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[icon] Big Kitty Adventure - Patti
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Subject:Big Kitty Adventure
Time:12:38 am
OK, this time the crazy kitten lady has a real story.

The kittens have been living in the bathroom since they came home. That's pretty much the only enclosed room in my loft, and so it seemed like a good place for them to get comfortable and familiar with the new world-- it would be a safe space, and could be home base for when they were ready to explore further.

Last night they followed me out of the bathroom. I took this as a sign that they were comfortable and ready to explore, and decided that they could check it out for a few minuters if they want. She's a pretty timid little girl, and instantly dove into a closet. He sniffed around the closet, then went strutting across the loft. When I finished my poker tournament, he was nowhere to be found.

I looked in likely hiding places-- no dice. I looked in unlikely hiding places-- no dice. I looked under, in, or behind everything I could possibly think of, and there was no kitty to be found. Bear in mind that my loft is reasonably large and has a lot of clutter, so there are approximately 23,519,607 kitty hiding places. I looked in them all. Apparently there was 23,519,608.

While I was searching I noticed that a couple of windows were open. One was high enough and far enough away from furniture that it was nearly impossible for him to get to. The other was about a foot above the top of the piano. Uh oh.

My gut tied itself in a knot. The rational part of my brain said it was exceedingly unlikely that he got out, since he's shown absolutely no inclination to jump onto or climb things. He doesn't perch on the toilet lid, and he hasn't jumped on the counter. He hasn't even jumped into the bath tub, as far as I can tell. It would take a big jump or some work for him to get to the top of the piano, so it seemed pretty far-fetched. Still, I was worried.

It seemed that a likely hiding place was in the storage unit, so I started taking stuff out and peering behind it. No kitty. Growing more and more frantic, I wandered the loft with a flashlight looking in any possible hiding place I could think of. No kitty. In desperation, I even moved the refrigerator and looked behind it. You guessed it-- no kitty. How hard could it possibly be to find an all-black kitten in a poorly-lit loft? Oh. Right.

It was about 1:30 in the morning when I gave up and went to bed. Before I did, I put food, water, and a litter box out for him, and trained the webcam on them.

In the morning, the first thing I did was look at the food and litter box. They were untouched. The webcam showed nothing. Shit. Now I was really worried. I grabbed my binoculars and scanned the narrow garden behind my loft, but there was no kitty to be seen. (Going out the window would be bad-- I live on the third floor.)

Every half hour while I was at work today I logged into my home computer and looked for new motion capture files from the webcam. Whenever I found one I viewed it anxiously, but there was no kitty to be found-- just a few shadows. Nail biting happened. I seriously considered skipping out on my dinner plans, but this was the last night my friends would be in town. Plus, I knew he's skittish and would be more likely to come out when I wasn't around.

I skipped out on after-dinner drinks to head home. As I drove, I found myself uncharacteristically anxious and agitated. What if he wasn't OK? What if he did get out? What if he found some weird spot that he couldn't get out of, and wouldn't or couldn't mew for help? Remember when I said I hadn't heard either of them meow? Shit.

When I got home I practically ran into the building and up to my unit, praying to a deity that I don't even believe in that I would see some signs that he'd been out. I opened the door, looked down at the litter box, and ... saw footprints. Hallelujah! I glanced at the food, and the canned food was gone. The kitty was still nowhere to be found, but at least he was OK.

I sat down at the computer, tweeted my relief, then started reviewing the webcam captures. It's not sensitive enough to pick up all of his wanderings, but I did see him sniffing around the loft and checking out the food. He looked to be perfectly fine.

The miracle food for finding hiding cats seems to be tuna. I found a can of low-sodium water-packed tuna, and put some in his food bowl. I went into the bathroom and gave her some, as well as some kitty snuggles. When I came out about 15 minutes later, the tuna in his bowl was gone. A good sign! I left a bit more in his bowl, then sat down at the computer for the nightly email and landgrab ritual, all the while keeping an eye on the webcam monitor to see if he came out.

He did, but every time he saw me move he ran away. After a couple rounds of this I got smart and sat quietly, using the pan-tilt-zoom controls on the camera to track his movement. When I saw him wander into the short hallway outside the bathroom I quietly walked over and scooped him up. Technology for the win.

We had some nice kitty snuggles, then I brought him back into the bathroom. His sister was ecstatic to see him, and followed him around the room licking him-- even as he climbed into the litter box.

A few minutes later, she swatted him across the nose with her paw, as though to chew him out for leaving her alone. I was right there with her in spirit.
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wordweaverlynn
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 08:17 am (UTC)
Oh God, they drive you nuts. At least you had the technology to track him.

May I link to this?
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 08:19 am (UTC)
And a bigger brain.

Of course you can.
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stevecohen
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 04:25 pm (UTC)
And a bigger brain.

<cough>
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songmonk
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 09:15 am (UTC)
So it was never clear what his hiding spot was? I'm soooo curious.

My cats are big now and my home is tiny. So it's a fun game to find the cats when they are hiding, and it usually doesn't take too long since there is probably realistically less than 20 places that they hide.

But just this evening, Alex disappeared on me. I searched all of the normal hiding places and then some of the abnormal spots. I knew there was no way he could have gotten out, so I wasn't worried, but I was darn curious. I would have been displeased if I had turned around and seen him just walking around, b/c then I would not have known where he was.

I eventually did find him. (He was at the bottom of the computer cart behind a box. Gracie has gone back there before, but I hadn't seen Alex go there.) Seconds after I showed Davinna where he was, he silently came out, as if he knew the game of hide and seek was over. Rascal.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 05:50 pm (UTC)
I don't know where his hiding place was, though it appears to have been in a part of the loft that I considered less likely.
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saoba
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-13 12:39 am (UTC)
Our present feline overlord will flat out ignore an open door or window. Not at all interested in outside, thanks. He's got a hidey hole we haven't been able to find in the three years we've lived in this house. Luckily he is spinelessly unable to resist answering when the spousal unit calls him.

A previous cat would go so far as to rip open window screens down the middle to get out to terrorize the neighborhood, mock the local dogs then tear out the middle of another screen to get back in. *sheesh*
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rahaeli
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 12:12 pm (UTC)
Three out of four of our windows have screens (the fourth had the screen taken away a long time ago by building maintenance and it never came back). Usually I'm good at remembering which one is missing, but once I opened three of the four windows while nine-tenths asleep, and I got the wrong one.

Fortunately, Sarah got up to go to work half an hour later and noticed that Gabe, the good boy, was gone and the window open. She searched everywhere in the apartment, and couldn't find him. Now, our apartment windows face out onto the University law school building, from which he could have easily gotten down, so she went outside to see if she could find him.

He was sitting on the grass right next to the law school building, crying his head off. He hates the feel of grass under his paws, you see.

(My desk is now under that window; I couldn't open it without moving a lot of stuff.)
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jiggery_pokery
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 01:38 pm (UTC)
In the same vein, watch out for leaving your skylights open if you have them. Not a factor yet, but soon... (The fire rescue team said that our cat would eventually find his way back in, and he did, but it was still scary.)
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luckylefty
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 03:06 pm (UTC)
Even better than tuna for luring a cat out in the open is heated cat food. Put it in a pan and warm it up on the stove. Our normally sedentary cat would jump up on the stove to get at it.
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stevecohen
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 04:27 pm (UTC)
Actually, the sodium is probably good for him and probably makes the tuna taste even better to his little kittie palate.
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piercedmarionet
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 06:18 pm (UTC)
Fun part about cats, they don't get any less elusive when they grow up regardless of how big. My cat Butler is a big lover boy except when he goes into temporary Shun Mode (tm). How he puts 12 lbs of long haired fluff into some of the tiny spaces he's been found in I'll never know. But, apparently it's comfortable since he's usually contentedly asleep when I, paniced he's gotten out when we live so close to a busy road, find him snoozing away ignoring the sounds of us calling him and even the kitty treat box rattling. I love our cats but sometimes...
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rightkindofme
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 06:59 pm (UTC)
It is so cute seeing how much you adore your kittys. :)
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jd_trouble
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-12 09:54 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of why I started to read your journal, the fishtank stories. I love the way you write, and even more so when you're writing about your creature passions.
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-13 01:05 am (UTC)
Cats can get into the weirdest spots.

Evidence: http://pics.livejournal.com/whitebird/pic/000352gs
(Animated .gif)

Glad he showed back up!
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technomom
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-13 05:53 am (UTC)
Our former housemate had a stone-deaf older cat. At least once a week the cat wouldn't appear for meals or be seen for a time, and housemate would freak out completely. Do you know how hard it is to find a deaf cat that's sound asleep? In a two-story, four bedroom house with many, many hiding places? Housemate would wander through the house with an open can of tuna, trying to waft its odors around in hopes of waking the old cat. We soon learned not to freak out, as the cat wasn't exactly pining away--but housemate is probably STILL doing that weekly.
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onthegojo
Subject:Cat on the window ledge
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-14 04:46 am (UTC)
Not long after moving to our loft we came home from the movies and as we were walking home, almost there, suddenly Simon yells, "Omigawd! Suzanna is outside!" I stopped, trying to figure out why he's suddenly run off like a crazy man trying to find our cat. She was no where to be seen, until I looked up to our window on the 3rd floor and saw her on the ledge. It's about 4" wide, but she was a) wider than the ledge; b) not a graceful cat at best; and c) and she had fur longer than the ledge. (Himalayan)

Simon ran into the house to get her while I stayed outside wondering if I'd be able to catch her if she fell and at the same time contemplating where the nearest vet was.

The minute the light came on inside, she turned around with a magical ballet leap and hopped back inside. We got screens (reinforced) after that. Our skylights arrived a year later and we also have screens on them.

Whew! What a scary thing! Glad your kitty is safe and sound. :)
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walterzuey
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-09-21 04:51 pm (UTC)
I'm not really even a cat guy, but that was a very nice story.
I went through a similar mammalhunt with my hamster a couple years ago, and I know exactly what you were going through.
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[icon] Big Kitty Adventure - Patti
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