All four cats like the balcony, but Roary LOVES IT. He would live out there if he could. He (and Sunny) love hunting and eating bugs, and I’m sure if Roary were an outdoor cat he’d be doing some serious harm to the local bird population. He hasn’t tried to go over the balcony railing (yet), but he’s had a few close calls when chasing after a bug that goes over the side. It hasn’t helped my anxiety.
Unfortunately, Roary has somehow figured out how to get past the screen door on the balcony. Both kittens have been climbing the screens since they got here, no matter how hard we try to dissuade them. They’re both at least 9 months old now, but where Sunny is a squat little round potato, Roary is a Large Cat: he’s all wiry muscle and weighs around 13 pounds. He’s discovered that if he climbs to the top of the balcony screen, his weight causes the door to sink just enough for the track wheels to retract and the screen pops out enough for him to jump through the gap and escape. Since yesterday afternoon, we’ve done near-hourly head counts on the cats and four times now have found Roary (and once, his sister) outside on the balcony even though the door is mostly closed and the screen barely askew.
This morning, we did a test. The screen was shut completely tight and the door left ajar several inches. All cats inside and accounted for. Not long after I went upstairs to start work, I heard some scrambling noises and then suspicious silence so I went downstairs to check: Roary was on the balcony railing, digging in the flower box. He at least had the good sense to look guilty when I found him. Only issue (other than the fact that my cat is fucking Houdini): this time, he hadn’t popped the door out of the track. The screen was completely in place. How did he get outside?!
I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know what he wants. If he’s looking for bugs, I can tell him I don’t have any available. But what I do have are great deal of internet-connected devices, devices that will detect motion, devices that will record his every move. If he leaves the screen door alone, that’ll be the end of it. I will not scold him. I will not post the video of his escape. But if he doesn’t, I will yell at him, I will take pictures of him being a Very Bad Cat, and I will post them online for everyone to laugh at.
I will also shamelessly crib text from a movie because I am too annoyed to come up with my own words to convey the Liam Neeson-esque measures I am taking to deal with this.
There’s a camera set up on the floor with full view of the balcony door. A motion sensor has been set up just outside the door to alert me if it detects motion, which will be recorded on the camera. The video feed is streaming to my phone, and when I need to use my phone (or Roary is on my chair chewing my head so I know the coast is clear) I send the feed to my Alexa Echo. I WILL figure how he’s doing it, and then I WILL set up an elaborate and needlessly complicated solution to stop him (or at least watch).