Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Antics of Animals

Raisin has felt that J. has not given her enough attention during the recent uproar of renovating, sorting and packing.  She is a demanding creature, very vocal and prone to digestive upsets when things trouble her "delicate" system.  She knows that while I may tell her she doesn't need a snack, needn't stomp across my head just as I'm settling to sleep--J. is an easy mark for her blandishments.  On the occasions when I scold her, she immediately locates J. and tells him, in a loud voice, that she has been abused.

In this mood Raisin simply must be picked up, carted about and consoled.

Pebbles the Horse had to go to the local vet clinic on Monday for her Coggins Test and a health certificate prior to moving out of state.

Pebbles comes to a "whistle" when J. calls her.  Since she is quite greedy, J. took out a handful of grain to occupy her while he fitted on her halter and opened the trailer door.  She has not been trailered in several years, but as you can see she plodded docilely behind J. and stepped into the horse van like a lady.

Chester and Teasel got into mischief Monday evening.  J. tried to get in more time on the renovation after supper, and when he quit for the evening, he didn't notice that there were cats in the bathroom.  He had set the two piece shower stall in place but it isn't anchored down or the piping in.  Shortly after he came downstairs we heard a tremendous CRASH. We charged up the stairs to find Charlie and Jemima sitting beneath the work bench in the bedroom part of the attic.  Both had very big innocent eyes. 
There are no door knobs and latches installed yet, so the door to the bathroom-in-progress is closed by slipping a long screw driver blade through the circle for the knob and then into the corresponding slit in the jamb for the latch.  Wrenching open the door, J. discovered the sections of the shower stall lying across the floor.
"Cats," he said grimly, "See who is missing and we'll know the culprit."
I began to make noises about injured felines, imagining one crushed beneath the shower.  That proved not to be the case and looking around we could see that "someone" had bolted through into the eaves by pushing aside a batt of insulation.
Returning with a flashlight, I recklessly pulled out an entire length of insulation and shone the light into the dark space behind the knee wall.  Two pairs of wide eyes glowed red.  Teasel and Chester. 
They were terrified out of their wits [although Chester is possessed of very few!] and refused to budge.
I wailed that they would be cold and unhappy to spend the night there.
"Serves them right!" said J. heartlessly.
During the course of the evening I made several trips upstairs, peering in and coaxing in my most encouraging tone of voice.  The cats retreated farther into the attic.
At midnight, unable to sleep, I put on slippers and robe, located the heavy flashlight and picked my way upstairs carrying a jar of Raisin's baby food [strained chicken] a spoon and a dish.  Charlie led a troop of cats up the stairway behind me. They hovered with anxious curiosity while I fiddled open the improvised latch and got myself inside the small space, fastening the door against an invasion of cats. Inching around the toppled shower stall, I made a production of opening the jar of chicken and clinking the spoon against the side of the dish.  Then I hauled the insulation batt down, leaned into the frigid depths of the eaves.  The flashlight's beam picked out Teasel and Chester huddled together against the far wall.
"Teasel," I pleaded, "Come to Momma.  Beautiful Teasel---good Teasel--here, kitty, kitty!"  Gripping the edge of a wall stud for support, laying the flashlight on the floor and leaning as far into the chilly space as I could, I waggled my fingers inticingly.  Teasel stepped delicately across the narrow length of a floor joist and stood on her hind legs to butt my hand with her silky head.  I stroked her, murmering encouragements, then grasped her by her scruff and heaved her over the insulation.  She squirmed and protested as I got her under one arm, reopened the door and cast her out into the midst of the feline crew waiting on the landing.
Chester retreated to the far end of the attic, meowed piteously and burrowed into the insulation.
[Chester is the one who has twice gotten outdoors and hidden for more than 24 hours beneath the front porch, refusing to respond to calls or the temptation of food.]
Herding the pride downstairs, glad that I had managed this adventure without tripping over tools, the fallen shower stall or the cats, I picked Teasel up, burying my face in her cold fur. Teasel purred, great rumbles of affection.
Sitting on the floor, I spooned out dollups of strained chicken, told her what a wonderful cat she is, then betook myself back to bed leaving Chester to spend his night in the eaves.
In the morning, Chester still could not be coaxed out.  His sister Jemima went into the eaves, told him he was an old silly and strolled back out. Chester refused to follow. I gathered up cats by the armload, chucked them into the bedroom and shut the door, then went up to again pull aside the insulation batts, letting daylight steam into the eaves, leaving the  bathroom door invitingly open.  It took about two hours before Chester ventured from his place of chilly self-imposed exile. Glancing nervously over his shoulder, he came slinking
down the stairs.

Chester, who is not bright.

Teasel, who is both beautiful and intelligent, resting after her mis-adventure


  1. Cats!! sounds like you'll have to keep a careful eye on Chester-the-not-so-bright so that nothing bad happens to him during the moving process...

  2. Bless those felines lol..had to smile as I read your account ...brought back memories of three misplaced cats in the loft of my old home ...took 3 days to coax them all out.
    Good luck with all the packing ...I wish you well and look forward to each chapter of your adventure.xx

  3. I'm going to save this blog to prove to my husband I'm not the only softie where cats are concerned. Your husband sounds like mine. Lot of bluster about 'darn cats', but a pushover when they come to him for comfort!

  4. What lovely little stories, I do love your cats.
    I was most impressed that Pebbles loaded so obediently, I recall many trials and tribulations, trying to persuade my Irish mare, Blue, to step into the horse box.

  5. I'm impressed with Pebbles too - that trailer has NO ROOF! As for the cats - yup, I'd have been like you, doing a midnight rescue with a big torch and tempting goodies . . .

  6. Cats and loft spaces.....ours cannot wait to rush in through the loft door whenever it is opened. We once had families of mice up there and the cats still live in hope.

    I`m another one very impressed by Pebbles and her calm loading into the trailer. I have a horse trainer friend who earns a fair amount of her living training reluctant horses to load into trailers and lorries!