I took a chance. I opened the back door, and out we went, me with my camera. The cat didn't follow me into the back yard. He wanted to go out front. From a perch we set up for him in the garage, he had been looking out that way for a few days. Now was his chance to really get a feel for that area.
He came on around back along the other side of the house. He scampered out toward the back gate, and suddenly he was over it. I opened the gate and followed. I left it open, and in a minute or two the cat walked back through it. Good, I thought, he wants to stay in the yard.
Ha! Another few seconds later he was over the gate again. And he disappeared. I walked a ways out into the vineyard to see if I could spot him, but he had vanished.
There was nothing to do but go back in the house and wait. Maybe he would come back. Maybe not. People had told me it was important to keep the cat inside for varying lengths of time — a week, two weeks, even 30 days — so that it would consider the new place home, and would come back after excursions outdoors.
A couple of hours later, I had pretty much given up. I wished the cat the best, and hoped he would have a good life wherever he wound up.
Then Walt looked out a back window. "Bertie is out in the yard," he told me. Well how about that! I went downstairs and opened the back door. The black cat was perched high in the big apple tree, not far from the back door.
When he saw me, he came running down from the tree — he found a long branch that runs at a 45º angle toward the ground, so his descent was smooth and fluid. He ran straight to the back door and walked right in.
I'm going to consider that that's that then, and I'm going to open a garage window this morning so that he can have free access to the outdoors and can come back in when he pleases. I still need to inform the neighbors that the black cat they are going to start seeing around the hamlet is not a stray, but our new