Our missing kitten, Frankie S. (named for Frank Sinatra because he has big blue eyes) is back in the house. For those of you who don't know about the feral kittens I whispered into the house in June, Frankie and his two sisters lived with us for several weeks while we looked for homes for them. The sisters, Lovie and Little Bit, were adopted by our friends the Crawfords and they have new names to go with their new family. Frankie stayed with us, although it was not intended to be permanent.
Michael decided to take him to our vet for a feline leukemia test. We wanted to let him loose in the house and needed to be sure he wasn't a danger to our other cats. On the way to the car, Frankie discovered that the door of the crate was not latched securely and he made a break! Before Michael could even react, Frankie hit the pavement and bounded across the street.
We've had sightings off and on in the month since then. He regularly came to our house to eat, but we were not able to coax him back inside. This is where having our A/C break down worked out for the best. We have had the windows open to keep the air moving through the house. And Frankie showed up at the window to chat through the screen with Smudge, who is his half brother, soon after we opened them.
When we had the three kittens, they all loved Smudge and wanted cuddle up to him. Smudge took a somewhat dim view of this, possibly because it was three on one, but he seemed happy enough to have visits with Frankie through the screen window. (Perhaps Smudge's recent stay at Coffee and Casey's house while we were gone helped him to be more flexible, too.)
I decided to try to whisper Frankie back in the house. I fed him wet cat food through the back door and I sat near the food bowl when I put kibble out for him. As long as I didn't look at him, Frankie was willing to eat with me two feet away, although he did seem nervous. Michael started talking to him through the screen, too, and he didn't run away.
But Smudge did the whispering this time. We opened our back door a little, Smudge sat just inside the house and said hi to Frankie, and Frankie walked right in for some love. After his tail came inside, I simply closed the door. Voila! Frankie's back.
This should not be confused with "Frankie's happy to be inside." He is anxious about Michael and me, and Trixie is being mean and hissy to him (as she is with Smudge and even Jack sometimes). Jack, being king of the hill, ignores Frankie altogether. Smudge acts pretty nice towards him, though, and it is sweet to see Frankie snuggle up for a head washing from Smudge.
We don't kid ourselves that Frankie is a natural house cat. I doubt that wouldl work with him even if we wanted four cats inside. And I'm afraid he's too set in his ways to get adopted at this point. The plan is this: We will get Frankie neutered at our vet's and have his ear notched like they do for feral cats. Then Frankie can come and go as he pleases and be an outside cat at our house if inside is too scary. By notching his ear, we are certifying that he has been fixed and has had a rabies shot at least once, which should help if he is ever picked up by the authorities.
I like Frankie S. a lot and I am quite happy that Smudge whispered him back into our house. This time, we are going to get him taken care of with no escaping. After he's fixed and healed, we'll give him his freedom if he wants it. I'm fairly certain he will.
The rest of the vacation story will have to wait.