We finally went looking for our cat this afternoon, since he had been out early this morning and hadn't been home, which is very unusual for him. This is where we found him, two houses down, very high up in a tree. I think he was about 50 feet up. With all the snow on the ground, we could see that a large dog (or a dog with large paws) had been through our yard, and my deductive sleuthing says that the same dog chased him up the tree. The same dog prints were around the tree, plus some lovely yellow snow at the base of the tree. Needless to say, I am rather irritated with all dogs in general right now, and more so with dog owners who are irresponsible. We tried and tried to coax him out of the tree but he was up there fairly high and perched rather precariously. I don't doubt that he would have come down eventually but it's been so cold here and he sounded so pathetic meowing at us that it would have killed me to let him stay up there all night. But the story has a happy ending. My cousin Steven is a firefighter (and it's true, they will no longer come get cats out of trees) but he did know of a guy who rescues cats. We finally got in touch with him, and he came to the rescue with all his tree climbing gear and got Mal down safe!
Here is a closer view, so there is no doubt that the dot is my cat.