The can of food by the opening seems to have done the trick. Amazingly, the trio of girls looking in the small hole and saying "Neurotic Cat! It's OK! You can come out!" didn't. Let's hope Neurotic Cat holds no grudges for the string of "I think we should get a new cat tomorrow" comments that CG made at dinner (on the deck). If any of your children's schools ever ask you, "hey, do you think it's a good idea if we schedule a field trip to a pet store?" say NO! Since that trip, CG has been saying "I want to get a new kitten so I can show you how I can hold it," "Can we get a dog? please?!? pretty please?!?" and "Look! we can buy a goldfish for FREE!" (waving card for free goldfish that the nice educational people at the for-profit pet shop gave all the schoolchildren on their field trip.) Bah.
But the cat came back, the very next day
The cat came back, we thought we was a goner
The cat came back, he just couldn't stay away