Day One: cat disappears. He’s pulled this trick before, so you don’t worry too much; just an hour or so’s walk in the evening, calling his name. Tossing and turning in the night, hoping to hear the catflap go, also helps burn those calories.
Day Two: no sign. Walk a couple of miles, calling him. Walk a mile or so posting notes into neighbours’ houses. Walk another couple of miles, with more hills this time, calling him. Lose appetite. Toss and turn.
Day Three: still no sign. Wake at four and go for another walk to call him. Walk three miles or so putting up posters around the town. Swear to fervently god/gods/universe that you’ll give up cake and biscuits, or even alcohol, for a month if he returns safely. Put up more posters. Creep around houses of weekenders and call into their sheds, listening desperately for an answering cry, in case they’ve locked him in and gone away. Break into neighbouring gardens and derelict industrial sites to call him. Walk a few more miles.
Day Four: cat is found. Walk four or five miles round the town taking down posters, in the rain. Resist celebrating his safe return with a cake and/or a drink; remember that last time he went AWOL, you – or to be more exact your wife – broke the pact with the universe, which is probably why he disappeared this time. Consider buying a GPS Cat Location system; regardless of whether it works, you’re not going to be able to afford cake or alcohol for months. So, not only have you lost at least a stone in four days, you’re going to carry on dropping those pounds. Cat, meanwhile, eats himself sick on chicken pieces…