Cat panic! →
[More:]It's been really windy today, and the exterior door to my garage doesn't latch well. Ergo, the door blew open while the cats were out there. About 15 minutes before dark, I discovered they had gotten out.
The big guy wasn't much of a problem. He never goes far, and I found him in the backyard. I snapped my fingers and he ran inside, his belly swinging.
The little one was nowhere to be found. She's always been half-feral anyway, owing to her on-the-streets kittenhood. After scouring the backyard, I headed to the front. She was in the driveway, but ran around the side of the house when she saw me.
She ran into the dense brush between my house and the neighbors. I was calling her and trying to approach her, but the 10 years' worth of leaves crunching under my feet freaked her out and she ran into the neighbors' very overgrown yard.
I went and knocked on the neighbors' door. Two women live there. One is incredibly shy -- antisocial, even. She's the only one home, and she didn't answer the door. I go into their backyard and whistle and yell for the cat, but I don't see or hear anything. By this time it's pretty dark. From the other side of the fence (two doors down from me), someone starts mocking my whistling. Every time I whistle, he whistles back.
I finally got fed up and said "I'm looking for my lost cat, asshole. You're not helping." He stopped whistling.
It was at this point that I realized I had made a tactical error. That was the next yard I was going to have to search. I ran home for the flashlight first, whistling all the way, dreading having to knock on his door.
As I was headed back to the asshole's house to beg entry into his backyard, I thought I heard some rustling. I headed again into the bushes between my house and the neighbors' and heard a thump. I thought maybe it was a cat jumping over the fence.
So I go to the fence, whistle some more, shine the flashlight into my neighbors' yard, see nothing.
I decide then to climb up and look over the fence into MY backyard.
And there she is, the terrified little cat, standing on her hind legs and pawing desperately at the screen door.
I'm not sure who was more traumatized, me or her. I DO know who was abjectly disappointed -- the big cat, who was probably hoping that she'd never come back.
She's tired of being hugged now, but I'm still coming down off of the adrenaline. And I keep trying to scoop her up.