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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cat Escapades

Today one thing I'm very thankful for is that Vex is safely home!

That might seem a strange thing to be thankful for, or rather maybe a boring one since normally Vex
Our Vex
is home. Vex is one of my cats and this past week he's been having some adventures.

Apparently he slipped out last Sunday. We're not exactly sure when, he had several opportunities. I'd seen him around 5 or 6pm at least. Then we got ready to go out, and I don't remember seeing him then, but I also didn't notice he was gone. Cats do, after all, take naps. We left the house around 9 or so to go to my in-laws for dinner. We came home around 12:30 probably and it's when we got home we noticed he wasn't there.

First we scoured the house, but he's not normally the kind of cat that takes naps and doesn't come when you call him... or at least shake the food. We knew he had to have gotten out before or when we left, so he'd been loose for hours. I theorized that he could have come home and meowed for us but we weren't there to let him in. Ryan went up to the roof both to look for him there and to shine a flashlight down to the ground to see if he could see him. We looked out our windows and off our balconies.. nothing...

Vex and his sister, Princess, are strictly indoor cats. We got them at 7 weeks old and this is the first time one of them has legitimately been lost. They've both made a break for it, but we were always on their heels and caught them before they left the building. They have no street smarts.

Princess was leaping around, desperate to be comforted because just as Vex has never been outside she's never been alone so long.

Ryan asked if we should go out and look for him in the neighborhood. Because of the hour and not being sure where to start, I said maybe we should wait an hour, hoping he'd come back on his own, and if not go look... but that "hour" lasted fifteen minutes before my worry built enough to send Ryan out. He didn't want me to come because of how late it was...

Vex is a very sweet cat
Ryan went down and talked to our neighborhood guard and asked him if he'd seen a cat.

"A white one?" YES! We had a lead.

Apparently he'd seen Vex come down and wander around before parking under a car and going "Meow, meow, meow, meow..."

Unfortunately, the noise attracted a pack of dogs! They had circled the car for a while before leaving.

The guard said it'd been three hours since he'd seen the cat.

So Ryan went to investigate the area Vex had been seen. Nothing. So he wandered around, calling for him... he had decided to give up for a while and go back to our apartment when he saw some movement.

Vex!

He was hiding under a car just two doors down from our apartment. Ryan called to him, and he would start to move forward but wouldn't get close enough for Ryan to grab him. At this point Ryan called me.

"I found him. Come out onto the balcony."

"Is he alive or dead?" I hated the vagueness of his language.

"Come out onto the balcony."

"Is he alive or dead??" The fact that Ryan hadn't immediately said he was alive freaked me out.

"He's alive! Sheesh! Just come out onto the balcony!" WHEW.

So I came out and watched Ryan try to coax him out. Dreamer was on my hip and growing fussy so I brought her back in. Ryan called me back.

"I can't get him to come out. Maybe you can." We agreed for me to come down, hand Dreamer to
Ryan and have Ryan take her back up, and then I'd try to get my fur baby home. That way Ryan didn't take his eyes off Vex, but Dreamer wasn't outside long.

We made the trade and as soon as Ryan left I knelt down and cooed at Vex to come out. He came out tentatively, but wouldn't come close enough. I tried just calling for a few minutes, but it was clear Vex was spooked. (Now that I know the dog story, I can understand why!)

I spotted a dirty sock on the ground. Gross. But also could be helpful. So I grabbed it started wiggling it like a snake. He couldn't resist, and soon I had snatched him up.

I took him up and set him down. Princess ran over, sniffing and then grooming him. He "graciously" allowed her to minister to him. Ha. I went and washed my hands from touching the sock.

Within twenty minutes of being home, he was already looking at our front door like "let me out??" Sigh.

The next day he was clingy, coming and snuggling both Ryan and I extra, being very cute. We were both very happy to have him back.

Ryan went to work overnight and I was awake. He was good throughout the day, and I ended up opening the balcony doors in the early morning on Tuesday to let a breeze in. I had one eye on him. The cats love going out on the balcony.

I knew instantly when he disappeared. I didn't actually see it, but my gut told me something was off, I hadn't seen Vex prowl across the breadth of the balcony in enough time. I looked out and it was empty (Princess was in the living room.) I quickly went and checked the bedroom and bathroom, the most likely places for him to hang out, then went back to the balcony and looked down... just in time to see Vex stroll out of our stairwell.

Our balcony is not connected to the stairwell. However, the stairwell has a glass-less window in the wall next to it. So he had leaped the four foot gap to the window and let himself into the stairwell, then climbed down and out. Now we knew how he had escaped. (And dangerous acrobatics! We are on the Indian second, American third floor. Too high for a cat who slips to make it. Foolish risk taking cat!)

I called to him, and he looked up at me... then ignored me and kept walking to leave the little fenced in area in front of our building.

I was wearing Dreamer in my baby carrier, so I quickly tugged on my night gown (yes, I was in my night gown) to make sure it covered everything decently and scurried down the stairs after him. Dreamer thought this was great fun, blessedly.

Once I got downstairs I couldn't spot him at first... turns out he was hiding behind a neighbor's car. He was fine with me being there, but refused to get close enough for me to pick him up. He kept going from car to car, using them to keep me at bay. I was calling to him..

Neighbors started paying attention. At that hour mainly maids and the guys hired to wash cars were out and they were looking at me like "what the heck?" Then they'd spot Vex and break into huge grins, understanding. Vex was maneuvering from car to car and I kept losing him. I'd almost have him, then he'd dash away. Different people kept stopping and pointing to me where he was hiding, laughing. I was laughing too, feeling ridiculous but not giving up.

At one point one of my actual neighbors came and I tried to speak my broken Hindi to her and she replied in English. Haha.

Upstairs, I had left the balcony door open, so Princess had come out to watch and started yowling at us. Now I wasn't gathering a crowd or anything, people were just interacting with me as they walked past. The maids who were walking past at this point had their jaws drop and pointed up at Princess and looked at me.

"Yes," I said, "Billi" I pointed to myself (Billi means cat, so I was saying both my cats.) I pointed to
Vex and then Princess saying "Laraki, Laraka"... then I realized that was wrong and pointed again saying "Laraka, Laraki" (I was saying girl, boy, then boy, girl.") They smiled and laughed.

Finally Vex dashed out from a car but I was faster and I grabbed him. I held him up triumphantly to the people nearby, who grinned and laughed, and I carried him up. He struggled, so I had to hold him slung over my shoulder and arm in a way that he couldn't accidentally hurt Dreamer, who was in her carrier against my chest.

So that was escape number two.

On Wednesday when the sun came up Vex started going crazy, meowing for me to let him out. No, buddy!

However, on Thursday I needed to clean the cat litter and scooping it up stirred up the smelliness and Ryan opened a window...

Yeah.

This window lead out onto a ledge, and yes, Vex ended up getting out on it. Blessedly, he couldn't figure out how to get from the ledge (and the ledge next to it) anywhere in particular and as I stood at the window jiggling toys and calling him he eventually came back and jumped back in on his own. I locked the window.

Luckily, Vex is neutered so he's not being driven by hormones. He's just wanting fresh air and a chance to actually catch the birds that like to torture him from afar. As I said each morning as the sun comes up he's meowing asking to go out now... but that's also when the birds are singing the loudest. I do not think that is unrelated.

So for now we have to be really cautious. We still will need to air out the apartment here and there, but I think Vexy will be locked in the bathroom when we do...

As for Princess, I think she's earned the title of "good cat." Haha. Every time he's gotten out she's had the opportunity to go with him, and every time she's chosen to stay home! Still, we need to be cautious about her as well. Personality wise, she's actually the more hyper of the two so in some ways it's surprising. But she also seems to have less prey drive (just slightly) and she's always been more likely to listen to me. She will get into mischief, but if I yell "no!" or "off!" she obeys 90% of the time. Vex tends to look at me like "you serious?" and then ignores me 90% of the time...

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