Mia (our resident Puppycat, in true Puppycat fashion, though never as Puppycattish as Cass' original) had an adventure tonight.
When I got home around 5, I let Byron out for a little run-and-pounce. Since he is primarily motivated by his stomach and had not yet been fed, I was not worried about getting him back in. Unfortunately, I didn't notice Mia sneaking out a few minutes later. When we were ready to leave for dinner about 30 minutes later, Byron came right in. Supper time! Mia, however, was nowhere to be found.
We combed the house and the yard and did our best here-kitty-kitty calls, but no luck. We were about to give up when T., our back neighbor and landlord, called out from the garage where she'd just parked, "I think she's in my back yard!" I raced back...
...and found Mia nose-to-nose with her new friend, Pepe. Yes, that's right, a skunk. A SKUNK. Just think about the possibilities, people. Not good.
Let me tell you, trying to separate a cat and skunk while attempting to startle neither? Not easy. I really don't recommend it. I did succeed to some extent--the skunk ran, Mia gave chase and then changed course and darted the other direction, and I breathed a sigh of relief. The relief lasted exactly long enough to see her dart into an open grate and under T.'s house.
A lot of older houses out here have these raised foundations. The space beneath is just large enough to worm through when doing plumbing or electrical work, but it is really not accessible by humans. Cats, on the other hand, fit just fine. We tried calling and coaxing, but nothing worked. We finally gave up and went out to do our errands and ate. We figured she'd be waiting by the door when we got home.
We were wrong. What she was doing was meowing piteously from behind one of the foundation grates. One of the closed foundation grates. When ND pried it open, though, she panicked and darted back into the blackness. A flashlight revealed her about six feet back under the house, crouching miserably in the dirt and covered in cobwebs. More calling and coaxing and food rattling and toy throwing had no effect. We finally went back inside.
About 15 minutes later, the piteous meows started again. Thankfully? This time they were coming from the back porch.
She is in now and is NOT GOING OUT AGAIN any time soon.