Probably should have put this in the pet section but it is going to be a ramble so putting it here. We have 5 cats, 3 which are 14 years old or older and are inside/outside cats. They go in and out(and in and our) during the day but come in at dusk to be fed canned catfood and remain inside until morning with one exception. Our oldest--someplace oveer 15--does not like canned cat food and, if he comes in too early will wake us at predawn to go out, so I generally wait until I'm on my way to bed to get him in. (I habitually stay up to watch the 11 o'clock news.) Our other 2 cats are strictly indoor cats although the older one, who is 6, has learned to open the outside sliding doors if they are left open a crack and will escape--never for any length of time since he is scared to death of the chickens. The other cat--a coal black, shorthair named Midnite--is the problem. I found her under the woodpile as a 3-month kitten three years ago. At the time she was a loving kitten and very friendly towards my DW and myself. So DW decided we should keep her. This necessitated my taking her to the vet to check for feline leukemia--negative--and those first shots. Something about being transported in a carrier and the shots traumatize her and, from that day onward she has be scared to death of me. If I approached her, she'd run away. In fact, she adopted this behavior with everyone except DW--she'd sleep on her side of the bed, sit on her lap and, generally, act like her cat. There were exceptions: she would not sit still to be groomed, using any kind of flea treatment was impossible, clipping her nails or taking her to the vet were out of the question. (We did get her spade which was made easy by the fact she was in heat at the time and easy to capture.) If we had company she'd hide in the cellar for the duration--in close to 3 years my daughters and grandkids have yet to really get little more than a fleeting look at her. Unfortunately she neither liked canned catfood or cat treats and, as a result, never really learned her name or came when called. In short, she became feral as far as anyone but DW was concerned. The only good thing was that we kept her inside and either she had no desire to go out or anytime she thought about it I'd be near the door so she ran the other way. Ok this sets up what happened on Monday night. I'm down with a doozy of a head cold--runny nose, head ache, sore throat and cough. I had watched, half slept through the Monday Night football game, woke up to see the last couple of minutes and then headed off to bed. Last thing was to get the last cat in. It was a warm, muggy night and while he was near the door, he didn't exactly want to come in. I'm in no mood to play games so I step out to get him. Once I have him in hand I turn around to see that I've either left the sliding door open or the cat has opened it. Either way it is a jail break. All the cats are outside. I drop the cat I have inside, close the door and check the bedroom for Midnite. She's not there. I go back to the outside door and there she is starring through it at me. Of course as soon as I open it she runs away. Hoping she'll return, I round up the other 3 cats--who all come when I call--and then go looking for her. I find her wedged in under part of the deck. When I reach in to grab her she scratches me and runs away. We haven't seen her since. For the next hour, cold and all, I wander around calling her to no avail. I didn't want to wake DW because I didn't want her to loose sleep over it. That was 4 days ago. We have called, left food out, etc. and still no cat. We have neighbors up and down our road looking for her. If I could find where she went I would live-trap her but don't want to do this willy-nilly as I really don't want to capture a skunk or a raccoon. As far as her being gone I ambivalent about it. In one sense I p.o ed because she won't come and deserves to be left where she is. On the other my DW is upset and I feel really guilty about the fact she got out on my error. Also I really don't like the idea of leaving a domestic animal out to fend for itself--I really think that's how she arrived here in the first place, someone dropped her off. So I'm caught between a rock and a hard place and hope that she remembers enough about where she came from to, eventually, return. (I might point out that our older cat is real possessive of the place and will drive off stray cats so he might be chasing her away when she tries to come back.) At any rate, that's my ramble. Got it off my chest. Thanks for listening. Now back to chickens.