The first time was when she figured out how to unzip the tunnel and escaped into the woods, here at Ham Lake. It was heart pounding that day until she sauntered back into the campsite. She didn't look nearly as stressed out as we were. We now have a clip on the entry to prevent this from happening.
The second time was when we were leaving Ham Lake and she wiggled out of my arms and made a dash for the woods. Again, that sick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that we'd never see her again. But, she knew where she was the whole time and materialized out of the woods wet, muddy and full of burrs but with a smile on her face.
The third time was when she managed to unzip two of the tunnels in the long extended tunnel we'd created for them. After her safe return we now clip each one of the zippers along the entire 40 feet of tunnel.
I just realized while writing this, that this phenomena seems to only happen at Ham Lake. Good thing too, since she seems to know her way about in this location.
When I returned from pickleball Thursday night about 9:00 it was starting to get dark fast and was time to bring the cats in. George went in first but there seemed to be one cat missing. Oh no...this was the first time this had happened at night.
I found a spot where the zipper was separating near the tent. My guess is she realized this (or created the problem) and worked it until it was large enough to squeeze through. Thank goodness George did not choose to follow her, because he has no street smarts and isn't that bright. Don't tell him I said that...he's pretty sensitive about this issue.
We proceeded to walk around the campsite calling her name and looking for any white fur that might be visible yet in the remaining daylight.
I knocked on the neighbor's door to ask if she saw a calico cat to let me know, figuring we'd be going to bed that night waiting for any sound of her return. She said she had just seen her walking down the main road toward the office about 20 minutes ago. So, off we headed in that direction.
It's really getting dark now, so I left the light on our patio and we headed to where she was last seen. Left Brain finally suggested I return home in case she came back and he'd keep walking.
As soon as returned I spotted her on our patio rug. I tried to act nonchalant and talked to her as I approached, but ready to do a flying tackle if she made a ran for it. She let me scoop her up and assist her back into the house.
Now he's out there and I noticed his phone sitting by the side of his chair, so I couldn't call him to give him the good news. So I jumped in the car and headed out looking for Left Brain.
You know how it is when you're really scared and then the danger is past you get a bit hysterical. Oh come on now...I don't think it's just me! Well, I found myself dissolving into uncontrolled giggling with the realization that the cat was safely at home and now I couldn't find my husband.
After a bit I spotted this dejected looking man walking along the road and pulled the car alongside. He was so relieved when I told him she was safely in our RV once again.
We went home and gave her a stern talking to, with a lot of petting and kisses as we were thrilled she was safe.
Now they are on probation and I've shortened up the outdoor enclosure to just the tent and the two new tunnel pieces that I trust.
The remaining tunnel sections needed to be washed (it's all dirt in our campsite) and analyzed to see what can be fixed and what needs to be tossed. So, here they are hanging on the clothesline to dry.
The new set up keeps them on the patio mat, so they are cleaner and drier now...and we can keep a close eye on them.
Their chairs got a good cleaning and I'll probably make some new toppers for them so they can be cleaned more easily since I'm revamping their set up anyway.
This cat is going to be the death of us yet. If Left Brain had any hair left, it probably would have fallen out after this last escapade.
Long Live the Queen (and current Warden) of Wayward Cats