Thursday, April 12, 2007

Believe it or Not

So here was this cat stuck somewhere inside the house in places only she could get to. And here was I like an idiot having let her get in there and now not having the faintest clue on how to get her out.

I've got a pretty active imagination as you may be able to tell and I envisioned sneaking a fiber optic camera into the crawl spaces of the house. This would be equipped with a night vision scope so that I could find the little critter wherever she might be.

Right. First of all, I haven't the tools to get a '91 pickup truck running. Where am I going to get a fiber optic camera? Bond R Us? And a night vision scope? So lets suspend reality and assume I put all that together. What happens when I find the cat? Is there an attachment that would tap her on her little kitty shoulder and ask her politely to come to the nearest human accessible entry port? Assuming we had all that and all that happened as planned, she's still a cat.

She'd politely decline just to be contrary.

I got the next closest thing I had to a fiber optic camera. A step stool and fist. I figured somehow that if I got on the stool and rapped gently on the ceiling I'd find the place she was hiding between the first and second floors. The hollow rap of fist on drywall would occasionally raise its pitch to a more muffled thump of fist on drywall nailed to floor joist. Then, if I persisted, I would hear the distinct "phfnumph" of fist on drywall on kitty fur. There she would be. I would then gently rap, annoying her with the noise and continue rapping and annoying until she got up and came to the opening she had crawled down in just for a little relief from all that noise. Then I would get her out.

Two things here: One, I must have been feverish. Two, if this is the best an developed cranium can do against a cat, lets just give up and give the planet back to the animals.

I rapped for about five minutes until I concluded how stupid this whole exercise really was. Aparently I was inspired at the moment to spend just a little more time atop the food chain.

Ripley played her part at the cessation of my rapping by conveniently clawing. Yep! There she was, the exercise was not in vain and she led me to once again believe that I earned the place on the pecking order of the planet when in fact I had probably stumbled there on my opposable thumbs. Never mind. I had a general area I knew she was in. All I had to do now was...

Get through drywall.

How does one get through drywall? Why, with a crowbar of course. And so it was that I hit upon drywall with crowbar and hammer until a hole large enough for my head to fit through existed. At which time I thrust my head through into the crawlspace. Ok, came back and opened the hole up a little more to allow a flashlight in. At that last second, I had visions of Ripley being on the other side of the hole with sharpened claws waiting for a good scratch at the idiot doing all that knocking on the wall.

Fortunately she was curled up in a corner of the crawlspace, scared out of her wits. With a crowbar bashing a hole in what she once thought a solid floor, I can't imagine why.

So I had found the cat, there was an opening for me to tuck food and water into, there was a little light and air circulation and all I had to do now was get used to having a pet that I never saw that lived somewhere in the recesses of my house. I should have adopted rodents.

Mornings were a ritual where, in t shirt and shorts at five thirty, a.m. I ascended an eight foot aluminum ladder (that got really cold in January) with cat food and water to place in the ceiling. I'm glad the neighbors keep an eye out for me in only the loosest sense. But I found that if you repeat a stupid pattern often enough, things start to work out. Look at county government for a working example of that principle.

Ripley got curious once she figured out that the head always cooed at her and then left nice food to eat. She'd stand by the hole in the ceiling waiting for breakfast and dinner, disappear as I ascended the ladder and then re appear to eat and then seemingly to taunt me. She got friendlier and friendlier as I kept feeding her over three weeks. It occurred to me that I had better get her out soon or knock a bigger hole in the ceiling. Or tell her to hunch.

Then came the morning of her freedom. I don't know what got her to the access panel she had crawled into and not come back to since but she came back to the panel opening. Maybe I hadn't fed her. Maybe there was something in the shaving cream scent that attracted her. I was of course, shaving. I don't use the stuff for anything else. At least not when I'm alone.

At any rate, I turned from the mirror to see her head poke out of the access opening. She then ducked back in. I needed a stronger draw. Down to the kitchen. Dash and get some cat food in a bowl, ignoring the fact you are naked and your face is covered in lather. Great, a rabid exhibitionist. Just the kind of thing that will get me a sheriff's car ride to city limits and a finger pointed at the horizon. Once again, I'm glad the neighbor's watch out for me in only the loosest sense.

The cat food worked. I drew just enough of Ripley out to grab a hold of her and get her out of the crawlspace. Naturally, she was not too happy about being manhandled out and did her share of claw and tooth flailing as I did my corresponding share of flinching as "Claude Balls" is not the French nom de plume I am after right now.

So the access panel is sealed. Ripley has entered a phase of detente with Boomer, thinks that finger chewing at three am is appropriate and has generally settled into a nice healthy kittenhood. I'm fine as well but one of the spring projects, once school is over, will be do drywall up some illogically placed holes in the ceiling.

Bunny on.


Blogger Ericka said...

LOL - your ripley sounds much like my peanut - not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

glad you managed to retrieve her from her cool kitty cave.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

I hope you can respond; I could not figure out how to email you.
I am trying to build a cat-proof home for chicks, and need to know how small the wire mesh needs to be. I googled hole + cat + fit through and got your blog. Can you please tell me how large the access hole was, through which your cat escaped into the recesses of your home? Please hurry with your answer; I have already lost 2 chicks to the neighbor's. I was using a pen that was 6"x6" at the top and 2"x4" at the bottom; I presume the cat went through the 6x6 squares. I can get panels with 4x4 squares MUCH less expensively than panels with 2x4 squares, but if the 4x4 squares will let cats pass through, then I'll have to spend the money and go with 2x4 mesh. Thanks!
Meg felisnondomesticus at

1:16 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

visited 34 states (68%)