Last night we had a pretty disturbed sleep.
First of all it had been a really hot day here and neither of us sleep particularly well when it's hot. Normally we don't open the bedroom window in the night if we can help it because our bedroom is at the front of the house and it can be noisy on the street outside. We also don't keep the bedroom door open because our cat William would come in, take up the entire bed and purr all night. However it was just too hot so we relented and opened the window.
Just as things were beginning to cool down we heard an enormous howl from a cat on the street. I remember asking Ian if he thought we would have heard that had the window been shut (i.e., do they normally howl that loud?) and we both agreed that William was indoors and that it couldn't have been him. Ian then drifted pleasantly off to sleep, but I stayed awake for long enough to hear the catflap (ours is incredibly noisy, but it does have the advantage of letting us keep tabs on our puss) followed by a single howl coming from the hall. William had been outside after all and he came back limping. We (or rather he) had a fuss on the landing for several minutes, during which I determined that the limp was his only ailment and that it wasn't too serious and then I returned to bed for some sleep.
William is a very timid cat for a male and doesn't often get into fights (he's even become afraid of pigeons as of late). His only method of defence when a cat comes into the house to steal his food is to fluff up his tail, howl and hope that the human that doesn't sleep deeply (i.e., me) will come to rescue him. Interestingly in the few years we've had him he has only once come home with a scratch on him, but this must be the fourth or fifth time that he's come home with a limp. It makes me wonder what actually happens when he sees another cat. We can only guess that he makes no stance whatsoever, other than to howl, and then proceeds to run away as fast as he can, at which point he manages to pull a muscle in his leg, probably whilst jumping up or down from something in a hurry. He's a bit of a coward really, but we still love him.