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  1.  
    A few members of my family are away on an island right now. So, for the past few days I have borne much of the responsibility for the animals we keep around the place. We've got some farmy ones: two goats, various chickens, a rabbit. However, in the midst of all this agricultural fervor we have subscribed to a few 'normal' domesticated pets as well. Namely two dogs, three cats, a turtle, and miscellaneous goldfish.

    I came home from working all day on Wednesday, and of course since I was the only one home the poor dogs had been chained up outside for most of the day. So, before I even went in the house I walked over and released them. Whereupon they promptly began to pretend to viciously eat each other. I heard a cat meowing, and glancing around I saw the little black-and-white female, who is very gregarious and follows people around. As my hands and arms were full, I went into the house and deposited some stuff, taking the opportunity to quickly change out of my good pants and blouse into some outdoor clothes. When I went back out the dogs were still romping loudly, and I began to walk the acre, checking on animals and their water supplies. I could still hear a cat meowing, but when I looked at Typhie, the female, she was just hanging like a normal teenage cat.

    I began to try to follow the calls -- I've heard cats that were stuck before, and the sound began to take on more ominous possibilities. Surely no one was stuck under the boat canvas ... No, past that. Oh, no. Not in the camping trailer. What if the vacationers had had occasion to open that trailer, and a cat had snuck in and been locked in? I peered through the windows as best I could, noting the cat-sized hole in the screen of the largest window, and attempted to push the window up from outside the trailer. Nothing doing. Still, though, the sounds weren't quite coming from there. And I would have expected the cat to jump up on the windowsill when I called, if he was so desperate as all that. I trilled. No cat. Following the percieved sound around the side of the trailer, I ran out of yard. The fence was immediately in front of me, but I could still hear the cat. I walked up and down the fence for a moment, trying to pinpoint it more exactly, and searching the branches of the neighbors' trees for some sign of a stranded animal. Nope. The meowing seemed to be emanating from the blank side of their house. Oh, for heaven's sake. What, are the neighbors torturing cats in their attic? And suddenly I remembered.

    These particular neighbors are not well-known to us. Being a typical American family, we see them mowing the lawn every once in a while, and that's about the limit of our interaction. However, I did know, courtesy of a large, blue BFI container in their driveway, that they had recently ripped out their garage. Now, I am half-owner of a large, gray-and-white male cat. Standing on my side of the fence that evening, I recalled the day when I had been in my own garage, heard that exact meow, and opened the attic ladder to find him stuck eight feet above the floor. I gave a sigh of disbelief once again, then buckled down to it.

    The first order of business was to chain up the dogs. I toyed with the idea of leaving them out and about, but I wasn't sure how long I'd be gone or if they'd try to follow me. After hooking them each up, I carefully walked all the way down to the front of the neighbors' fence, around to their driveway, and back up. The last thing I needed to do was trample on their infant lawn when I was fairly certain my cat was up in their attic. Ay.

    I knocked on the front door, and after a couple of interesting minutes hoping that they were actually at home, the door was opened by a 12-or-so-year-old boy, who promptly invited me in and then ran off yelling for his mother. She came to the entryway, and I explained my errand.

    "Hi, I'm your neighbor, and ... Do you have a cat in your attic?"
    "Um, no. I don't think so."
    "Or one in another room of the house?"
    "No, we don't own a cat."
    "Oh. Then it's probably mine. I came home today, and I heard a cat yelling from your attic. Can I get him down?"
    Frank disbelief was quite evident on the mother's face, but by pure force of character I pulled her around to the side of her house with me. Okay, maybe she was curious, too. Standing just below the attic vents, I called.
    "Here, kittykittykitty!"
    "MEOW MEOW MEOW"
    "Did you hear that?"
    She looked even more disbelieving. "Do it again."
    "Here, kittykittykitty!"
    By this time the older son of the family had joined us, as well.
    They agreed that there was a cat up there, but were at a loss to explain how. As the mother told me, the garage had been cleared away for about a week. I wasn't sure how long the cat had been missing -- I don't count them every evening -- but whether he was up there before or after it was torn out was rather a moot point at the moment.
  2.  
    We all trundled around to the opposite side of their house, where the garage had been. Sure enough, there were two ladders leaning up against the wall, and two 6x6 square openings in the space above where a ceiling would have graced any proper structure. The son went in for his coat, and I called from that side of the house. Seconds later, a very pleased-looking gray cat stuck his head out of one of the holes.
    "You idiot!" I called up to him. "You big fat idiot!"
    There was no more disbelief in the mother, but more of an amazed astonishment.
    "Yeah," I said, "He's done this before."

    I pulled one of the ladders out, and by standing on the very last step (not the top, you understand, I learned my ladder lesson last year -- but that's another story) I was able to coax Schahriar to come close enough for me to grasp him by the scruff of the neck and drag His Most Unwilling Majesty out of the neighbors' attic. He's not a little cat, but I managed to keep my balance while descending the ladder. I kept a tight hold on him, and thanked the neighbors profusely. It's not every day I have to rescue one of my animals from their premises, and if it's going to be a habit I'd rather be on good terms. I didn't mention it to them, but I wouldn't have put it past one of our cats to climb the ladder to those two tiny holes in their wall. Here's hoping they've moved those ladders since.

    Schari struggled a bit in my arms, but I managed to contain him until we got to our yard, when he rocketed towards the cat food. Poor thing, starved in the attic! I'd feel sorrier for him, but I could testify that he hadn't lost any weight to speak of. I haven't seen him in the last couple of days. I'll try to keep an eye out for him, but I'm not terribly worried. I expect his pride was wounded.

    Scruff of the neck, indeed!


    Anemone
    • CommentAuthorCrazyThor
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2007
     
    I hope that Cat learnt his leason so you don't have to fetch him from your Neighbors attic again. It would be interesting my cats are both housecats we don't let them out.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDakoru
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2007
     
    I'm not a cat fan, so I would have to say he deserved it, just for being a cat.


    But being a vegetarian and all-around tree hugger, I sympathize for him, and hope he is healthy and well now.

    =-)
  3.  
    The cat did return, he's still hanging around, and he's as fat as ever.

    Anemone
    •  
      CommentAuthorDakoru
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2007
     
    Good stuff, happy to know who you really are now Anemone, =-p


    ~Dak