I'm still not entirely sure how he made his escape, though my best theory involves a fairly death-defying leap from a second-story window to a none-too-sturdy bush/tree in front of my house. As there are no shattered cat remains around anywhere I assume his Houdini impression was successful and he headed off to have a few pints, hear some fiddle music, chase some tail, and otherwise partake in the local culture. At first I held onto hope that he had found some new hidey-hole inside the house, but when he failed to turn up for breakfast the next morning there was no question about it: the cat was gone.
This was a week ago. He hasn't come back. I've done what I can do - put up signs, placed ads on some missing pet websites, registered his chips with the local SPCA, walked around looking for him myself - so there's not much left but to wait and hope for the best. According to a study conducted last year by the ASPCA, around 74 percent of lost cats are eventually returned to their owners, so the odds are good. But in the meantime the waiting is hard. He's only been gone a week, but it feels like forever.