of my cries for her, she didn’t come to my voice. My son saw her two days later in the sunroom we’d opened access to the outside for the express purpose of getting her back. I tried traps that I bought and she didn’t even attempt to gain entry–even with her favorite liverwurst baited. With all the brush, she had plenty of hiding spaces. I was sure I saw her stalking across the yard in the dark too. I saw her once but she ran but at a slow pace. One neighbor saw her too once. If I know my Bailey, she comes to no human–especially a stranger.
Desperation to get her back hit full force and I invested in a security camera system. Reviewing the video, my heart smiled at seeing her unique form in the back yard. I added more cameras and had the sunroom baited again. Nothing showed in the sunroom so I closed it up and tried baiting in the back yard–including the neighbors. The good things was Bailey is fixed, has her claws, and was up to date on her shots.
Flyers went out twice–once at the beginning and another one asking the neighbors if they saw her to call or text and please don’t put food out. I started putting a small amount out. I wasn’t sure if she would get it or the other stray cats that roamed through the camera lens. Nights were spent calling and jiggling treats but I knew in my heart that it wouldn’t work on Bailey. She never came to treats but waited for me to sit and write to ask for some with the cutest little meow.
Next step was to leave the garage door open. The light comes and stays on when its up so I cut the power when it came down half way. I left the door to the basement ajar hoping she’d come in and lay in her hut in the basement. Nothing. Yet in the video, she disappeared in that area. I got the cutest video of her rolling around in the driveway. The fact remained, however, she wasn’t staying in the garage. My son and I brainstormed and he came up with a great idea. Leave the garage door open all the way, take the bulb out, and leave the doors open for her to come all the way into the house.
To achieve this plan, that meant our other two cats had to be locked into the sunroom. Trying to get two other cats back when they wander outside too? No thank you! I still had the door attached. The video of that was silly to watch. Meows and Ariel climbing up the screen for an escape to the house. I took a camera and placed it in the garage. My plans was to watch for her and close the garage door to trap her inside. Too bad my lack of sleep prevented that. In the morning, I saw no sign of Bailey. As was my routine the last couple of days, I went outside to see if the food was gone. The bowl empty, I checked the cameras. If Bailey wasn’t eating the food, I’d have to change where it was. She had to be starving.
What I saw was my kitten with mittens come in and out of the house several times. She chased a bug and ate her food. I also witnessed to strange cats enter the garage which made me fearful they would scare her off. Sunrise was coming and no sign of Bailey. I resigned to the fact she’d gone back into hiding. Sunlight made her hide by the video evidence. Imagine my surprise when I saw her come in again and disappear into the basement. Light showed at the end of the garage door and she peaked her head around. I prayed she wouldn’t run out. Instead, back inside she went. Then comes my appearance on the camera to lock everything up.
My son and I searched for her but no evidence. I thought about making sure I didn’t miss something and had every plan to stay awake, sleep be damned. Then I remembered the first time Bailey was allowed in the basement and where she hid. Boom. We have a mittens in the rafters!
She was scared and refused to move. We let her go. Since I didn’t work until later, I had my phone and camera app open to watch her. Oh yes, I moved a camera. I did laundry, talking to her. She perked up and moved away from the corner. I looked up and greeted her. She remained there as I got a ladder to get her out. In my arms, I kissed like no tomorrow. She was very thin but purred in my arms. Still skittish, I kept her away from the other two. Safe in her hut, I placed food and water plus treats. She ate like no tomorrow. Before heading to work, I brought more food and she was in the ceiling again but not in the same place. She stretched and relaxed when she saw them. I spent the next two days in the sunroom locked up with her at night. She cried and tried to get out the first night, finding behind the couch a nice hiding spot. The second day she wanted my attention. She’s super affectionate more than ever. I think she’s happy to be home as much as I am to have her back.
I wish that was the happily ever after but the reality is when cats are away from their cat commune, they lose their scent. My other two, while not openly hostile, think she’s a stranger. Bailey–being a loner–doesn’t understand it. I’ve bathed her and she’s gone back to her regular routine. I hope that someday that Ariel will lick the scent back on her. Until then, I’m just glad they aren’t trying to kill each other and are sharing the litter box just fine.
Thanks to Find Toby in PA for posting about her. As I write this, Bailey is with me. I hope I never get another grand idea again that loses her or my other babies again.