I'm not sure it didn't just have the effect of making the house colder, but it was worth a try, anyway.
One side effect of this was that we (or at least I) could hear Buddha meowing off and on in the night. Again, not a behavior of cats that haven't grown up around people. (Neither is being litterbox-trained, which Buddha definitely has been.) Cats that grow up in the wild don't generally meow, and when they do they don't talk up a storm about it.
The first time Buddha gave us one of these nocturnal dissertations was just as I was getting ready to turn off the light; laurie_robey was already asleep. After a few minutes of this, I went down and talked to him a bit, which seemed to calm him down. I think the poor old boy is just lonely, and I can't really blame him. We've had him locked up in the garage, after he's spent some unknown amount of time fending for himself in the wild ... not exactly the most social of situations.
Of course, the irony of him being lonely is that he's also a scaredy-cat of rare form -- so when we go in there to keep him company, he just presses himself firmly into the darkest corner and hisses at us if we get within five feet. But then when we leave, he starts mrowling pitiably again.
When he's shaved and bathed (and fixed), maybe we can let him roam the house, we'll see. There are rumors that it'll happen this weekend, if one of the many cat-rescue people we've spoken to actually materializes instead of just being an occasional voice over the phone.
Until then, it's still a cold concrete slab and midnight mrowling, I'm afraid. I feel bad about it, but I still think he's better off here than roaming the streets -- or the gas chamber.