It's just after 5 a.m. and there's been no sign of Scooter having come home.
What little sleep I got was interrupted more times than I could count by shouting, shrieking, partying students, clearly very much the worse for wear - why do they roam around the streets in that state? - until I got up at 4.15, gritty-eyed and enraged.
I could sense that something was wrong - Millie was on the first floor, growling, with Hamish sitting nearby, wide-eyed. Downstairs, I could hear the cat flap rattling and crashing, and when I went down, found grey tabby Intruder Cat looking thoroughly alarmed in the back kitchen. He racketed and flapped round the room when he saw me, breaking a large pink geranium in the process; the cat flap had been set to allow Scooter in, but nobody out. Intruder Cat had not been able to escape after cheekily letting himself in to eat cat biscuits and to leave an unmistakeable odour of un-neutered tom here and there. I opened the back door, and he fled, but he'll be back; this isn't the first time he's invited himself in for a meal and a little territorial behaviour.
The cat flap is now hanging slightly askew, and unless I can repair it, will need to be replaced - Intruder Cat must have a head like a battering ram.
But where is Scooter? I fear that his sense of direction is so undeveloped, and his propensity to flee so acute, that he's got lost. The dog and I will go out later to call for him; I won't panic (yet), as this has happened so many times before with other cats, albeit none so flighty and dim as Scooter. But I hate the thought of him being lost and frightened, or locked in somewhere.
If I were a drunk student, of course, I could go out now, half-dressed, and shout loudly for him round the streets, regardless of people trying to sleep. But I won't! At least not quite yet....