Tuesday, May 20, 2008
One Life Down, 8 to Go
Last week I let Shadow out of the house so she and I could pick up the kids from school. She took off after a big orange cat that had been sitting in our driveway. They tore past me and soon the cat was whizzing up a really tall tree. Shadow circled back, and with a running dash, made it about 6 feet up before falling to the ground.
What was easy to climb up, was a challenge to get down, so the cat remained perched in a V in the tree while I picked up the kids from school. I’m not good at gauging distances, but a neighborhood poll had that cat being between 25 and 40 feet off the ground. An hour passed, then two. There were NO lower branches, so a trip down would mean coming straight down the trunk or falling head over heels. The cat was freaked. A neighbor called Animal Control whose party line was: “Let it come down on its own. We don’t see many cat skeletons in trees, so it’s bound to come down eventually.” They didn’t mention if they had seen cat skeletons at the base of any trees.
Three hours passed. The cat’s view down was our yard, where Shadow the Raging Beast lived, and, on the other side of the fence, a busy road at rush hour. I’m sure the cars zooming by didn’t make him or her feel more inclined to risk coming down. I toyed with the idea of calling the fire department but didn’t know if their willingness to rescue cats from trees was just a myth from children’s stories.
Eventually Molly and I took my uneaten dinner, conveniently a plate of tilapia, and placed it under the tree. The cat meowed like crazy as the scent wafted up. We videotaped the cat’s every move. This made me a little nervous. I was torn between wanting to make $10,000 on America’s Funniest Videos and fearing that Molly would be traumatized if the cat went splat. Nothing happened.
After hour 4, I could take it no longer. We called the fire department. I learned a lot about ladder length. They dispatched a truck. Before they got here, a neighbor girl burst into the house yelling, “The cat is down! The cat is down!” The tilapia must have proved tempting, because the cat had stood up, teetered off the branch, and started to fall. It grabbed the tree and shimmied down rear first before running under the shed. Whew! A quick call to cancel the fire truck and our lives returned to normal.
Both kids were a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see an exciting rescue, but we were all glad the cat was safe. We still don’t know whose cat it was, but he/she hasn’t been seen hanging out in our basement window wells since.
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