Mandy and Betsy were Out for a while yesterday. Mandy, on her harness and leash, managed to climb to the roof of the little back porch, and meowed pitifully to be helped back down. I encouraged her to jump to the top of the fence, which she finally did, but she slipped and landed on the neighbour's side. I reached through the gap to unhook the leash, thinking she might need more space to manoeuvre, but wasn't quick enough to undo the harness too. What a treat! She carefully explored every inch of the large deck, meowed through the kitchen window at the neighbour, and checked out their back yard. I tried luring her back over the (from my side nearly 6 foot) fence with food, calls, and chasing her back with water from the hose. I even went to the convenience store to talk with the neighbour (and buy some snacks to keep up my strength). By this time, she was alone, said she'd wondered if that cat was mine, and offered to try to catch her when her husband came back to take care of the shop. I said thanks, but I'm sure she'll be back when she's hungry. Many of the yards in this neighbourhood, including mine, have no direct access from the street. That one does, but the narrow space has long since been closed off, I guess to reduce trespassers' ease of access. Access is through houses. In addition, from memories of Mandy's adventurous young cat-hood, I had visions of her, if startled, happily leaping up or crawling under 5-6 foot fences while I had to go around by the streets, trying to guess which, if any, narrow passageway lead to whatever yard she was in now, and hoping the residents wouldn't call the police to report a prowler.
Meanwhile, Betsy also decided to explore the great outdoors. Mandy, tiring of the neighbour's yard, was poking the tip of her muzzle through the spaces in the fence, and meowing pitifully between explorations. She was ready to come home, but couldn't climb the fence. Um, the same fence she climbs and perches on top of almost every time she goes out? The one that, I though, her leash just allowed her to reach? Yes, that one. I tried to tempt her up and over with toys, food, tapping the top of the fence, which I could barely reach. No good. During one of my breaks from the stand-off, I heard more meowing and went out to provide more encouragement. No Mandy. No cats at all. Until I looked up. This time, Betsy was on the roof, claiming to be unable to climb down, looking for all the world like the Cheshire cat. So I went upstairs, opened the window overlooking the porch roof, and let her back in. There were two mistakes here. First, I let her in through the window, and secondly, in all the going in and out, I'd neglected to close the back door. Of course, she went right out again, and of course, when she decided to come in, she meowed at the upstairs window without even bothering to stick her head over the edge of the roof and meow for me.
At this point I am running from the back room with the computer, around d to the back door (which requires going the admittedly small width of my house, and to and from the little upstairs room with the window over the back porch. Mandy is still meowing for me to magically get her through or over the fence, but Betsy is in, since I have finally figured that I should close the back door before opening the window.
Then the inevitable happens. The neighbours have frequent visits from one of their sons, their daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and, oh yes, two Rottweilers named Six and Lilith. The son, who hadn't been there when I spoke with his mother, let the dogs out in their yard. I hear the resultant ruckus, and run to the back door. The son is restraining the dogs, and, since they won't calm down, takes them it. I can't find Mandy in the area the dogs were most interested in, but by now its full dark, and the back porch light isn't strong enough to see whether or not a dark cat is lurking behind or in some tall, bushy perennials. So I give her a few more minutes of peace and quiet, check back, and there she is, on my side of the fence, waiting at the back door, rather subdued, but unharmed.
Just when I think she's getting older and slowing down, something like this happens!