Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Prison Break

The unthinkable happened.

On the softest of late summer Saturdays, on a day so sweet and fragrant that you cannot imagine something bad in the forecast, I heard Seth calling from the front yard. He sounded scared: “THE CATS ARE OUT!!!!” 

I leapt to my feet and running toward him, found myself moving faster than when, at a recent wedding, there had been last call for cake at the buffet. I was but a streak of light.

It appeared he’d come inside from a nap on the deck and left the screen open. Who, in a household regulated by the needs of five furry dependant beings, does such a thing? Especially since my mantra, repeated in an ominous hum to him and all who enter this house every ten minutes for the past two decades, is simple—“Whatever you do, do not let the cats out.” 

Maybe this is easier than I thought it would be....
None of my cats has ever faced a car, a coyote or, worst of all, someone grabbing cats for torture and captivity at a testing lab. “WHO’S OUT???” I shouted, bracing myself for the answer.

We have three old and infirm cats…Fritzi will be soon be 20. An eccentric  geriatric, she is stone deaf and leaves her little fleece “donut” only to use the box, have a bite or, for some reason known only to the feline gods, stand up and bellow so loudly that she can be heard as far as the mailbox outside….or, possibly, Jupiter.  She does this roughly every half hour around the clock, waking us through the night with her volume.

The other seniors, at 17, are siblings. Total wrecks, one is so arthritic you can hear her legs snap and pop as she unfolds them to creak down the hall to illegally poop in my shower. These two -- slow movers like me -- would be easily caught even if we all broke out at once.  In truth, I have tried, several times, to run for the hills...mostly when it’s time to perform certain domestic duties including stultifying dishwasher emptying rituals  or, even worse, putting away the groceries . Seth has easily out run me, dragging me inside to resume my work.

But I also have two young cats. Quick and curious, my fears were focused on Buzzy and Tito. Seth’s face said it all--it was them.  I have a hit man divorce lawyer on speed dial for this specific reason. I thought murderous thoughts as I saw my husband searching among the pachysandra.

Tito was left behind by Charlie who heart-brokenly dropped him off when relocating for a job. It’s like when you babysit for someone else’s kids---if a serious emergency occurs, God forbid, who will you save? 

You want to grab yours first but are responsible for someone else’s most precious possessions.  This is why my fearful mother – who, long ago, passed me the mantle of Supreme Worrier of the Universe  -- never allowed me to attend a sleep over. She feared that if one of my friend’s apartment buildings became engulfed in flames, I would be left to die. I still remember her firmly saying as I pleaded, “You play together all day, sleep at home.”  In other words, I had to save Tito first. But that left Buzzy, my hairball-hocking pride and joy. Anything bad happening to him is unthinkable.

Luckily, there exists a product to which my cats are hopelessly addicted. Friskies Party Mix sounds light hearted enough but it’s as addictive as crack and I am my cats’ pusher.  Once, in the past, when Buzzy got out, we lured him back with the shake-crinkle-shake of the treats bag.  

Would it work again??

Stumbling to retrieve the pouch from the cabinet, I ran back outside and tossed it to Seth who began the crinkle-shake routine. 

The cats, who now could be seen sniffing blades of grass and, for the record, appearing very happy, looked up and bounded over to Seth who grabbed them and ran into the house where, upon release, collapsed.  I, in an uncharacteristic moment of mercy, decided to spare his life….this time.

There was much celebratory hugging and under-the-chin scratching but then the lectures began as I questioned why, in a dangerous world of speeding teens, predatory beasts and Cover Girl Cosmetics would they throw caution to the wind?

As for the treats, I've secretly wanted to pop a small handful myself to see if this phenomenon works on humans but am afraid to
lest I, too, become an addict.

Seth, whose punishment has yet to be determined, would surely use this technique next time I flee the dishwasher. I’m just grateful it worked today.

Buzzy and Friends

1 comment:

  1. I was on the edge of my seat!! I hope Buzzy wasn't running away to look for me because I didn't show up. Nah I couldn't be that egotistical. Glad they are back in the 'pen'.