Smacky got out last night. I was cleaning out his litter box, and when I came out from the bathroom, he wasn’t in the house. I looked all over for him. No sign of him. The front door was open but the screen was still latched. While I was poking around for him I heard the dog next door barking and then a cat-like screech and yowl, and then the neighbors were outside talking amongst themselves.

I headed outside and around the corner of the building and asked them if that had been a black cat tangling with their dog. One of the girls said yes, and the older lady asked me if it had been my cat.

Glumly, I said, “Yes, probably. He’s not in the house. But I don’t know how he got outside.”

To which the mom pointed at my living room window. “Looks like there’s a tear in your screen,” she said. And, sure enough, a round cat-sized hole was in my living room window screen.

I went inside and got a flashlight and his bag of food, and walked around the building a couple of times, shaking the bag and calling his name. He didn’t show up. I went to bed worried.

This morning, around 5 AM, there was a soft mrow-ing and then a scratching at my bedroom window. I got up and looked outside; I found myself face-to-face, through the screen, with Smacky, hanging by his claws on the ledge.

Looks like Smacky’s decided he’s an outside cat. I let him him, he headed straight to his food dish, gulped it down, and then went out to the living room and plopped himself down, eyes half-lidded, and posed like he was the king of the house.

“Tire yourself out, Smacky, running around all night?” I asked him. I got no reply.

Since I was up early, I went out for a run (4 miles! I didn’t time myself but I ran strong the entire way, no walking, kept a good pace, and finished strong with a sprint to my finish line!). When I came back, Smacky was curled up on my bed, fast asleep.

Not sure I like the implications of this new development. Is he going to claw his way through the screens anytime he wants out? Am I going to have to put in a cat door? For his safety and my peace of mind I’d really prefer he be an indoor cat.

But it looks like Smacky has a different opinion about that.