How about if I tell you a cat story?
Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in this blog post.
On Thursday, I started getting texts from the three gift shops. They were sending out the SOS. Everybody had received big Christmas orders from UPS and the boxes were stacked high. About seventy boxes at each location. Yes, that's a seven and a zero. Cardboard mountains that needed to be conquered. So, I'd decided I'd make the rounds, helping them get a handle on the overwhelming situation. I headed out to the first store and, on the way, made a stop by McAlister's to get food for the troops. I knew it was going to be a late night.
I got out at the restaurant to pick up the order and I heard a "meow" but I didn't think much about it. I went in and came back out with the food and I heard another "meow". Well, I knew that this particular McAlister's had a stray cat that liked to hang around the outdoor eating area and so, again, I just assumed he was close by.
I got back in the car and headed to the store which was about a 20 mile trip and, when I got out there, I heard the "meow" again. "Oh, shoot," I realized, "there is a cat somewhere in this car!"
So, let me just stop here and insert some information. I'm not a cat person. I'm a dog kind of girl. For the most part, there are two kinds of people in the world....the cat people and the dog people. I am the latter. The dog people are a little freaked out by cats. It's not that we wish cats any harm. They just sort of give us the creeps with their claws and sinister eyes and menacing strut.....and, well, the way they look at you as if you are a complete idiot.
So, now that you have that background information, we'll get back to the story.
I listened for the distressed "meows" and tried to determine where they were coming from. I popped the hood and looked around and all I could see was a black tail sticking out between the whatchamacallit and the thingamajig. I'm quite knowledgeable of all things under the hood, you see. Anyway, I knew exactly who that black tail belonged to. My neighbor's cat! I'd recognize that tail anywhere. I could see that the cat was clearly stuck and I was definitely over my head in the world of cat extraction so I went in the store to get some help.
The pharmacist and one of the pharmacy techs came out to assist me with my feline crisis. The tech, Katie, well, you could tell this wasn't her first rodeo. It was obvious that she had removed a cat or two from the innards of a car in her day as she was unscrewing thingamajigs and pulling out whatchamacallits all while assuring me that she'd put my car back together once the cat was dislodged. Did I mention the smell because if I didn't then this would be a great time to do that. Thursday, being the first day of fall in Mississippi, was a comfy 97 degrees and the cat, in all of its emotional and physical distress, had pooped all up under my hood. Let me tell you, cat poop which has been baking in the combined heat of the Mississippi sun and a Toyota motor, well, that will fortify a dog person's preference to canines. If for no other reason, for their total disinterest in infiltrating one's transmission.
Anyway, Katie's arm finally came out with a cat and, just as I suspected, he was my next door neighbor. I took him and held him as far away from my person as I could because, again, cats give me the creeps. I knew I had to get the cat back to my neighbors' house.....which was 20 miles away. Or did I?....asked my evil twin. Well, yes, of course, I did!
The cat smelled horrendous and, since he'd been sitting in his hot poop, I knew one thing was for sure.....he wasn't getting in my car without some means of confinement. I grabbed a box.....we had 70 of them so that wasn't a problem......and after giving him a quick drink of water and an explanation as to how this was going to hurt me more than it would hurt him, I proceeded to stuff him into the box. I instructed Bonnie, my co-worker, to run some tape over the top of the box while I punctured air holes all around the sides. Well, that worked for about 2 minutes and then.......
He popped his head through and leaned it back in a dramatic fashion which is so typical of a cat as if to say, "I've had just about all that I can take in one day," Well, at least, he and I had that much in common. I gently pushed his head back in the box as I tried not to gag at the smell. So, we got him back in the box and got it all secure. I put him in the back of my Highlander and I cranked up the air conditioner so he'd be nice and comfortable and to keep my nausea at bay. I mean, I just wanted to minimize his and my additional discomfort at this point. I needed to get the cat home.
He meowed and meowed for several miles and, then, it stopped. I thought, "Well, this can mean one of two things....(a)The cat has fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion after this traumatic experience or (b) the cat is dead." That possibility brought up a whole host of pet etiquette questions. How does one return a dead cat to a neighbor? I don't think I'd ever been taught that. I think my Mama failed me there. Do you ring the bell and run? Attach a post-it note to the box saying, "call me." Oh, I prayed the cat was just asleep.
Well, I started talking to the cat in hopes of getting a response. "Hey, Kitty Kitty." I didn't even really know how to talk to a cat. Still, nothing. Then, I saw a black head peek over my back seat. No, no, no! The poopy cat was free in my car! He slithered over the seat and crawled over the bags and boxes I had back there and he was headed straight for me.
He sat his poopy booty on the console next to me and began to rub his head all over my arm.
"AAaaaahhhhhh! No, kitty. Go away. Shoo." I'm not sure if he was thanking me for saving his stowaway tail or jinxing me with some kind of ominous black cat curse. His singed whiskers were the scars he bore from the 20+ miles he'd spent under my hot hood. I rode the last 5 miles home being rubbed by a cat. Eeeww.
We drove up in his driveway and no one was home. I opened the car door and he couldn't get out fast enough albeit with a few more holes punched on his 9 lives card. I texted his "daddy" and explained why they might notice that their cat had scorched whiskers and was exhibiting symptoms of post traumatic stress. I did some disinfecting and threw away the box and, upon inspection, I saw that he'd executed his escape by enlarging one of the air holes until it was about the size of a softball. I don't know what he used......maybe a file from a cake or my oil dipstick or something. I don't know. But, that explained his silence. He was busy.
I headed back to work with the smell of charred cat poop still stuck to the inside of my nostrils......and a life or two poorer myself.
The moral of this story is......well, I don't know the moral of this story. But, maybe it got your mind off of politics for a few minutes.
Y'all have a good day, cat and dog lovers alike.