January 26, 2010

The Cat Whisperer

Another cat fell into our basement window well this past weekend.  I say "another" because this is the second time this has happened.

Our basement has no outside door, so I imagine building code dictated that the builder install some kind of egress in the unlikely event that the homes occupants found themselves trapped in the basement by fire or some other catastrophe.  The only problem is that this particular window well is 7 feet below ground level and is half covered by the chimney.  I'm 6 feet tall with weak arms, and Jan is just over 5 feet tall with weak everything.  So I guess rather than be burned alive inside the basement, we could be burned alive outside trapped in the window well.  That's so much better.

Anyway, the first cat that fell in the well was someone's pet, and was rather cute.  We got lucky and found the owner.  He came over and managed to coax the cat into leaping 7 feet in the air into his arms.  I am not shitting you.  This thing didn't even have a running start and leapt that far.  This weekend's unfortunate victim was the ugliest fucking cat I have ever set eyes on.  It looked like some mutant combo of cat, skunk and ferret.  Frankly, when I went down to do the laundry on Saturday, and saw it peering at me through the window, it almost scared the shit out of me.

My first thought was to let it rot there, but then I would have had to look at it for days on end, so that wasn't an option.  So I went outside, took the latticework off the top of the well and stuck a board down at an angle so that the cat could walk up it and get out at it's leisure. The angle was kind of steep, but nothing it couldn't handle if it was motivated to leave.

And then I promptly forgot about it.

Sunday morning, I went down to the basement again to do more laundry.  I thought the cat would have taken the hint and made its way up to freedom.  But no, it still sat there, staring at me and hissing.  When I looked up, I could see that a couple of it's feral cat buddies were peering down at it, perhaps cheering him on.  But then I remembered that they were cats and were too stupid to do anything of the sort.

Did you ever wish something would happen to save you from an unpleasant chore, but the wish never comes true and you have to do the chore anyway?  Well, I had to do something to get that damned thing out of the well.  Jan suggested that I lower a basket down on a rope.  She said the cat would crawl into the basket and I could haul it up.

Yeah, right.

It had to be taken out by force, preferably without me getting my face eaten off.  So, pulling my best MacGyver, I fashioned a makeshift net out of a pole, wire hangers, a pillow case and a half a roll of duct tape and went after it. Fifteen minutes later, after convincing the beast that it was better to crawl into the pillow case rather than have it's butt beat to death by the pole I wielded in my other hand, I hauled it out of the well, carried it to the far end of the yard and dumped it out on the ground.

Where this cat/skunk/ferret hybrid decided to attack me. Luckily, I was well insulated with clothing and well armed with my net pole, so I managed to win the day and the cat retreated from the field of battle, hissing at me.

If this ever happens again ... and it probably will, I'll tackle the problem in an easier way.

I'll just drop an anvil on the damned thing.

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