yet another cat disaster
Wednesday, June 11 2014
location: Elka Park Resort, Greene County, New York
At some point this morning I heard rain falling outside, so I went out to the car to put up the windows. This required starting it, so I heard a minute or so of WAMC broadcasting the stunning news that noted douchebag congressman and all-around horrible human Eric Cantor had just suffered a stunning defeat in his primary in the 7th district of Virginia. He'd lost to an even wilder and crazier Tea Party Republican, but everything about the upset was unprecedented. Never before had a House Majority Leader lost a primary, and people were scratching their heads about how a challenger who had been 40 points behind in the polls had somehow roared ahead and defeated Cantor by 11 points.
I went back to bed (with Ramona providing a welcomed source of heat under the blankets) only to be roused later by Aaron, who said Gretchen had sent an urgent text to Jessika's phone telling me to call her immediately. So I did. I was fearing that something horrible had happened to Eleanor, but instead the news was about the new cats. This morning Gretchen had gone into the upstairs bathroom to check on them and seen the three-legger in the cardboard box. But the big fat cat was nowhere to be found. Then she noticed that the screen had been removed from the bathroom window. Evidently he'd somehow lifted out that screen, gone out on a little roof over the front door, and then jumped down to the ground (eight feet away) and escaped. Getting that screen out of the window would have required him to lift it up while pulling it out, a difficult procedure for a creature without a sound understanding of the materials involved. Having just heard all this, there was no way I could have a leisurely breakfast of vegan BLTs with Jessika and Aaron, so I grabbed my stuff (inevitably forgetting a few things), said goodbye to Jessika, and drove directly home. It was foggy and beautiful on Platte Clove Road, and I drove extra carefully on that stretch because my thinking and logic capabilities were a bit impaired due to hangover.
After being stopped for a bit longer than expected by some strange roadside bulldozering happening near the north end of Dug Hill Road, I made it home. As I rolled into the driveway, Gretchen came out to the car to announce that things were "much worse" than they'd been when she'd last talked to me. "I killed the other one as well!" she said. What? Had she accidentally pushed the three legger through the bandsaw? Gretchen was, of course, just being melodramatic. She'd tried to attract the big fat orange cat by carrying the little three legger around in a cat carrier, but when she'd briefly opened that carrier to give her some wet food, that little cat had taken the opportunity to bolt out of the cage, run out past the woodshed, down the slope, across a bench in the landscape, and then disappear eastward down the escarpment. So now not only had the big fat orange cat evaporated, but the three legger had headed out into the woods. Being three-legged in that big scary forest, without the ability to climb trees, catch food, or defend herself, I could see why Gretchen had said that she'd been "killed."
Not knowing what else to do, I immediately went down to the bottom of gorge that runs between us and our downhill neighbors (the bottom of the escarpment where the three-legger had last been seen) and called for her. Rain was falling so I couldn't hear very far if she was responding. But it seemed doubtful she would. Later I returned with a ceramic bowl and a spoon so I could make clinky food preparation noises, something I'd noticed her being alert to a few days before. But of course that did no good either.
Gretchen drove off to borrow a pair of mid-sized live animal traps from a ubiquitous Woodstock vegan activist and we immediately set one in our garage (where, at least initially, it seemed likely the big fat cat was hiding). As for the other trap, we set that one up beneath a tarp just downhill from the southwesternmost outbuilding of our downhill neighbors' compound. We also searched their outbuildings as best we could (one of them was inside the house and not responding to our knocking because of a loud vacuum cleaner being operated by a cleaning service). Looking inside Crazy Dave's cabin (a small house rented by our downhill neighbors to a man with mental challenges and the social worker who married him, along with two Australian Shepherds), Gretchen remarked that it looked "just like Muellers' Mountain." In other words, it contained a disorganized combination of useless hoarded items and filth.
After setting those traps, there wasn't much else we could do. We both were in a funk, and spent the rest of the day doing almost nothing. It was not a good day for me to have a hangover, but even if I hadn't had one, it would have been difficult for me to do the mundane bullshit of every day existence. We kept asking ourselves how this latest cat disaster could have befallen us. Who could have predicted a cat could remove a screen from a window and escape via a roof? And why did it have to happen after so many other cat disasters (some of which, admittedly, our negligence had contributed to)? One of the many anguished observations Gretchen made was about how we'd made fun of the people whom we'd adopted these cats from, yet they'd managed to keep them alive for years and we couldn't manage to take care of them for more than a week.
Eventually, though, I managed to salvage a large (120 pound) load of firewood from the nearby forest west of the Farm Road.
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