Yuzu has been staying out during the night this summer: while Mikan was already inside, Yuzu would not come when we called her and did not come back on her own. The first time this happened, we slept quite bad: everything you hear sounds like a mewing kitty just outside! But then we (sort-of) learned to trust her instincts and let her do her thing.
Now that the weather is getting (much!) colder, she often comes inside just before dark, which suits us fine! Sometimes she wants to go out again, but we simply keep her inside.
On Sunday, Yuzu returned as usual, but no matter how much we called for Mikan, she did not return. I roamed outside for a bit with a flashlight, but did not find her. With the nights bitterly cold, we were kind of worried, but in the end we had to go to sleep (I had to leave the house at 07:00 the next morning).
The next morning, there was still no sign of her. We were getting worried.
During the day, klik discovered that Mikan was actually in the back yard of our neighbours! We had heard our neighbour trying to keep his dog down as it chased after something in their back yard, but we had not realised it was Mikan.
There are fences on both side of their back yard, and a kitty that can climb can easily get away. But our cats never learned to climb -- something we don't mind that much, since it means that the kitchen counter tops are safe. But in this case, it meant that Mikan could not leave -- the gap between their back door and the ground is too small for even Mikan to squeeze through. She must have crept inside when the neighbour was walking his dog -- he probably left the door open then.
Luckily, our neighbours are about to throw away their old couches. They've put them in the back yard, and put plastic over them to protect them from the rain. Mikan had crawled in the gap between the couches, and had been able to find shelter in that way.
By the time I returned from my client (17:30), our neighbours still were not home. So we decided to stage a rescue ourselves. Using steps and ladders, I climbed over their back yard wall and was about to coax Mikan from her hiding place, when the neighbour returned.
She was quite alarmed to see the steps -- their house had been burglarised this summer -- but she relaxed when se saw klik standing there. We explained the situation, and she didn't mind us picking apart their couches at all. (They have pets themselves, they understand.)
Mikan was active and curious, so she didn't suffer any trauma. She did quickly dispatch her food, though! But after that, she settled down again and dozed off on the couch, as usual. Still, I hope she won't repeat this little adventure -- at least not until it's gotten warmer again!