black cat hiding in the dead of night

On Friday nights, we usually just unwind, watch Countdown, Monk, Psych whatever. Just let work slip away. Last night was no different than most—Stanley was getting ready to grill a couple of buffalo burgers, our favorite player won on Jeopardy’s champ tournament, pleasant mood. Until.

Our very naughty black cat, Slink, slipped out the door when Stanley went to turn on the grill. Now, we’re always vigilant about making sure Twitch doesn’t get out—he’s quite good at it and tries nearly every time. But Slink! Slink had never, ever tried to get outside, not since his great escape with Twitch and Einstein in Oscoda last summer when the Great Outdoors so terrified him he found a hole next to the house and cowered until Stanley dragged him back into my parents’ house. Slink is terrified when we just carry him from the house to the car. The world outside the house just overwhelms him—he hates being outside. So it was quite a shock to us that he even tried to get out of the house.

Stanley tried to catch him as soon as he spotted Slink headed across the porch. But Slink, who is very fast, shot past him toward the front corner of the yard, next to the street. All Stanley saw was a black blur rushing past. It was, of course, full dark as it was after 9 p.m. Slink is pure black, except for his yellow eyes.

So Stanley comes in cursing, looking for a flashlight (of which we have several, but can never seem to find them when we need one), telling me what happened. We figured we’d spot him cowering next to the house, visible only because he’s a devil cat and his yellow eyes look like the fires of Lucifer in the dark.

No such luck. We searched for hours, the whole neighborhood, into back yards, across the street, up trees, everywhere. Searched for a black cat in the dark. Stanley was in despair, concluding Slink was gone for good. I wasn’t too happy, either, but had a little more hope since all of the cats I’ve ever owned until Twitch and Slink were outdoor cats and cats are pretty decent at surviving a night outside.

We left the porch door open, and Stanley opened the hatch to the cellar, and we left food and water out for him, and decided that if we couldn’t find him in the morning, we’d do the flyers and door-to-door search and call animal control, the works. Stanley slept some, but not very well. I ended up reading all night, finishing a book I’d wanted to read for quite some time (A Thousand Splendid Suns, an extraordinary novel). When it started to get light out, I wanted to go look again, but I didn’t want Ginger to follow me downstairs because she is having trouble with the stairs because she’s having some trouble with her hind leg, so I waited.

Stanley got up at around 6:30 a.m., checked the cat food and came back up to get dressed and look outside since, he said, the cat food was gone. He walked around the house and when he got to the cellar door, the stupid cat poked his head out the hatch—he’d made it inside! So Stanley closed the hatch and went inside to make sure the stupid cat was okay (we have skunks and raccoons here). He was. He even brought a dead mole in with him. At least it was dead by the time we saw it. We thought the cat was a bit traumatized since he kept yowling, but looking back, he was just bragging about his kill, I think.

Slink, the prodigal cat, is safe
Slink wonders why Stanley is fussing so much ...

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