The letting go of Ki Ki is starting way earlier than I expected.
This morning, I let her out to play before I went to town. Since she’d been cooped up in the house most of the day yesterday because of the rain, I wanted her to have some time before I put her in her outdoor pen while I went to town.
Less than an hour later, I called for her and she wouldn’t come. I called and searched. I didn’t understand it, she almost never fails to come when I call. I wondered if she could possibly know it was Thursday and my day in town. Reluctantly, I left, She had the doggy door and could come in when she wanted.
I came home after my appointment and called again. She came running from the back yard and into the house. It was all purrs and begging at the “Magic Box of Endless Food” (the fridge). I knew she been in the house while I was gone. Every pillow was off the couch and chair. All the Halloween decorations had been knocked over or molested and two leaves were chewed off my Rex Begonia. A blanket still had the impression of her nap.
Around 5;30 she went back outside with Sophie and I didn’t think much when she didn’t come back in when the dog did. I usually let her stay out till dark and normally, she does not leave the yard.
I went out at 7 and called. No KI KI. I went out at 7;30. Still no Ki Ki. 15 minutes later I went out and called and the deer came thundering in, demanding food. So I fed them, scratched them and handed out peppermints. There was a noise at the fence and I looked up to see Ki Ki on the fence rail.
She wouldn’t quite let me get a hold on her and purred s she paced back and forth. I told her it was time to come in and I swear, she gave me a “laughing Fuck You” and hopped off on the other side. The last I saw of her, she was streaking down the fence line towards the wooded area. There was no way I could follow.
My cat was being a brat. She has hit her teenage years, stolen the car and is out on a joyride. I have no idea where she is.
It’s now nearly 10 and she is still not home. She has never been out this late. The adventure is hers. The worry is mine.
There has never been a night that she has not slept securely in her night cage with her stuffed toys and blankies. Every night, I slept secure in the knowledge that she was safe in my studio.
As I look back over the past week or so, she has spent less time in the house and more time outside. She discovered the trees and climbing them. She has endlessly stalked that fat rabbit. She has been gradually distancing herself from the house and me. Never this much distance though.
I’m not sure what to do now. DO I go to bed and hope she comes back in? Do I wait up and ground her for a week when she does appear, looking like what the cat drags in? If she isn’t in her night cage, I know I won’t sleep. I will imagine coyotes and cars and falling in the pond. I will think of her lost, crying for me.
She won’t be, but I’ll imagine I hear it.
I go through this every year with the fawns on the first night they don’t come home, but they always do within a day. I hope she will too. But then comes the tough decision.
Bobcats stay with their mother for about 8 to 10 months. Ki Ki is a bit less than 5 months. She only weighs about 8 pounds and I had not planned to release her till she was at least 15 pounds.
I have raised her with as much freedom as possible. I wanted her to be comfortable with the outdoors and confident when I released her. I did not plan on releasing her near the house as I was afraid she would be too dependent on me. I assumed that at some point I would have to move her to the large pen for the winter and give her less and less attention. I would have to remove her freedom for her to gain it in the long run.
If she comes home, do I still allow her to be free in the house and surrounding area? Or do I break her heart and pen her up? I really am not sure. I’ve never raised a bob cat from a week old before. They have always been a few months old and I was able to maintain distance to keep them from being too familiar with humans.
I know she can hunt. I know, if she is hungry, she will eat what she kills. So far, she has never tried to go at any of the chickens or ducks, but if she sticks around, I suspect she will. She knows where home is and the doggy door. I’m pretty sure she prefers her blankies or the couch to sleeping in the wild. I am convinced that she will come to me before any other humans who might not know her. I have to be convinced.
All I really know right now is that I want her home. I want her safe. I want to hear her “Mommy growl” and her rumbling purr. It’s so hard loving something that is so wild, yet I couldn’t help myself.
I don’t think anyone could.
Oh wait! Here she is now. Purring with joy and full of face pats. She’s hungry and absolutely fine. The crisis is over….for now.