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Curiosity and Trapped Kitties...........

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Some of these stories put curls in my hair!

Curiosity Trapped the Cat

July 11, 2002
Written by: Erin Harty, Associate Editor

Karina Hubbell knew she was in trouble when the wall started to purr.

She and her husband had just bought a new house in Pasadena, Md., in December of last year. Ms. Hubbell wanted to paint a few of the rooms before moving in, and decided to bring her dog and two cats along to show them the house and have some company, since she’d be alone in the empty house.

One cat, Snuffy, was quite content. The other, aptly named Trouble, was a little nervous. But Ms. Hubbell went about her painting, leaving the cats to amuse themselves.

Unfortunately, Ms. Hubbell hadn’t noticed on the walk-through of the house that there was a hole in an upstairs bedroom closet. Trouble, of course, promptly found the hole and scooted her way inside.

"I didn’t realize this until the wall I was painting—downstairs, in the living room—started to purr," Ms. Hubbell said. "At this point, I calmly put the roller back in the tray, took off my paint-splattered gloves, and proceeded to freak out, wondering how on earth I was going to get my cat out of there."

A tiny hole in the wall or a door left slightly ajar is, to a cat, what Everest is to a human—an obstacle to be overcome, a new frontier to explore. No matter how well hidden, how difficult to slip through, how seemingly unappealing… your cat will invariably find these spaces and deem them just perfect for a nap.

In some cases, the cat’s curiosity can turn deadly, just like the oft-uttered cliché. Cats have climbed inside the inner workings of cars, seeking the warmth from the engine on cold days, only to be accidentally killed when an unsuspecting driver starts up the vehicle. Cats have also met their demise while napping in dryers—owners don’t see them and turn the machines on, and heat or trauma from being "fluffed" can seriously injure or kill their pets.

Part of owning cats is realizing that cats can, and will, go anywhere. Experienced cat owners soon become diligent at checking appliances before turning them on and peeking behind doors before closing them. But despite their best intentions, cats will still end up trapped in places they’re not supposed to be. As long as Kitty survives unscathed, all you can do is laugh.

In Ms. Hubbell’s case, a seemingly desperate situation had a happy ending.

"Fortunately, [my husband] Chris came home and he was much more rational, so he sped to the nearest grocery store to buy treats, catnips, and a feather duster," she said. "One excruciating hour later, we pulled a very dusty but oh-so-pleased-with-herself Trouble out of the hole."

For Anne Harden’s cat Lucky, an encounter with the bowels of a house wasn’t quite as enjoyable.

Lucky—a very large, very orange Maine Coon mix—was quite a character. He’d fetch Q-tips, and enjoyed sleeping in Ms. Harden’s brother’s cowboy hat. His name later became somewhat ironic, as he needed to have an eye removed because of an unknown ailment.

The family’s dog, Spot, had a habit of sleeping over a vent on the floor of their Petersburg, Va., home—the vent covering would sometimes get caught on her hair and be pulled up out of the floor when Spot got up from her nap.

And of course, one day, the adventurous Lucky decided this offered a perfect opportunity to explore.

The family later heard meowing, but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. "We checked all through the house, under the house, in all the closets. No cat," Ms. Harden said. "Finally, when Mom was outside watering her garden, she heard him definitely under the house. When she found the ductwork was clawed through and the vent cover had been pulled up, we figured out what had happened."

Ms. Harden was elected to shimmy into the crawlspace, complete with spiders and cave crickets, and use Lucky’s favorite type of Pounce canned treats to coax him out of the far corner.

"Lucky was quite traumatized by the whole thing and stayed under my bed for days. He came out with lint and pink insulation caught in his usually well-groomed long hair, which upset him even more," Ms. Harden said.

Explorers extraordinaire

Andi Apple, of Great Falls, Va., has gotten quite accustomed to rescuing her thrill-seeking cat, Warg, from various entrapments. "Life with Warg means check it before you close it!" she joked.

Before Ms. Apple and her family knew what an explorer Warg was, they’d leave the dishwasher open on occasion.

"One Saturday afternoon, I'd filled the dishwasher and I had just put the last glass on the top rack. So I pushed it into the washer, filled the soap dispenser, closed the door, and turned it on," she said. "A bit later, as I was walking out of the kitchen, I heard this loud thump, thump coming from the dishwasher. It sounded like something was caught in the sprayer.

"I ran back, yanked open the door and out sauntered a damp Warg, like nothing was wrong. I looked in, and a casserole dish was lying oddly in the bottom rack. I think—but I’m still not sure—that he was sitting on the bottom rack when I closed the door, and when it got too loud for him, he pushed the casserole dish over in his attempt to get out, and it would catch the sprayer as it turned, and it made the noise."

After that, she added, she checked the dishwasher every time, before closing the door—about 50 percent of the time, Warg would be sitting inside.

Once the family realized that Warg wasn’t "all there," Ms. Apple explained, they made sure to check the dryer every time it was opened. No one ever thought to check the washing machine, however. And, you guessed it, Warg eventually decided that would be a perfect place to hide… and then added a spin through the dryer for good measure.

"I tossed a small load of clothes in the washer, added soap, and turned on the water. The washer in this house was very old, and because I'm the impatient type, I’d help fill it with a hose from the laundry tub," Ms. Apple said. "So, I turn on the washer, it begins to fill, I reach over and turn on the laundry tub, and put the hose over the washer. About two minutes later, a very wet Warg explodes out from under the clothes, climbs up my arm, over my shoulder, and disappears.

"I just shriek, since I’m about to have a heart attack—I’d almost drowned my cat. I turn around, look around the laundry room, and don’t see him. I assume he’s taken off for parts unknown to dry off, so I close the dryer, turn it on, and leave. I’m in the next room folding clothes a bit later and I think, ‘I didn’t put any shoes in the dryer!’ I go back, open the [dryer] door, and Warg climbs out—sorta dizzy, and still wet.

"I guess he didn't want to air dry," she joked.

Glynda Snyder, of Lunenburg, Mass., discovered her cat Hootie’s ambitious tendencies when living in an apartment on the third floor of a drafty old Victorian house.

The apartment would get unbearably hot in the summers, so one year, Ms. Snyder’s father stopped by to put in an air conditioner for her while she was at work.

"He opened the window in my bedroom, took off the screen, and set it aside," she said. "As he turned away to lift the air conditioner—unbeknownst to him—my indoor-only, declawed little kitty hopped out onto the 4-inch ledge outside the window. This ledge ran around the entire house, three stories up."

Her father finished installing the air conditioner, sealed up the window and left. When Ms. Snyder came home, her apartment was wonderfully cool… but Hootie was nowhere to be found.

"I checked all the usual places... closet, under the bed, in the shower, in the sofa, kitchen cabinet... that's when I heard a little ‘mew.’ I turned around to see my kitty in the kitchen window, tapping with her paw. ‘Let me in!’ " she said. "I hadn’t removed any of the plastic from the kitchen windows because they had no screens, so I couldn’t open them. I had to break through plastic and wood strapping to get the cat back inside. She had been up there since 11a.m. until I got home from work at 6:30 p.m., with no claws... and quite the head wind!"

The great outdoors

While it seems that indoor cats would have more opportunities to be accidentally locked up, due to their living in close confines with humans, outdoor cats also manage to get themselves in plenty of trouble.

Sharon Sluss, now of Moncure, N.C., used to live in Watertown, N.Y., where the lake effect routinely dumps feet of snow in a day’s time.

She and her husband, Tim, lived on an old farm, and along with the property, they had inherited two barn cats, Murphy and Callie, who lived out in the barn. (Ms. Sluss had Jack Russell terriers, and since the cats weren’t used to dogs, she didn’t want to move them into the house.)

After the first big snowstorm of the year, during which 3 feet of snow fell, Callie, a very plump calico, disappeared.

"Murphy was around as always, but no sign of Callie. We were really afraid that she had been out roaming around and got stranded somewhere a ways from home. We were really worried but we had no idea where to look, so we kept an eye out for her," Ms. Sluss said.

After five days, she and her husband assumed the worst. But on the news one evening, there was a story about a cat that had been buried alive for a week in a snow bank—the cat apparently had been caught up in the deluge from a passing snow plow, but was recovered safely.

"We got to thinking and wondered if Callie could be trapped somewhere as well," Ms. Sluss said.

Murphy and Callie liked to climb under the sun porch where there was a gap in the foundation. In addition to the 3 feet of snow that had fallen, the snow from the driveway had been plowed and thrown up alongside the sun porch, forming a crusty, hard snow bank that completely covered the cats’ entrance.

"My mom heard meowing and said, ‘That’s not a radiator, that’s a cat!’ So my dad popped open the hood, and there was a little pastel calico kitten sitting in there," Ms. Burton said.

"So out we go with a snow shovel and start digging," she said. After 10 to 15 minutes, Mr. Sluss had made a tunnel.

"We get down and peer inside and we hear ‘meow,’ and out walks Callie, just as fat as ever and in fine shape," Ms. Sluss said. "True to form, she makes a beeline to the barn where her food was."

One of Lorree Probert’s childhood memories is a very cold New Year’s Eve when a cat went down the chimney of her family’s farmhouse.

"I can remember being awakened by the thumpings, bumpings, and murmured curses of my father and his best friend as they maneuvered around the chimney on the roof, trying to figure out how to remove the cat from the chimney so they could start a fire," Ms. Probert, who was 6 at the time, said. "Apparently my mother had vetoed their idea of using the fire to ‘smoke out’ the cat."

Young Ms. Probert was full of helpful solutions, most involving ideas taken from Wild Kingdom, but was sent back inside to occupy herself with Christmas ornaments.

"My father and his friend—bundled in snowmobile suits, boots, and heavy gloves—made several more trips to the roof with various pieces of cat-trapping paraphernalia," she said. "Each time they returned sans cat, they were more vociferous in their support of the ‘smoke ‘em out’ solution.

Sometime after midnight, the cat hunters decided to pour water on the cat to flush it out into the middle of the chimney, where they could snag it with a noose and pull it out.

"I never figured out why the cats seemed to be fascinated with our chimney, but the New Year’s cat wasn’t the only feline to leave one of its nine lives somewhere behind the closed flue," Ms. Probert said. "There were a few other adventurous types that wound up being extracted by less-than-dignified means, although none of the weather circumstances were quite so inclement."

Cats and cars

Some cats appear to be the free-wheeling type—cars are their thing.

Jessica McGovern’s cat, Birk, is used to travel. As a kitten, he often traveled with her to work, riding high by sitting on Ms. McGovern’s shoulders and sticking his nose out the window to catch the interesting smells along the way. As an adult, Birk would accompany Ms. McGovern and her Labradors on drives to the beach.

One weekend, some friends invited Ms. McGovern, of Norwell, Mass., to go hiking for the day. The weather was typical for summer in New England—hazy, hot, and humid, with temperatures about 90 degrees and sticky.

Ms. McGovern hopped in the car for the hour drive to the mountains. Near the end of the trip, she heard questioning meowing coming from the backseat, and found her traveling companion emerging from under a sweater, where he’d been sleeping for the past hour.

She pondered her options. She didn’t want to skip the hike to take him home, and it was way too hot to leave him in the car—he’d be able to slip through even the smallest crack in the window. (Or, worse, that he’d roast in the car and die.)

"I decided to let him try hiking, which he attacked with aplomb. Although frequently scurrying into the woods to find critters and catching one, with a few ‘pssssssts,’ he was back on track," she said. "He was definitely the entertainment of the day, with our group and everyone else’s, and he enjoyed eating most of my tuna sandwich at the top of the peak. It wasn’t a strenuous hike, but he slept well that night. So did I!"

Melanie Burton’s cat, Casey, came to her family via an unintended car trip. Ms. Burton’s parents, Pete and Gail Burton, work at a thoroughbred farm in Ocala, Fla., about an hour away from their Bell, Fla., home.

When her parents returned from work one afternoon, they heard a strange meow-like noise coming from her father’s Bronco. Thinking a cat was trapped, they popped the hood and searched—but couldn’t find a thing. Ms. Burton’s father even climbed under the car, but there was no cat. They assumed the noise was coming from the radiator, and it eventually stopped.

Mr. and Mrs. Burton returned to work the next day and came home without incident. That night, they heard the meowing noise again. Thinking one of the family’s cats was trapped somewhere, Ms. Burton went outside to look, but couldn’t figure out where the noise was coming from.

The next day, they were leaving for work again, heading down the driveway. "My mom heard meowing and said, ‘That’s not a radiator, that’s a cat!’ So my dad popped open the hood, and there was a little pastel calico kitten sitting in there," Ms. Burton said. "She was fine, no burns or obvious injuries. We named her Casey, which means brave. I figured that any cat that wanted to stay with us that bad should stay."

Casey apparently has an affinity for cars, since she chose to stay ensconced within the Bronco for two and a half days, despite many chances to leave when the car wasn’t moving. Ms. Burton now keeps her inside, lest she decide to take another ride.
post #2 of 3
I was watching CNN or Fox News last night, and across the bottom of the screen was a blurb about a cat who got behind some drywall. I guess the homeowners were remodeling, and the cat survived for 2 weeks on insects.

Some of those stories were scary, some made me laugh. My cat Faile has been locked in the closet several times. She slips in, and later either starts clawing or howling to get out. Doesn't stop her, though.
post #3 of 3
Here's another story

Cat stranded in tree manages to elude attempts at rescue
By the Mercury News

High in the crown of a palm tree in front of a Los Altos house sits a stranded cat. It's been there, mewing nightly, since Friday.

It's been smothering hot and the tree's owners are worried, but there is a dark joke among pet rescuers: You never find a cat skeleton in a tree.

Sooner or later, hunger overcomes fear and the skittish creatures leap to safety.

Tell that to Kathy McGovern and Wes Mitchell, the owners of the house, who have been trying to rescue the cat.

``If it were winter time, we might let it stay,'' Kathy McGovern said. ``But it's been 90 degrees, 100 degrees.''

The couple have been resourceful -- if unsuccessful -- in trying to coax the cat down. They sprayed the tree with a hose. Got out the ladder. Opened a can of tuna. (The tuna was gone the next morning, but the cat was still in the palm.)

This morning, landscapers will arrive with a cherry picker-like contraption and try to scoop out the cat. It will cost the couple at least $350, and it's not even their cat. After canvassing the neighborhood, they still can't find the owner.
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