Something I've always thought about, but knew would be disastrous to do and stressful for the cat, is go exploring with my cat.
Eventually, fate gave me the perfect opportunity to give it a try, right in my own building. This was possible because of three incidents:
1. In April, a cat burglar got into my neighbour's apartment. The police suspected the burglar got in through my unit, as both of us have private exits out onto the building rooftop for our exclusive use. So if you are in one, you can reasonably get into the other. I was home when the robbery is believed to have happened, so it's entirely possible the burglar looked through my window and saw me inside. Possibly naked.
2. In September, a typhoon brought strong winds that knocked down the metal-and-styrofoam wall separating our respective private rooftops. In this image, you can see from my roof looking over to his roof. The two white things being pinned down are the former fence. During this I discovered that my neighbour had moved out. I also discovered they had left the front door unlocked, meaning anyone could open that door, get onto the roof, then get into my apartment (although it would require breaking windows or picking a lock).
3. A drain backed up on the roof and they decided to do heavy renovations to my side. They wanted to haul supplies through my apartment, disturbing my cats, while my neighbour's sat totally empty. Apparently that unit's owner didn't want to cooperate, and seemed to think the fence between our roofs was still intact. I considered moving my cats to the other unit when the workers were here, or straight up squatting over there for a week. On the day they started, I simply went out onto the roof, went into the empty apartment, and opened the front entrance wide, so when the workers arrived they just went through there and came out on the roof.
4. So now let's start with the exploring. And this is exploring by my definition. It just happens to be adjacent to my home, and I started doing this to protect my interests, both in negotiating the renovations and securing my property. I ran home during lunch to take a bunch of pictures showing the state of both rooftop units. Here you can see my door and my neighbour's door open.
5. I decided to tip off my real estate agent, so I entered to take a couple photos. Buster followed. This unit is about the size of mine, maybe a little smaller. My back is to the wall. Around the corner to the right is the washroom. It's a single-room apartment, no walls. I've always said I have no need for walls, as I live alone with my cats. If I had separate rooms, they'd go in there and make noise to irritate me.
6. Standing in front of the fridge, looking the other direction.
7. A few days later, renovations are underway on the roof, as they've sealed all the cracks. This was not adequate in the first place, which is why it needs repairs now. Fortunately they're just getting started. Also, there's a lot more equipment on the other side.
8. They gave the roof this nice green coat of waterproof paint. I would like it if this is how my roof looks from now on.
9. Then they gave it another coat, making it grey. I'm not sure if it's all done now.
10. My roof is being fixed up, but the neighbour's is not. But the interior is going through renovation. How about going in for a look? This is something I have to do to make sure intruders can't go through and onto my roof.
11. I peeked in a window, and they put walls in. Walls! Now it's a two-bedroom apartment with a separated kitchen area. What good is that?
12. I stepped in, and Buster followed me inside. He really liked coming in here.
13. He was all about exploring everything in here.
13. No fear of that circular saw at all.
14. Yes, I know he's huge. He's American.
15. We escaped and he flopped on the roof. The white material to his right is the rooftop divider that blew down. It may have been helped by my ladder tipping over.
16. Time to come back.
17. I went inside, and gradually noticed he was missing. I came out, found the other door ajar, and Buster inside. I guess I didn't shut it properly, and he managed to pry it open with his paw and go back inside.
18. I brought him out, and he sat outside the door demanding to do more exploring.
19. Next night, I came home and he really wanted to go out on the roof. We went out, and I discovered the other door was locked. But the windows weren't. Buster had no problem with crawling in that way.
20. Time to explore after dark.
21. He really liked this circular saw thing. I hope they leave it unplugged. Wouldn't bet my life on it.
22. Exploring the bathroom, where they removed everything including the toilet.
23. We wanted to leave everything properly locked, so we left the way we came.
24. He was up for more adventure so I put him in the carrier case and climbed up the ladder to the higher roof.
25. The blue light on the tower means the fine dust is under 15 micrograms, which means it's safe to go outside. The other levels are green, then yellow, then red which is 76 micrograms or more. We get those days when China burns a lot of coal.
26. Buster found another door.
27. This leads to a utility room with a water tank as well as a complicated anti-fire system. Sometimes when it gets too cold during winter it malfunctions and makes a horrific pounding sound in my apartment below.
28. Buster ended up covered in some black stuff inside that room.
29. We hung out here a while longer.