Monday, May 16, 2011

What We Spent Our Tax Return On. Or, Apparently Our Cat Likes Being Outside As Much As I Do

Want to know how to be four hours late for work and blow a chunk of your tax return all at the same time? Then keep reading.

I went for a short run before work on Thursday and came home to a bit of chaos.

"Kevin is stuck in a tree," Bill said as I walked in the door. "I opened the back door to go outside and read and he just bolted and ran up the tree."

Kevin is one of our three cats. Just so you don't keep reading and think that we recently acquired a child that decided to flee and run up a tree.

Anyway, we only have one tree in our back yard. And it is a big one with branches that extend over our roof and the roof of both of our neighbors.

I ran through the house and out the back door and, sure enough, there sat Kevin about 20 feet up, sprawled across a branch. He looked down at me and meowed and meowed while looking pissed that I didn't magically reach up with Go Go Gadget Arms and rescue him.

And then he stood up and jumped from the branch and onto the roof of our house. Bill and I stared at each other, then at Kevin who stared back at us.

He plopped in the gutter looking pathetic.

Our biggest ladder is a step stool that my mother-in-law gave me as a housewarming gift when it became apparent to her that I am too short to reach most of the shelves in our kitchen. Bill went on a hunt for a ladder that could reach the roof while I called work and tried to explain that I would be an hour or so late because Kevin was stuck on the roof. I also walked across the street to the popo station and asked who I could call in the city for help. The cops laughed and laughed. Thanks, cops.

He is a bit hard to spy but if you have hawkeyes
you can see his silly self standing tall and looking around.

Two hours later Bill came back with a ladder. None of our neighbors or local friends had one that would reach the roof so he drove to his parents, getting stuck in crazy traffc along the way.

We set up the ladder and I held it as Bill slowly climbed his way to the roof. Because if the whole thing came crashing down all five feet of me would have been able to save the day. Fortunately he made it up without incident and we thought the ordeal was almost over.

And then something the opposite of magical happened. Bill peered off the roof at me and said something unfun:

"Kevin just ran down an old chimney that is up here and I can't reach him. He's already down about 10 feet."

"What old chimney that is up there? Why is there a random old chimney on our roof? Just reach in and grab him," I said, confident that my spectacular plan would work.

Bill didn't even try to reach him and climbed back down, contemplating what to do next. We called animal control. "Is the animal being abused or neglected?," the woman on the other end of the line asked. "Well, not  yet. He will eventually starve to death in there though. Can someone help us?"


Thank you City of Philadelphia.

My next call was to work telling them that I would be even later. My cat is stuck in a chimney = worst excuse for lateness ever.

Finally we found a Web site for a company specializing in getting wild animals out of houses. Specifically squirrels, raccoons, birds, bats, opossums, skunks, rats and snakes (if there was a snake in our house I think I would just move away and let it keep the house).

"Maybe we can just tell them it is an opossum in our chimney," I offered as Bill dialed the number.

Fortunately they agreed to come out and I thought that Kevin would soon be unstuck so I went to work.

Hours passed and I kept peeking at my cell phone to see if Bill called to tell me that they got the cat out. Finally, I called him. Apparently the wild animal guy (his name was Dan, Dan the Raccoon Man) thought that he'd just come over, open the flue and out the cat would plop.

Except our house is special and the chimney is no longer in use, leading to nowhere in between the walls of our house. Specifically, it ends inside he top of our basement steps. Dan, Dan the Raccoon Man chiseled out a Kevin-sized hole in the wall. The hole was too small to peer into so Bill reached in with a camera and took a few shots to see if they could determine exactly where Kevin was.

I am glad I wasn't home for this part because these
pictures would have made me sad.

 Kevin apparently wasn't completely stuck -- when they'd try to reach in and grab him he'd scoot up the chimney a bit and then scoot back down where they couldn't reach him. They finally jammed a towel above the exit hole so he couldn't get up too high and then squirted him with water until he squeezed out of the hole. Tadaaa! He was out! And pissed! And dirty! And wet! And he was running around the house, leaving muddy cat prints and dirt everywhere.

Four days later Kevin seems mostly ok aside from a scrape on his head. I've been putting topical antibiotics on it and trying to keep it covered. If you need something to laugh at come over and look at Kevin because now he looks like this:



Anonymous said...

This cat certainly managed to get himself and you into a lot of trouble! It's good it all worked out though :-)

Abby said...

Oh my goodness, those pictures take the saga to a whole new level... That's one traumatized cat!

Julie said...

That Kevin sure sounds a lot like my Dave.

I remember when he escaped once and decided to live in a pipe leading into I have no idea where under my old apartment building.

For days I would try to entice him out - leaving cans of tuna opened for him. Every day I would come home from work and the tuna would be gone and I would reach in the hole and he would scratch the hell out of me but would never come out.

One day I looked out the window and saw him frolicking in the leaves and having a blast. I captured him and moved to a new neighborhood where he could become the outdoor cat he had always dreamed of being.

Many years later he got eaten by a coyote and his time with me was over :-(
But...he sure lived a good life while he was here!

Damn cats.

Anonymous said...

I kind of feel like a bad person for laughing through much of this post. Then again, I did feel awfully sad looking at the pics of the stuck cat. So many emotions...