When we moved to Singapore, we decided to take our cats with us. They are old cats, 16 and 17 years old I believe. Pedro, the younger one, has kidney issues and is on a special diet. He has always been an indoor/outdoor cat, and being cooped up in the condo made him a restless and cranky old man. He was mewing constantly, pacing around, and spraying all over the place. Quite frankly I was growing weary of his antics.
It was no surprise, really, when he noticed the balcony gate open and made a break for it. It was his second time escaping, and I thought nothing of it. Last time he came back at dinner time. He could always be counted on to arrive at dinner. This time, however, would be different. This time he got himself lost. Since he is an old man, he is a bit senile. It didn’t help his situation.
In Singapore, the condos are all backed up to each other but each complex is surrounded by fences that are mostly impenetrable to a cat. There are stone walls, concrete walls, chain link and iron post fences. There are always breaks in the fence, though, and he apparently found the one in ours. I presume he wandered around, found the neighbors break in the fence too, then got lost and didn’t remember his secret fence path back.
The first day I yelled about the condo for him, to no avail. The second day I went along the edge of our fence and yelled into the neighboring condos. Again, I was met with silence. The third day I did the same, and walked around the block yelling for him, for naught. The fifth day the girls and I went to a neighboring condo, situated on enormous meandering grounds, and talked the security guard into letting us wander around yelling for him. It took us over an hour to walk the whole area. The girls yelled for him constantly. We spotted other cats that we had seen wandering near our condo. Still, Pedro was nowhere to be found. We were worried.
The following day I called the SPCA and Animal Control. Nobody had seen him, but I left his microchip number, my mobile number and his description with them. We started to give up hope. At home it was sad but in a way nice. He had been waking me up meowing four or five times a night, like I had a newborn in the house. Now my nights were quiet. Before I had to be extra vigilant about closing doors to rooms with precious things, like toys and beds, so he wouldn’t spray them. Now we could leave the doors open. It was calm again.
Days 6-10 were quiet. We searched online listings, talked to security guards and gardeners. On day 10, at around 6 pm, Isabel, my four year old, gave it one more shot. She yelled with all her might. Apparently he heard her this time. He used her voice to find the right direction home. Around midnight, a skinny, disheveled mess of a cat turned up on the balcony, meowing like crazy. We let him in. He ate an entire can of cat food in one gulp. He drank a whole bowl of water. He was dirty, hungry and thirsty, but definitely the same guy. He meowed for an hour, telling us all about his adventure. He told us of surviving off geckos and lizards, of the nice man that fed him, of wandering through jungles and searching for home. Ok, he didn’t really tell us these things, but we imagine that is what his meows meant.
That night, Pedro slept through night. He has been home for four days, and he hasn’t once asked to leave the balcony. He has stopped pacing. He is no longer restless. He sleeps most of the day, and he doesn’t wake us in the middle of the night with his complaints. He appreciates being home, and we are glad to have him back.