Actually it was around 2:30 this morning.
Julia woke up and was thirsty.
I went downstairs to get her something (the water from the tap isn't all that drinkable, really) and when I walked into the kitchen the silence erupted with frantic kitten cries.
I coudn't tell where the kitten was – somewhere near the fridge – so I switched on the light and looked around – still no kitten.
Was one of them in the fridge??? I opened the fridge and freezer doors – no kitten – looked behind the fridge – no kitten, plus a kitten could get out from there.
And then – I opened the back door.
And there was Scratchy. Crouched between the outer screen door and the inner door.
He leaped out and ran across the room, then turned around and (still mewing non-stop) ran back TO ME, and actually permitted me to pick him up and snuggle him a bit. (He's been tolerant of being picked up, but he doesn't actually LIKE it and struggles to get down, though without ripping peoples' hands to shreds.)
And once I picked him up he instantly started purring like crazy. His sister has been the purring machine, but he's been more selective about when and where and with whom he will purr. I guess being rescued will change that.
Softie came into the kitchen and I set Scratchy down so they could sniff each other and he could tell her his tale of woe.
I guess when Bill went up to bed – before I did – he closed the kitchen door and had no idea Scratchy was in there. The weird thing is when I went up, I went around checking doors and windows and never heard a peep from the doorway.
This morning I told Bill what had happened. He tried to pick up Scratchy, but the kitten wanted no part of that. Instead, he trotted over to me.