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Cat In The Wall

by Jean McGuire in Cat Stories, My life
     

Last week I moved out of my apartment and into a house. The last two months have been crazy and I have been moving forward on sheer determination, because any natural energy was used up weeks ago. However, I have made these changes and gone through this stress knowing that I was opening up space in my life for better things.

My cat, Sugar, did not have that same knowledge. From her perspective, all she saw were the bits and pieces that made up her world leaving the space she was familiar with. She became clingy and was at my heels pretty much every minute I was at home.

It had been my intention to bring her over to the new house a few times before the actual move so she could take some time familiarizing herself with the new space. Unfortunately, because there were renovations being done in the new space, I could not follow through with that plan.

So, on moving day, Sugar was imprisoned in a cat carrier as the chaos of moving went on around her. She saw all the furniture get moved out and then she saw me leave with the movers to go to the new place. She was left alone in the almost empty apartment with a friend of mine who was helping me move. When he left, she was out of the carrier, but alone in the apartment.

I rushed back to the apartment to get her as soon as I could after the movers left. At that point she was so relieved I had come back that she did not protest being put back in the carrier and into the car. Sugar usually sings the song of her people every minute she is in the car, but this trip she sat quietly in the carrier for the whole ride to the new house.

I had already set up her new litter box in the new space and I sat her carrier near it and opened the door for her to make her cautious escape. As she explored her new digs, Sugar sniffed at every corner and wall, acclimatizing herself to the house. A couple of times she stood on her hind legs to sniff at a higher spot on a wall. I am assuming that she was smelling the former home of a now extinct rodent.

I went to bed that night with the cat once again sleeping at the foot of my bed. I knew she was still exploring, but she was adjusting fairly well. After a night of exhausted sleep, we woke up in the morning and started on our new routine in our new home. I spent much of the morning trying to remember where I had put things so I could fix our breakfasts and get our day going.

I hadn’t been up too long when I heard a scrambling sound back behind the washer and dryer. I figured it was just Sugar doing more of her exploratory sniffing. Soon, I heard a piteous mewing coming from behind the washer. I went in to see what she had done, but I couldn’t find the cat anywhere. Eventually, I realized she had crawled into the water main access door.

At first, I shrugged my shoulders and figured she’d find her own way out. Until, she quit mewing and moving. After about 20 minutes of silence, when not even jiggling her beloved tub of cat food got a response from her, I became panicked and I just knew that she had caught her collar on a nail and had strangled herself.

Honestly, I would miss the cat tremendously. After a couple of years together we’ve become relatively compatible. However, my biggest irrational fear was that I would have a dead cat in the wall. As worried as I was about the cat, I was even more worried about moving into a new house and having it smell like dead cat. I know that’s not the most compassionate outlook, but I was tired and slightly irrational.

After a teary call to one of my daughters, who offered to come over to help coax the cat out, I eventually heard the tinkle of the cat’s tags again. After about another 20 minutes I heard a plaintive mew and went into the laundry room to find her lounging in the access door. She casually climbed out when she saw me and walked in a circle preparing to go back in the wall. Hollering “Not on my watch!” I closed the door and placed a heavy trash can in front of it so the cat could not get back in while I left to teach my morning classes.

I taught my two yoga classes that morning, went to lunch with my daughter who had offered to come fetch the cat out of the wall, and then I went to run errands. The top item on my list was to get some Velcro strips to seal the door shut from the cat, while keeping it accessible to humans.

When I got home, the cat greeted me. She showed no signs of trauma from either the move or her adventures in the wall. I grabbed the Velcro from my shopping bag and headed into the laundry room to seal the door. Imagine my surprise when I found that the damn cat had moved the trash can and had evidently gone back into the wall to continue her explorations. Damn cat. Really, I mean it, damn cat.

The door is now sporting 3 strips of Velcro to keep it shut and the washer and dryer have been moved so the cat can no longer go exploring behind it. Sugar and I are both settling into our new house and we are both more relaxed than we’ve been in over a month.

I am pleased that Sugar is doing well and I am even more pleased that my guests will not be greeted by the odor of dead cat when they walk in my home. At least not for now. Who knows what other adventures Sugar will be up to in the future. Damn cat.

(Originally posted in March of 2018 on my previous blog site, Jasmine Petals Thoughts.)

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