The Thing With Cats

by Lori Dwyer on October 24, 2012 · 13 comments

I really should know better than to make bold, sweeping statements like “It’s been a bad week. The next one has to be better.” You’d think, with karma and broken mirror–type–surfaces kicking my existential arse, I would know better already.

Clearly not.

Remember George the cat? He had something of a misadventure on Monday night. So far he’s alive but not well at all– fevered, shaking, sooky. Weirdly, it’s very much like having a tiny baby with a heavy cold.

Allow me to explain.

I was actually organized enough to be ready to crawl (thankfully) into bed by midnight on Monday night– that’s something of a small miracle considering lately it’s been more like one am, sometimes two. George the cat is only about twelve weeks old and has the very devil in him– the last four weeks his soul mission has been rocketing toward the font or back door the moment it’s opened, hoping to streak past the ankles of unsuspecting visitors who don’t heed my cry of “Ahhhh!! Close the door! Cat!” with quite enough urgency.

Sometimes, he succeeds.

I only have one pair of hands, hey. Two kids, two cats, a whole life full of things to juggle… Sometimes balls get dropped. Or kittens, as the case may be.

Anyway. Late Monday afternoon, George the Houdini Cat did the bolt via the back door and ended up in the back garden. Minutes later I heard one of those awful, blood curdling cat fight screeches, and big ruffled orange tomcat came bolting out if the bushes.

No sign of George.

Stupid freaking cat.

I didn’t mention anything at all to the kidlets– no point, really– just called out for George occasionally, more and more as the sun went down; and sat with the sinking, concrete feeling deep in my guts that we’d lost another pet, that they were going to have deal with shit all over again.

I’m sure he thinks it’s a sunbed.

One last time, just on midnight, shaking a box of dry cat food and wrapped against the spring chill of the TinyTrainTown air, I leaned over the back balcony into the darkness and called, high pitched but halfheartedly “Georgie!! Puss puss puss puss puss!! Georgie Peorgie!! Dinnnnnner time!!”

And I heard, in response, a tiny “Mew! Mew! Mew!”

I’m not sure if I’m relieved the cat’s alive; or just pissed off because I was seriously looking forward to crawling into bed. Either way, the cat and I begin to play ’Marco!’ ’Polo!’, pausing for a time–out while I jogged back inside and grabbed a mushroom lamp to serve as a torch.


“Mew! Mew!” He sounds so pitiful that, for a few moments there, I’m not even pissed.

Until I realize he’s stuck twenty feet up a thirty foot high gum tree at the very back of the TinyTrainTown backyard, only a metre or two from the fence that separates our yard from next door’s three large dogs. While well trained and well behaved, they’d rip a tiny kitten to shreds, regardless.

“Oh for pity’s sake…” I murmur under my breath. “This is ridiculous.”

You can ’tsk tsk’ me at will, but… I don’t own a ladder. I’ve been meaning to buy one for quite a while now. It’s on the to–do list. I know- idiot. A ladder is one of those things that you can never just pop out to the shops and buy when you really need one. When you really need a ladder, the shops are always closed.

And that’s how I find myself, at almost two am, standing on top of milk crate that’s perched precariously on a garden chair, eight foot garden rake extended into the tree branches above me, lamp tucked beneath my chin, in my pajamas, still quite literally cat calling while the dogs bark and growl and scratch on the other side of the fence.


Poor cat. I was having flashbacks to those cartoons where Bugs Bunny is trapped on a tree branch high above a boiling, blistering lake of snapping, hand drawn alligators.

The flashbacks– and any sympathy I have for the cat– disappear thirty seconds later when a light suddenly comes on and out wanders my neighbor, in the shearers singlet and footy shorts that served as his own set of pj’s.

“Erm… Hi.” I say, one arm still wrapped firmly around the tree lest my shaky foot support give way. “You wouldn’t have a ladder, by any chance…?”

Three cheers for my neighbor who, after he’d woken up a bit and, I think, figured out I wasn’t actually climbing a tree in his yard; was quite helpful and procured much-needed ladder. Which, of course, I only got half way up before George the cat came clambering down, face first, my only reward for attempting to grab him two long, infected cat slashes down my thumb and ring finger.

“F*ck it, f*ck it, f*ck it, f*ck you cat!!”

I thank my neighbor, scoop up the kitten, scolding him gently in a shaky voice, the way you would a small child who’s scared the wits out of you by running off in a crowded supermarket.

It’s only once I get him inside, pop him down on the ground, that I notice his limp, his poor little mangled front paw, the leg swollen and jarred, dark blood crusted on his fur.

I call my mum. Call the vet. Cry.

It seems this week isn’t going to be much better than the last one, after all.


So far, George is recovering from a bad tom-cat bite, has not cost me a fortune in vet’s bills, and should be OK.

Fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Baz October 31, 2012 at 11:26 am

Poor George. You didn't happen to get him from free from the TinyTrainTown vet did you? He looks spookily like the kitten that we got from there a few weeks ago. Our little munchkin Floyd is constantly attempting to get out but we have a few local cats patrolling the area, even attempting to attack through glass doors and windows :(


Anonymous October 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

My cat once spent a night and half a day in the linen cupboard after he snuck in once while I was getting sheets. Heard a pitiful meow the next day about 1 pm. Fat black hairy cat had had fun with all my white sheets haha


Sharon @ Funken Wagnel October 26, 2012 at 10:51 am

Bloody cats! We have two, and when we moved here, our big cat found out he could get out via a tiny door on the side of the bathtub (don't ask!) and under the house. We've managed to bolt it shut, but not before he hit the town one too many times.

I hope you cat is all better soon.


Anonymous October 25, 2012 at 12:46 am

You really have the most abominable luck. Did you break a mirror or something? Smudge stick your house, turn around in a circle three times and spit, throw some salt over your left shoulder, put your pants on left leg first, sleep with your head towards the door, put spiders out of the house instead of killing them, grow some ivy on the side of the TTH, and by all means– procure a St. Francis medal.

Seriously though, Good luck to little George. I'm pulling for him. I'm also sort of secretly hoping that Mr. Tree turns back up. Perhaps someone took him in thinking he was a stray?


Anonymous October 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Oh, that just sucks. I'm so glad George has at least been rescued and I'll definitely be sending good thoughts his way in hopes for a full recovery. HUG!!!

– Crystal


Trisha October 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Awww. I really hope that George gets better soon. We also have had our share of cat adventures. One day, a long long time ago, I got back home from work and to hear our Maine Coon mongrel meowing and meowing. But despite making a tour of the entire house I could not find the bugger. Eventually, I trace the source of his cries to the spare room, which was one of the first places that I had checked, but no sign of the cat, until I remember that he enjoys sleeping on the top of the cupboard, and even though I have checked there and there was no sign of the cat. Until it dawns on me that there is a space between the cupboards (those out of a kit kind) and the wall. So, cat found, great. Except how do you get the creature out of the space which is 2 meters deep and about 15 cm wide? Answer with difficulty. Finally, after lots of comical attempts, including trying to convince the creature to grab hold of a towel, my husband gets home. And from there we managed to disassemble the cupboard enough to rescue the poor creature. He went up on top of the cupboard (which had been his previous favourite spot) once again. I think to prove to himself that he was not scared.


Kaz October 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm

sending you big squishy boobie hugs (18week old breasting feeding boobs are the bomb!!!) xxx Kaz, hope things pick up for you soon xxx


Lyndel October 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Have to giggle at you and George playing Marco Polo.Hours of family fun!!


Anonymous October 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Oh man,what a week Lori!
Good wishes and healing vibes to you and Georgie.

Two cats? Did you end up finding Mr Tree or have I missed a post somewhere?



Spagsy October 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Did you buy a ladder yet?


Eccentricess October 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

The laptop pictures is adorable and explains exactly why you went through all of that to keep George Kitten alive and healthy. I so hope he recovers well and grows up to be a much more cautious and slightly less curious George.


Psych Babbler October 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

Oh the poor bub! Hope he gets well soon…sending a lot of love his way and really hoping your week gets better. He looks gorgeous by the way. And my cats love my laptop too!

I live in an apartment and have 2 cats…have to be very careful they don't get out. I used to let them go out in the balcony with me supervising them but then one of mine almost jumped over and gave me a heart attack. Since then, there's no balcony adventures either. Mine took turns falling sick in this last year. And one of them seems to have a lot of anxiety. Sigh.

Reply October 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

I'm glad George is okay-ish! Oh man, I've been there – outside in some ridiculous pose with a torch clamped between my teeth, going after the cat as the neighbors look on and politely (but with that 'it's just the crazy cat woman next door' look in their eyes) ask me what on earth am I doing?

Bloody cats! I've had mine for 12 years and she's my best little friend, but holy shit has she put me through some utterly ridiculous adventures. Like the time she got stuck in the roof for five days. Or the time she fell into a busted sewerage pipe and got covered with muck that only later (once she and I had wrangled her clean) revealed a huge tear in her hindquarters that required expensive surgery and lots of pills. Or her cat anxiety that requires medication (she is MY cat after all, it's only natural she takes after me.) Or her absolute intolerance of other cats that leads to fights, then abscesses and more bloody surgery. Or even just her nightly bloodlust for my bare toes.

Still, I love her a bunch- all the annoying stuff aside, she's been a great little companion my entire adult life.


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