Saturday Night it was very pleasant out here in California, so I had the place opened up wide to catch the breezes. As usual, Julius was out doing his thing and the others were keeping me company.
Then someone nearby let off a large explosion, the kind that produce a large concussion. A while later a second one went off. Gus and Calla weren’t that alarmed by them.
But as the night went on and Julie didn’t come back, I began to wonder if Julius had been closer to the blast or more scared. I’ve read about how cats can revert under stress to a semi-feral state, and this is how many lost indoor cats stay missing if they get out, even very close to home.
Julie has stayed out all night before, but not so far this year. Luckily, though, at dawn he was back in his usual station atop the wall by the gate. But when I opened the door he didn’t come bounding forward to come in like he usually does when he is stuck outside.
I walked out to the wall and he watched me without recognition, but also without fear. He jumped down and trotted in, but he wasn’t calm. He spent a long time pacing around like a wild cat. He was hyper-aware of any movement by me or the other cats but not scared by any of it or hostile. He would just turn and stare to identify the cause, totally silently. He had not made a sound since I had seen him.
That’s pretty unusual for Julie, who is pretty chatty when I talk to him or touch him or even look at him. But his silence and wildness kept on.
Finally I had an idea and broke out some loose catnip and gave him a large supply. This seemed to break the ice and finally he relaxed and gave me a chirp and meow. In no time he was back to his normal self and eventually settled down behind my knees to watch some television.
I’ll admit I was a little nervous later that day when Calla wanted the door opened up to let her out onto the back patio. It didn’t take long for Julie to go outside as well. But I was relieved for certain when I opened the front door and Julie came trotting back from where he had been hanging out, trilling a welcome just like normal.