Marilyn Lost and Found, Part 1

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Marilyn got out and ran away, the afternoon of Sunday January 11th, after I inadvertently left a door open. She was gone for more than a week.


I believed she would stay nearby. That's what the "experts" say: an indoor cat that gets out, often goes into hiding very close to home. I once found a missing cat in a dark culvert 100 feet from its home. The confidence that Marilyn was nearby was a strong motivation to keep trying to get her back.

That first Sunday night, we searched the property, and left food and water out. Often, an escaped cat doesn't respond to a familiar voice, but we called for her anyway.

We searched again Monday morning. That week we kept food and water out: 3 food stations and 5 water stations. We searched the properties of the nearest neighbors, with their permission. I felt that her most likely hiding place would be under a house or other building. One house had a small gap, so that a cat could crawl under, but it was impossible to see all of the space underneath, and calling produced no response.

Volunteer Dave H. came over and sat outside for several hours with an open can of tuna, hoping that she would make an appearance. He'd used that technique successfully to recover a friend's cat.

We posted pictures of Marilyn around the neighborhood, with our phone number, and talked to neighbors.

I read several websites for expert advice:,,,,, and especially This reaffirmed my belief that Marilyn was probably nearby.

We considered hiring a team with a search-and-rescue dog ( to track down Marilyn. The team would attempt to follow a scent trail. We decided it wouldn't work in this case: we didn't have anything with just Marilyn's scent, and there are neighborhood cats who frequently travel through our yard.

Driving back after dark Saturday night, we finally had a glimpse of Marilyn: just her tail end as she left the driveway. We stayed out Sunday night, hoping to see her again. We heard a Great Horned Owl, very near the house. Great Horned Owls are potential predators of outdoor cats.

In my next blog entry, I will explain how we finally got Marilyn back home. So check back in a couple of days, or contact us if you've lost a cat and want to know right away.


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