When I called it quits just before midnight yesterday, our little black Manx cat Rocky had not yet decided to come back from his appointed neighborhood rounds. That's not particularly unusual: Rocky adopted us and the indoors after an earlier life as an outdoors barn cat, and, even three years after his decision to embrace a softer situation, he sometimes stayed out past curfew. Invariably, however, he'd be waiting for me, either deep in the night or, at worst, when I came downstairs to make coffee. But he wasn't there this morning, and his daytime spot in a hollow he'd made on a tarp covering an extension ladder stayed empty for the entire daylight hours. I walked a lot in search of the cat, and discerned that he hadn't gotten hit by a car. But where was he? We were worried and more than a little sad, and were beginning to think grim thoughts about coyotes, Fisher Cats, and old felines simply having heart attacks and strokes. Then, at a little past nine tonight, I noticed a black shape on the kitchen porch mat. The prodigal puss, some 24 hours after disappearing and looking none the worse for the trip, had returned to the fold. "Let all who are hungry come and eat," goes the old Jewish invitation at Passover, but it's good anytime for cats. Rocky was hungry. I gave thanks, and filled the food dish.