As I mentioned on Wednesday Eva is being amazingly good about sleeping, but I've still been wired up with that incredibly sensitive Mother's night-time hearing; so if anything makes a noise that sounds even vaguely like Eva I am AWAKE instantly. Last night I woke up at five (Why is always five?), and Eva was also awake so I thought she woken me up because she was hungry and I fed her. She seemed a bit surprised by this, but didn't complain, and promptly went back to sleep. Then I realised that actually I'd been woken up by the sound of a cat desperately miaowing.
It didn't sound like either of our cats' voices, but it did sound sort of weird and echoey so I thought maybe one of them had got themselves shut in a cupboard or had stuffed themselves under the sofa or something (Edith has been chasing Nancy a lot recently, so I wouldn't blame poor Nance for looking for a decent hiding place right now). I got up to have a look, and Nancy was sat by the front door whilst Edith was lolling on her rocking chair. The miaows continued, and were quite clearly coming from just outside the front door of our apartment. When I opened the door a skinny young black cat came running in, tail up, and looked at me expectantly.
I quickly usherd the cat back outside, and, as it was really friendly, I gingerly picked it up and took it downstairs. The black cat didn't mind that at all, so I put it down outside the house - I think I was hoping it would realise it had come to the wrong house and apologise politely for the mix-up before calling a taxi to take it home. It did not. Of course, when I got up to go back inside, the black cat followed me up to our apartment's door again.
Well now what do I do? The black cat was very glossy and friendly, so it clearly was a pet cat, and it wasn't injured so it didn't need to be taken to a vet or anything. On the other hand I was worried about a very friendly black cat wandering the streets this close to Halloween, but obviously I couldn't keep it even over-night without that causing major problems with our cats (When something like this happened at a previous house it triggered Edith's epic campaign of peeing in the hallway by the front door).
So I decided that the only thing I could do was take it back outside, and shut the door to the building, so it wouldn't keep running up the stairs. I hoped that would make it realise it was at the wrong house, and force it to try looking for it's own home again. I took a handful of food with me (Nancy did not approve and the black cat wasn't that interested actually), and took the cat downstairs again. I hated closing the front door and leaving it out there, but I just had to trust it was close enough to home that it would find it's way back by itself.
I really hope that it did.