Around 3am, Rick and I were both awoken by a thunk on the deck outside our bedroom. I immediately think "BEAR!" and get up to look. I tell you, I'd have given anything for a bear to be out there over what I saw. One of the window screens was lying on the deck. DENNY!
Rick and I both ran out. We weren't sure if Denny knocked it off or if an animal was trying to get into the house. Trust me, that's not an impossibility here. The screen was intact and had no markings on it at all. After a frantic search around the house, we couldn't find the cat. Panic set in. Rick and I were both outside in our bare feet with flashlights looking for him. Nothing.
We searched the house again, and by now, Nichelle was up helping. Denny has all sorts of sleeping and hiding places, so we thought he could have bumped the screen, got scared, and took off somewhere in the house. Then I heard what sounded like two cats fighting up the road. My heart sank. We walked up and down the road, but couldn't see or hear anything.
After awhile, Rick was poking around one of the neighbor's house where I'm sure the original cat sound came from. One of the owners came out, so Rick told her what was going on. He said our cat got out of the house by accident. Now ... this particular house has a cat that comes on our deck every damn night and torments Denny. He stays up all night waiting for him. I'm am 99.9% positive this cat had something to do with this. Anyway ... the lady sees her cat on her deck and then starts rambling about how they used to have three black cats, but two got eaten by something. She goes on and on about things like fur, deer legs, body parts, mountain lions. What the hell?!?! By this point, I'm in tears already, so I just have to walk away.
I go back to the house hoping to find him inside still. With my luck, we'd wake up the entire neighborhood and the goofy cat would be hiding under the bed or somewhere. I couldn't find him, so I go outside again and Rick starts calling my name. He yells that Denny is over by another house that is two doors down from us, and one house over from where the rambling lady is. I go over to the house and find Denny wedged between a wall and a watering can on the deck. The house is owned by some Canadians and they're renting it right now, so we probably scared them to death going up on their porch like that.
We got him home and the look on his face said it all. He was terrified. He didn't seem to be hurt, and eventually he got something to eat and took a long drink. Needless to say, we shut all the windows and cranked up the air conditioner. He stayed in our room for a few hours before finally whining to be let out. It took me forever to go back to sleep. The adrenaline rush triggered massive nausea for me, so that wasn't fun at all. Denny is downstairs sleeping right now, and I imagine he will be for most of the day.
I don't know what happened. I don't know if he just jumped up on the windowsill and the screen gave out, or if he deliberately pushed on it. But I do know that other cat is in our yard every damn night. It drives Denny nuts. I don't know if Denny tried to chase him out of the yard, or if the other cat chased him. I do know there were cat sounds, so there was some sort of confrontation. I'm just glad it wasn't with a bear or a mountain lion. I'm also glad it was the living room window and not the one in the hall. Had it been that one, he would have fallen two stories down and probably wouldn't be here today. Anyway, he's okay and he's home, so that's what matters. Rick's looking at ways to clip the screens on better so they can't be pushed out so easily. In the meantime, I don't think we'll be sleeping with the windows open for awhile.
And to top the day off ... I get up to find one of our fish has passed away. She's been sick for awhile, so we knew it was coming. It was just sad to see it happen. We have a tank full of fish and this is the ONLY one that the boys gave a name to — Becky. She was Rick's favorite. She would come up to his fingers when they were in the tank, and she loved swimming in the bubbles when he added fresh water. We think she had what's called Swim Bladder Disease. It was sad to see her go, but ... at least Denny is safe and sound.
I seriously need a nap.