I’m writing this post with adrenaline rushing through my system.
Ratty and I were having some mellow back yard time when suddenly a small tortoise-shell cat came up and yowled aggressively at him. Before I knew what was going on, he had broken his leash and both cats had scrambled into the yard behind our yard. I don’t even know if they went over, under or through the fence!
Ratty has three legs and has a severe phobia of traffic, plus he can’t move very fast. For these reasons, he’s primarily an inside cat. I don’t think he has a spatial sense of the neighborhood. So as you can imagine, I was freaking out.
(Just in case you don’t want to read the following saga, he’s safe back home now. Read on for the stressful details.)
I could hear them both yowling. I called for a minute, then dashed into my kitchen and grabbed my stepstool and the cat treats. I tried to see over the fence, but it was too tall. So I dashed into the garage, tossed some boxes bigger than me out of the way, and got my landlady’s ladder. Now I could see over the back fence and I could see Ratty, but not the other cat.
Ratty wouldn’t pay me much attention. He’d gotten rid of his harness somewhere and was checking out his new environment. But now I knew where he was, so I got down and peered under the fence and held out some treats. The tortoise-shell seemed to be gone by now, but Ratty seemed too interested in exploring. He ignored the treats and me.
I noticed how small and pretty the yard was, with lush grass and lovingly tended trees, flowers and tomatoes. I didn’t see any people at home. The house and yard were in the no-man’s land between Linden Street and Branciforte Avenue, and I had no idea how to possibly access them. At this point I was worried that Ratty didn’t even care to come home and would stray off and out into the street and get hurt or worse. I thought I’d better try getting at him from the other side of this yard.
I dashed back into the garage and bungied the cat carrier to my bike rack, then wheeled around the block to Branciforte. Lots of people were strolling around, engaged in our popular form of local commerce, the yard sale. There were about four or so sales in a row. I couldn’t figure out which house was in a direct line from mine, so that I could ask the owner if I could access the no-man’s land. So I just kept asking everyone if they knew who had triangular tomato planters in their back yard. No one knew. I told them to keep an eye out for a three-legged black cat with no collar.
I pedaled back to Linden, counted houses, went to Branciforte, counted houses again. Not a one-to-one correspondence, but I figured it might help. But no. I pedaled back home again, looked over and under my back fence again. I couldn’t see Ratty at all! I called and called. The tears were starting.
I ran inside and consulted Google Maps which guessed the house on Branciforte that corresponded to mine was number 1126.
Back to Branciforte again. No 1126, but there was an 1127. No one was home. I sneaked around the back, opened a gate, and could get to the back of 1127’s yard, but there was still no way I could see to get to that house and yard in the middle of no-man’s land. Too many fences!
In the picture below, the little yellow house marks the yard for my studio. The blue pointer is approximately where Ratty was.
Rushing back home with tears dripping by now, I went and climbed the ladder by the back fence, thinking I needed to climb over the fence and do the best search I could. I couldn’t see him. Just when I’d given up calling and got down the ladder, guess whose tail I saw poking under the fence! Oh Ratty! You have put your mama through some trauma!
I gave him all the treats I had, then reached through, grabbed his one rear leg, and unceremoniously dragged him back under the fence.
He is back in the studio now and probably wishes he were still exploring. I don’t think he ever got worried or felt lost for a second. I am still coming down off the adrenaline, though! I wanted to scold him, then I wanted to hold him. He just says calm down and leave me alone, Mom!
I promise to post a nice photo of the troublemaker shortly.