"How's that working for ya?" you might ask. Frankly, it's not. My home-made version of a rabbit cage is a fenced in 2 by 4 foot area with a solid roof. Since rabbits can't climb I have a 1-inch gap between the wire sides and the roof. Needless to say, when I strolled by two hours later, Jimmy was nowhere to be found.
"Jimmy, JIMMY!" I yelled out. In response I heard a faint meow about 100 feet up the hill from me. "Oh CRAP – He's up a tree again!"
I called out again as I begrudgingly trudged back up the hill, gazing at the tree tops to see which one he was in. "JIIIIImmmmmmeeeeeee." Whoa! There he was, right in front of me well-hidden in the tall green grass. I had almost stepped on him!
"Oh Jimmy," I cooed softly as I inched closer, not wanting to startle him or scare him away. He looked at the nearby fence and tree, wondering if he should make the break to jump and climb. He turned his head toward me with such pitifully sad eyes I couldn't help but gather him in my arms and coo over him.
"Oh Jimmy … it's OK, you can come in the house with me."
I set up a nice soft bed for him on a shelf behind my washer, gave him food and water, and then showed him the, OMG…dare I say it? A LITTER BOX IN MY HOUSE – right there, next to my toilet – GAG ME.
I had to erect a baby-gate to keep my four dogs out of MY bathroom, which I know shared with a CAT, to keep them from eating CAT Tootsie Rolls! Geeze…somebody Shoot ME PLEEZE!
It might have been because the dogs were blocking his way … I don't know, but I DO know it didn't take long before my entire cozy little house nestled in the woods reeked of cat urine and poop. Jimmy was relieving himself behind the washer and dryer – double GAG! Since it adjoins the bathroom, I moved Jimmy's bed into MY CLOTHES closet. His bed remains there to this day. That means I have to leave my closet door open at all times, which means everything gets dusty and full of cat hair. "Why," you might ask, "didn't you just return him to the Humane Society?"
I'm a sucker for sorrowful eyes. I couldn't return him to that tiny wretched cage when he was obviously a very affectionate loving cat – who just happens to be afraid of the great outdoors! So much for my mouser (sigh).
The boy is truly a lover of the great INdoors, but I'm not fond of the stench of a cat box. I decided to attach a makeshift cat door in my bathroom window, with a carpeted shelf on the outside where he could either lay in the sun on one side, or use his cat box which I'd placed on the other side. I'm happy to report Jimmy loves his new cat door and it didn't take long for him to "graduate" from the cat box; he now relieves himself outdoors.
I really do abhor the muddy, little paw prints he leaves all over my bathroom while traipsing from his bed to his cat door. But since I tend to be a co-dependent SAP who anticipates, and puts other's desires first, the situation remains that way to this day.
A few weeks after I made my dramatic and perilous climb up the tree to rescue him, Jimmy did catch and kill a tiny little mouse, then brought the dead thing in the house to show me. I was so proud of him and gave him lots of praise. Perhaps too much praise. He's caught a couple more mice and brought them in the house to show me, but has neglected to kill the tiny tots. After the four dogs have their fun chasing the little rodent around -- knocking into furniture and wreaking havoc on the place -- Shadow, our little Golden Retriever, is the one that catches the mice and does the dastardly deed.
Couple weeks ago Jimmy scampered up another tree on the neighboring property. Unfortunately it was during a freezing cold rain storm, and it was an alderwood, not an evergreen tree.
It was late fall, the leaves were all off, the tree itself had thin flimsy branches that were wet and slimy from the rain. No way I could climb the thing even if I wanted to.
Toward evening on the third day -- after three days of hearing him pitifully meowing for me to rescue him -- it started to hail. Oh brother… if I left him, THAT DARN CAT was surely going to freeze to death -- or give me humongous vet bills.
I got my tall extension ladder out of storage -- the giant one on which I'm able to paint the outside of second story houses with -- and tramped, slipped, and skidded down the hillside through the muddy horse pasture, lifted the ladder over the wire fence and placed it down in bushes on the other side.
The horse fence was too high for me to climb over without bending it (and I'd spend hours putting the dang thing up), so I retraced my soggy steps back up the hill, away from the high horse pasture fence, and clambered over a lower fence, then struggled through thick, slimy wild scrub growth until I finally reached the ladder. I then pushed my way through the wet, thick brush, extended the ladder as high as it would go with the top rung straddling the tree (did I mention it was a very narrow tree?). All the while Jimmy dSpaz stayed up there meowing happily I was rescuing him -- and hey, the cat was soaking wet and hail was pouring down ... I had to rescue him, didn't I?
I stood on my tip toes, at the very top of the fully extended ladder (about 30' in the air) steadying my climb by grasping slimy, spindly branches until I could touch Jimmy with my fingertips. He leaned to me a little bit, so I grasped the nap of his neck and tucked him under my arm. Then yes, this fully drenched, portly old spastic lady with MS, descended the wet, mucky ladder with one arm around a very wet cat that felt the need to hold on to me with his claws dug in to my skin.
By the time I got down the darkness of night was upon us. Suddenly, I heard crashing and the sound of branches breaking as something came running in my direction. I gasped and stepped back in fear as I saw a large, brown animal burst through the bushes. I heaved a sigh of relief when I realized it was just a harmless deer bounding past me.
With a start I realized the deer must be fleeing from something, and whatever it was I could still hear crashing through the woods and brush in my direction. "Was it a horse?," I wondered silently. "No. Horses don't chase deer and none are on this side of the fence … coyote?"
The next thought paralyzed me with fear and made me wishing I had a gun. "Cougar?" I faced the noise head on, my only weapon a fully drenched pussy cat.
What ever it was stopped a couple feet in front of me. I eased back, slowly. A tiny blond head popped a happy face through the brush ... it was Shadow! Our little bratty boy dog who likes to dig a hole under the chain link fenced yard so he could be free to roam and play where ever he chose.
Whew, we were safe, I could breathe now.
So after all that -- and having to take another trip back to retrieve the ladder -- how does Jimmy dSpaz repay me? By bringing in more tiny — and very much alive — mice.
In fact, at 3 a.m. that very morning I was rudely awakened by my dogs scrambling around the house, knocking over furniture, while trying to get yet another cute little varmint. I know it was cute because I flipped on the light just as this little gray thing scurried between my legs, followed by a pack of wild dogs.
I retained my balance as they sped through my legs, shook my head and then got back in bed. I'd been through this before. I didn't get anything more than a catnap the rest of the night.
Naturally I was a bit groggy in the morning; as I walked by my kitchen table that darn mouse scurried past me again, a dog lurched toward it, spinning me off-balance in the process, and I knocked a new bottle of Pine-Sol on the floor. The top popped off and half the bottle, with a label that bragged it held 25 percent more, spilled on the floor.
Now, it's been years since I've bought a bottle of Pine-Sol and that's because it smells horrible. However, I was looking for something to clean my tile floors that would both disinfect and rid the grime and smell of muddy, wet dogs and THAT CAT (oh how I love the winters of Western Washington). Pine-Sol does promise to clean, disinfect and deodorize.
Well, it might indeed clean and disinfect, but I will never buy it again. I spent most of the morning cleaning the floor, and while it is Pine-Sol fresh and clean, its toxic smell is worse than that of a drenched, dirty dog.
Until next time,