Xena came back, right around the time we discovered her litter-mate, Birgitte, was also peeing in the house, if a little more selectively. (Xena simply refused to use a litter pan; Birgitte was in love with Wolfman and so marked his things [leather messenger bag, sweaters, etc.] as her own.) We tossed Birgitte out to live in the suburban wilds with the rest of our brood of ornery felines, and Birgitte disappeared for a couple days just as Xena had. I think these girls must've been roaming the neighborhood, testing the air on their tongues, finding good hunting spots, trees to climb, places to hide for shelter. Since being outside, the two have switched personalities. Xena stays close to home, runs onto either porch to greet us when we step outside, rolls at our feet and offers us her belly. Birgitte, on the other hand, who had been such a sweet girl inside, has become a little wild and skittish. She still calls to us, but slips through out fingers, literally, if we get too grabby. She is no man's cat now.
How much more interesting I find them, how much more affection I have for them, when cats live primarily outdoors. The longer I keep them, the more sure I am that cats are not meant to be pets or friends so much as acquaintances.