Since Tootsie disappeared for an entire week, Pat and Henry have been keeping most of us under house + pen arrest.
There are exceptions. Summer, for example, is so good about staying in the yard and returning immediately when called, that he has been allowed to go out even while the rest of us remain confined:
Farah, also, is totally trustworthy, and is allowed out every evening for an hour or so after Summer, her archenemy, has come indoors.
Sweet Cocoa is so affectionate that she will not leave Pat's side so long as Pat stays out in the yard with her, so she, also, has been allowed a bit of carefully supervised outdoor time:
Tessa and her kittens Dolly and Dandy don't mind the new rules: they are entirely content to remain in the pen wrestling with each other and killing all the bugs they can eat.
But the rest of us are NOT happy and we DEMANDED an explanation for our confinement.
Pat told us all that "pen" is short for "penitentiary," and that if we look at the roots of the word, we will understand that a "penitentiary" is a place where we should think about our misbehaviour until we feel remorse.
So, here is Hershey, doing his best to re-morse and re-pent:
The rest of us, however -- even Tootsie, whose bad behaviour was the immediate cause of our imprisonment -- refuse to acknowledge that we have anything whatsoever to repent, and Hershey, too, soon grew bored with this novel concept.
We have all been so unhappy, that Pat has been trying to figure out a way that we can continue to enjoy the yard during this short spell of summer weather.
And she thinks she may have found a solution!
Look back at the picture of Hershey in the pen: Did you notice that he is wearing a collar, with a funny dangly thing attached? Here, you can see Taffy wearing the same kind of contraption:
BECAUSE: Pat has discovered Loc8Tor radio devices!
Here is how the Loc8Tor system works:
Before any one of us is allowed out the door, Pat attaches to each of our collars, one of the little dangly things (she calls them "homing devices"):
Pat -- who always goes out with us now -- carries a little black rectangular gadget that has buttons on it. Each homing device is assigned to a specific button.
Pat keeps track of which cat is wearing which homing device.
Then, if one of us disappears from sight, Pat presses the appropriate button on her little black gadget, which proceeds to act like a geiger counter:
Pat wanders around the yard, and whenever she happens to move closer to the missing cat, the black thingie BEEPS! LIGHTS flash on the black thingie!
The closer Pat gets to whichever one of us has vanished, the brighter the lights become, and the louder the beeps!
And that's not all: the dangly thing on the collar in question beeps in response!
Taffy was the first one of us to disappear and be located by the gadget. She was SO surprised when her collar starting beeping, and Pat came running around the corner of the house to collect her and bring her back to the deck! Where Boris greeted her, in cat-fashion, by sniffing first her front end and then her back end:
If you want to learn more about how the black thingie works, go here:
There are some limitations, of course. The radio signals only reach about 600 feet. But that's usually far enough. And anyway, in the past, whenever one of us went missing outside the yard (first Cocoa, then Hershey, most recently Tootsie), Pat and Henry walked all over the neighborhood searching. If they had had the little black thingie, Pat now believes, they would have located every one of us within an hour.
But another problem has arisen: the homing devices are not waterproof! SO Taffy, who is as clever as she is naughty, while pretending to drink from one of our many bowls, gave her homing device a good dunking, so that it won't work anymore.
Now Pat is ordering new homing devices that are encased in something that makes them waterproof.
Another potential problem: What if two or three or four of us -- or for that matter, ALL of us -- agreed to run off, all at once, in different directions? As far as we can see, Pat can press only one button at a time! And we are certain she can chase us in only one direction at a time!
Hershey tried to discuss with Summer, our Fearless Leader, the possibility of organizing such a plot. But since Summer doesn't wear a collar, he was not interested. In fact, Summer told Hershey that if we all behaved as well as he does, Pat wouldn't make us wear the homing devices!
And even if we did run off in different directions, Pat says, she would simply track us down one by one.
Anyway, as you can see from these pictures, most of us enjoy staying right here on the deck and in the yard with Pat.
Simon, the Siamese who lives two doors down the street from us, is, as usual, JEALOUS: For years, while the rest of us have tried constantly to escape, he has always tried to run IN to the house or pen, only to be evicted by Pat whenever he managed it.
Now Simon has yet another cause for complaint: Pat refuses to give him one of the collars that the rest of us are sporting!
Summer gets SO tired of explaining to Simon that he is NOT a member of our clowder:
But at least Boris can again enjoy the flowers he loves so much: