Catching Fleas in the Dark
No sooner had I described on FaceBook how carefully I watched over Tupelo whenever I let him venture outside, when disaster struck. Well after 11:00pm, I had turned off the computer and gone to the bedroom. Tupelo was not on the bed as I had expected. Tupelo was not in the bedroom as I had expected. Tupelo was not in the camper as I had expected.
The weather has been most unusual, with rain and thundershowers predicted nearly every day. The up side of rain is that it cools the outside temperatures to below 80º, where I have the air conditioning set. I can leave the outside doors open, allowing a cooler breeze to come through the screen door. The screen door in the bedroom was open and the cat long gone.
Looking for an orange cat at midnight in a forest of nearly-orange pine needles using a flashlight and calling his name only softly – as if a cat comes when called anyway – is not a recipe for success. I searched in the areas where we had been earlier and where he was at least a little bit familiar. Where I believe he went was down a an incline covered in wet – nearly orange – leaves and pine needles, and where I was not about to venture.
Saying a prayer asking the Lord to keep him safe and bring him back, I returned to the camper.
Tupelo has never been outside very much. He’s a big cat but he’s not a brave cat. He has always been very content to be an indoor cat. He doesn’t have any experience in venturing anywhere then finding his way back even when it’s light outside. How good are cats’ eyes? Can they see almost as well at night as they can during the day?
How good is a cat’s sense of smell? Are cats like a dog who can follow a scent to bring him home? I had to hope that his virtually unused instincts would bring him back when he was ready, or scared. Leaving the front door and screen door open, as he is more familiar with jumping in and out of the front than the back where he made his escape, I went to bed, hoping that if a furry animal entered the camper, it wouldn’t be a raccoon.
I awoke about two hours later. Perhaps it was because the trailer had shook. A fourteen pound cat jumping onto the step would be enough to awaken someone wracked with guilt. Lord, please don’t let it be a raccoon. I grabbed the flashlight and shone it towards the front door. Sure enough, there was the orange, escaped-convict feline in all his glory. The fleabag. His tail was as bushy and flared as I have ever seen it, so perhaps a critter more accustomed to night time prowling had chased him. Didn’t matter, he was home, thank you, Lord.
How did he get out? Carelessness on my part is the bottom line. Perhaps from the bed he could reach the lever that opens the screen door. Perhaps it wasn’t latched properly and all he had to do was lean against it and it gave way.
The white plastic panel in the center of the screen door slides open and shut. I had it open. It’s a simple, lightweight, black plastic handle that opens and closes the door. From the height of the bed, perhaps he figured out how it works.
It’s time to order him a proper harness like the cat above. I have a leash and collar for him but it’s ‘breakaway’ – it comes apart under pressure so the cat won’t strangle himself. It seems to affect his neurological system though, as he flops down as if dead whenever I put it on him. Hopefully, in time with a proper harnass, he might get used to daytime adventures.
His nocturnal adventures are too hard on my ulcers.Share