Friday, May 09, 2008

The one where I nearly drown a stray cat.

Okay, maybe "drown" is too strong a word. He wasn't really in any danger of drowning. Catching a nasty chill? Yeah, that's a pretty sure bet.

A few days ago, in an effort to keep whatever happened to McBeady from happening to Dolly, I decided to open up the access to underneath my house for her. She's long been in the habit of going for shelter underneath the houses next door and behind me, and while that was fine when those houses were unoccupied (which they have been, quite a bit, off and on), it makes me nervous now that there are people living there with a)children and rowdy friends and b) large dogs, respectively. So I thought I'd let her hang out under mine--what could it hurt? She's healthy and flea-free, and she could take care of the occasional small rodents I see signs of from time to time.

It worked beatifully for a couple of days. She was in heaven, popping in and out like crazy. She didn't leave the yard at all, and seemed to love the extra attention. Then I guess her innate wanderlust just overcame her, and she started roaming a bit again. Okay, fine. She'll still have a safe place to hid in my yard if she needs.

Then I went out the next morning to find a little black head peeking out from under the house. I got excited for a moment, but wasn't McBeady returned home. It was a completely unknown long-haired black cat, one I'd never seen before. WHERE THE HELL DID HE COME FROM? How did he KNOW, after only a couple of days, that there was a hidey-hole in my backyard? There are houses all over this block with uncovered openings for him to hide in--how did he land in mine? I thought maybe Dolly had brought him home (the little slut), but no--she jumped into the yard, saw him, and instantly swelled to twice her size and ran away, not to return until the interloper was gone. He wouldn't let me too close, but he wasn't completely wild, either, and I eventually managed to lure him out with some canned food, far enough away for me to lunge and cover the opening, and he ran off immediately. Okay, problem solved, right?

Except not, because I am an idiot. I waited a few days, saw no further sign of him or any cat other than Dolly, and decided to uncover the opening again, as we were having storms off and on, and I hated the thought of her caught outside somewhere.

And everything was fine, until I went outside Wednesday morning, and there he was again. WHY? I don't leave food out any more (the birds were eating it all)--I put it out only when Dolly is standing there in front of me--so what was he seeking? WHY MY HOUSE? It was raining cats and dogs all day (maybe THAT'S where he came from), so I decided to wait until after work, when the rain would hopefully be gone, and I could lure him out again.

This time I went straight for the big gun. I pulled the large live trap out of my garage (yes, I also have a small one, and a large wire cage--are these not the normal trappings of life?), baited it with some tasty canned food, and set it just outside the opening.

The little bastard went in and out of that trap THREE times without tripping it. Damn! How's he doing that? I was running out of time (I was going over to New Guy's to visit with him and the kid), so I decided to set it one more time, and this time I put a board underneath it for more stability, and I set the triggering device right on its edge, hoping it wouldn't flip down on his head and break his neck in the process. Then I left, not bothering to, oh...check the weather report before I did so. "It won't hurt him to sit in the trap for a while." (I had made sure to set it under the eaves, so he'd have some shelter.)

Long story short--another big storm front rolled in suddenly, this one complete with tornados and sirens and the attendent televised hullabaloo, and by the time I got home three hours later, I was crossing my fingers that I hadn't doomed the poor thing to a watery, windblown grave. Well, he wasn't dead, but he was soaking wet and spitting mad, and headed, hissing, for the hills as soon as I opened the trap. I reached down to remove the trap and realized the wire bottom was sitting in about three inches of icy cold water. Poor stray kitty! He must have been absolutely terrified and miserable. I felt awful. And yet...I feel pretty sure he won't be returning to MY house again, so that's good.

Dolly must have been watching his ordeal from very nearby--she showed up mere seconds after I released the intruder, wanting to eat and be petted. And yes, the opening is still covered--Dolly is just going to have to fend for herself, I guess, if she won't keep other cats from taking advantage of my generosity.

My life is just ridiculous, isn't it?

Wait, you're saying...back it up a bit...that parenthetical up there? You finally visited with New Guy and his son?

Okay, yes, yes I did. Why put that in a tiny parenthetical? Why isn't that the main subject of the post? 'Cause I'm trying very hard to wrap my head around the fact that very soon he will be only a parenthetical in my life, and not the big story. I'm trying. With limited success, to be sure, but I'm trying.

And yes, the visit went fine. Son answered the door, and (with a manner that would be most excellent for greeting a pesky Jehovah's Witness-hee) asked who I was and what I wanted. When it was established that I was a friend of Dad's, only there to say hello, he went right back to playing his Xbox with his CD player headphones on, ignoring us completely, and New Guy and I chatted over him.

Since the television was being dedicated solely to Spiderman, New Guy hadn't watched the news, either, so it took us both by surprise when the tornado sirens went off. There were some tense moments when we had to force Son to interrupt his game to sit in the hallway as the storm went over, and it took a while to settle him down after, but soon everyone/everything was fine. I left shortly thereafter to let them get ready for bed. (And I had a possibly drowning cat to check on, of course!)

I would guess we'll do it another time or two before they leave town. And that, as they say, is that. Sigh.

I have this afternoon off from work, and I think I'm actually going to brave the mall and see if anything sparkly catches my eye. It's my patriotic duty, after all.

Have wonderful weekends, everyone!


gorillabuns said...

That is one way to get rid of a stray cat.:)

L Sass said...

What a lot of drama for that pesky stray cat! He won't be back any time soon, I am sure.

Stinkypaw said...

Hopefully (for him) that cat will remember his ordeal and not venture your way anymore...

It's strange for me to read that you have "tornado sirens"... I'm thinking we don't have any type of sirens that I know of... strange... yet interesting!

nancypearlwannabe said...

We don't have tornado sirens, but where I grew up in NH we had sirens in case the nuclear power plant had a meltdown. Thankfully it never went off. I'm glad you survived!

Also, good for you for trying to ease out of New Guy. It must be hard, but you have my respect.

Sauntering Soul said...

I'm glad to hear your visit with New Guy and his son went well and that you are sounding a little more positive about the entire crappy situation.

Oh that poor stray kitty.

Whiskeymarie said...

Poor kitty. My heart breaks a little whenever I hear about strays.

We have tornado sirens here too. They get tested the first Wednesday of every month at 1:00p.m.