— 4th December 2002
We’ve been letting the cats out for a while now. Just at night, at times over the weekend when we reckon the traffic is quietest, and only for around an hour or two just so they can get used to it. We usually time it so in order to get them in we can tempt them with food by giving them one of their daily meals. Recently though we’ve been getting more confident that they’ll come scampering in as soon as we open the door, or at worse when Kirsty yells for them. Until last night.
Last night we let them out mid evening and settled down to watch TV, as usual after around an hour Kirsty (being the worrier) wanted to go as see if they’d come back in yet so she popped out and found Cocoa (the black one) mooching around quite happy to be scooped up and brought back into the warm. There was no sign of Charlie though.
"Leave it a while" I said, "he’ll just be off somewhere, and won’t have heard you". So she left it for a while and a bit later checked again. Still nothing. So we stopped and thought and left it a while longer. Then we both went out looking.
At first one of us held Cocoa while we both wandered around the garden making stupid noises and squealing in high pitched voices. Then we had to put black-cat indoors as this job obviously was going to require two hands. I got the torch and started shining it around into the bushes. We still couldn’t see anything but we both thought we could here a cat meowing some distance away.
Baring in mind that this was a cold, wet, windy night and there was periodically traffiic roaring past on the road, I wasn’t too convinced that what I had heard was a cat, but Kirsty seemed to be sure and she went back in to put a coat and stuff on as she was now going to wander around the corner and try and get to the other side of the bush. I followed, but without much hope, I was pretty sure that there’s no point searching for a little cat in a big bush in the dark
We walked down the road but couldn’t really find a route back towards the bush, there was gardens and houses but no-where we felt we would be allowed to walk. I was beginning to think that it might be better not to worry so much, that cat’s can look after themselves and if he didn’t want to come home we shouldn’t ... but then we heard another meow. This time it wasn’t coming from the bush, it was coming from overhead. Looking up we both saw, perched high up in a tree overhanging the path, a little white shape, mewing and mewing and scrabbling around trying to keep it’s balance. He was obviously desperate to come down, but every attempt he made seemed at the last minute to be too steep and he kept having to back himself onto the branch and start again.
I went and got our ladder and after a wobbly bit of climbing, reaching and more scrabbling (with much claws on face) I managed to get him down. As I got a better hold of him, standing at the top of the ladder I could feel his little heart beating ten to the dozen.
We took him back in and gave him some food and lots of TLC, but before long he was bored and was crying to be let out again.