Friday, May 27, 2011

Houston, We Have A Problem...

THE BIG THING:  Well we did not have a good 48 hours here at Mark's Mews!  Marley lost his collar, Iza barfed twice, the shelving rack I am assembling is missing 2 pieces and otherwise becoming more of a project than I expected, the printer died, the groundhog I trapped and then humanely released outside of the fence is back inside.  My 'Cavebear's Lair' blog refused to add uploaded photos for a day.

But all that pales...

Ayla got outside Wednesday afternoon and did not return until a couple hours ago!

There is a history to this.  LC basically taught Ayla how to get over the fence.  Both would stay out for an hour, then come home when called.  But last year, after Iza joined us, Ayla would stay outside the fence (but close to it) for 2 nights at a time.  The last time, Iza chased Ayla over the fence as if she was an intruder.  I had to spray Iza with the garden hose to get her to back away.  Ayla stayed close to the fence, but outside for 4 days.  At that point, when she finally returned, Ayla became an indoors cat.

I do not understand this at all.  Indoors, they sleep together, eat together, and nap on my lap together.  They groom each other. Outside, something is different...  Last year, Iza chased Ayla over the fence twice.

But I have successfully kept Ayla indoors for about a year now, while Iza and (very recently)  Marley went outside.  Iza and Marley can go outside in the big fenced-in backyard because they show absolutely no interest in getting over the fence.  Probably because they can't.  That's good, because I am outside a lot and I like to have my friends outside with me.

It isn't easy managing the deck door cat-traffic.  Iza or Marley want to get in or out, sometimes in opposite directions.  I always watch Ayla carefully, tapping my foot in front of her to back her away.  But it all went wrong yesterday...

Iza was in, and wanted out.  Marley was out, and wanted in.  Ayla was across the room, sitting quietly.  I opened the door so Marley could get in and Iza out.  They usually enter and leave quickly.  But Iza and Marley blocked each other with Marley's head just in the opening.

I saw Ayla rush the door.  I couldn't shut it on Marley's neck, so I swiped a hand toward Ayla.  Just as Iza got in the way...  Ayla hopped over both of them like a gazelle, and she was out on the deck. Marley ran inside and Iza backed away;  I walked calmly onto the deck and tried to get Ayla back inside, but she hopped off the deck and ran straight over the fence!

You would think that, being inside for a year, she would be interested in the yard.  To stop and sniff things, nibble some grass, sniff the mouse holes.  No, she went straight over the fence.

I heard the bell on her collar jingling while I was outside yesterday, but I couldn't see her.  At least she was staying close by the fence.  There is an area between me and 3 other neighbors that stays wild.  She likes it there.  She doesn't go near the road (and it is a very low traffic dead end street). 

She was 4 days out from her recent heat cycle (the first in 2 1/2 months!), so she was safe from that kind of unwanted attention.  But I couldn't help worrying.  There are owls, there are loose dogs.  She MIGHT wander too far away to find home this time.

I didn't sleep the first night.  Literally, I stayed up til dawn, calling outside about once each hour.  Slept from 8 a.m. to Noon...  Last night, I slept solidly, just too tired to call her all night.

Around lunchtime, I glanced outside, and it looked like Iza was out on the lawn.  It definitely wasn't Ayla, too light-colored.  Then I saw Ayla a few feet away!  I shut the bedroom door to keep Iza and Marley inside and opened the deck door.  Then, I could see the other cat was a light ginger.

When he saw me, he trotted away and Ayla chased after him.  Dammit, she went back over the fence again!  Fortunately, a few minutes later she hopped back up on the fence and walked along it for a while.  I got quietly to within 20 feet and just stood there for about 10 minutes talking to her.

FINALLY, she decided to join me and came over.  When she started to purr, it was safe to reach down and pick her up.  Inside, I fed her and stood next to the cat tree until she hopped up there.  I scratched her for about 15 minutes until she decided she wanted to nap.  I got her into the Mewsroom and closed the door so that she would have some secure time after I let Iza and Marley out of the bedroom.

As soon as Ayla was out of the Mewsroom, Iza attacked her!  I separated them and soothed Ayla again for a while.  An hour later, she did it AGAIN!  This time I had the spray bottle at hand and gave her a couple of good shots.

While they usually get along, there is just something about Ayla that Iza does not like!  She doesn't attack Marley like that, ever.  I think Iza would like to be an only cat, but she does really like Marley...  Maybe it is because Ayla runs from Iza and Marley doesn't, but that might be either WHY Iza attacks or BECAUSE Iza attacks.

Equally, I don't know whether Ayla started to stay out longer because I began to keep her inside or because she wanted to get away from Iza.   She stayed out overnight a few times before Iza arrived, but the multiple night episodes started shortly after Iza arrived.   I often see Iza staring at Ayla intently. 

At least she is back inside again.  For now.  I don't know what will happen next...

UPDATE:  Oh, BTW, TBT is moaning about his plant light stand project iffen ya wanna read about it over here...

We dont see what he is so annoyed about.  Its not like his time is worth annything when he isnt payin attention to US!  An he is tryin ta grow veggables!  Who cares?