It’s Always Something, Isn’t It?

December 23rd, 2009

I know that children are supposed to give your life purpose, but these cats are taking years off of my life, I swear.

I have this kind of karma with cats. My previous kitty, Milla, whipped through several of her lives quite quickly in the 11 years I knew her.

  • There was the time when she face-planted out my second story window in Oakland, landing sinuses-first on concrete and crawling bloodily up the stairs to the front door, where I found her, near-lifeless and whimpering, the next morning. Thanks, beautiful French windows.
  • There was the time she got hit by a car (a car!) in D.C. and disappeared for days, staggering back with a broken hip and broken spirit.
  • And there was the time when I had to give her parasite medication (gross) and she OD’ed during the night and heaved dramatically around the apartment until I was near to having a nervous breakdown.

But nothing compares to my new dynamic duo, Luka and Budapest. Between the two of them, there have been more tree climbing debacles in the last two weeks alone than I’m pretty sure most cats endure in a lifetime. They were indoor cats until a month ago. I had the brilliant idea that I would liberate their spirits by moving them to the country and letting them roam free. I didn’t count on their fetish for high places being a disaster-magnet.

In the last two weeks, I have spent a cumulative maybe 15 hours of my life trying to coax them out of trees.

The first three times, things (eventually) went swimmingly.They tired of the tree thing, and with the help of my very brave rebellion against vertigo, I was able to meet them halfway and get them down and/or they figured it out on their own.

Yesterday, unfortunately, Buda decided to trump my skillz and outdo herself.I let her outside for a few hours, and she disappeared. I found her a few houses down, crying and pleading from a good forty feet up a tree.How did she get up the tree? Presumably she ran straight up it like a spider monkey, because there were no other branches under the one she sat perched precariously on, crying, helpless, looking at me imploringly.

A lot of my friends have given me the advice to just “leave the cat up the tree” and let it come down eventually. The humane society assured me that she would “probably” make her way down in 24 to 48 hours.

24 to 48 hours? And until then, I’m supposed to camp out under the tree in a sleeping bag and headlamp and read a book? We have raccoons and coyotes in this neighborhood, and apparently some very angry big black birds who were NOT pleased that Budapest was in their tree. It was starting to sound like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and something had to be done.

So, with the help of my extremely lovely neighbors Neil and Karen—who I know think I am a whackjob cat lady, but who were so very kind and entertaining during the ordeal—we called an emergency arborist.

Yes, an emergency arborist. Or, as I like to call him, Mexican Spiderman. M.S. scaled the tree in a harness in about two seconds flat, manhandled my feral monster into a box, and hoisted her down. She never even knew what happened. He was truly heroic, and I had to resist the impulse to hug him.

$75 dollars and ten years off my life later, I have to wonder what is going on with this whole cat-up-a-tree epidemic.

Is it God’s way of saying, “Really? You wanted children? You can barely handle pets.”


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