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  • Marina Catherine

Kitten on the Roof - a vignette.

There I was the other night with a billion and one things to do when it occurred to me that I hadn't called my feline friends inside. No, I'm not a crazy cat lady, truly I'm not. I have an adolescent kitten, a cat, and a kid so that's two humans, two felines. I think that skews me towards normal.

I went out the back door and called to them both. My adult cat came in pretty quickly but, although I could hear the kitten's plaintive meow, I couldn't see her. It was dark. It was cold.

Sigh. I now had a billion and two things to do.

I called louder. She meowed. I called again. She answered. It was like a bizarre game of Marco Polo. This went on for some time, her pathetic little meows becoming ever more heart rending. Finally I saw her, perched trembling and frightened on the back end of the garage roof. She had been able to get up but was too scared to come down.

Yes, yes, stop rolling your eyes. I know cats have nine lives and land on their feet ….. but the kitten didn’t know that, did she?

What to do? What to do?

Now, I'm about the height of a garden gnome so clearly I wouldn’t be able to reach her. I had a vague memory of a ladder somewhere about the place but finding it involved looking for a key to a padlock that locked the door to a rusty garden shed, then entering this spider filled cavern while dodging precariously balanced tools, garden implements, fertilisers and cans of paint.

I opted for an easier option. This was my first mistake.

First of all, I spent twenty minutes calling to her in a vain effort to encourage her to jump down from the roof into my arms. Actually calling is not the right word. It was more like a loud whisper. I really, really didn't want to alert the neighbours to my dilemma.

My next step was to lug a coffee table outside. All I had to do was stand on the coffee table and I'd be able to reach her, right?

Wrong. Still too short.

Phase three involved dragging a bar stool type thing out and teetering precariously on it before realising three things:

  1. I still wouldn’t be able to reach her

  2. I was bloody short! Like, shorter than I realise which is kind of weird since I'm in my body every day!

  3. My days of dancing in high heels on the bar were long since gone. (Actually I never, ever did that. Coyote Ugly came out well after my time)

But back to the kitten. With her meows becoming ever more desperate, I needed to get inventive. In a light bulb moment, I came up with a cunning plan. I would climb back up onto the coffee table holding a box above me so that she would jump into the box and I could bring her inside and that would be that. I would be back to one billion and one things to do.

Back inside I went and out I came with a big, big box. Forcing myself to ignore the very likely possibility that, right at that moment, the neighbours were peering through their blinds shaking their heads or laughing uncontrollably, I climbed back onto the coffee table and held the box up.

Still too bloody short to reach the roof!

I put the box on my head.

Quite frankly, I looked like an idiot and I felt like an idiot.

More meows but no movement from the cat. For goodness sake! This is a kitten who jumps in every single box, bucket, basket and bin in the house for fun but now she won’t jump into a perfectly good box balanced on my head!

Back inside I went. I added a towel to the box. My thinking here was, if she can see the bottom of the box isn’t so far away, she might just jump in.

Back on the coffee table I climb, box on head.

Now, it’s about this time that every mosquito within a five kilometre radius decided to attack but, was I giving up? No way! I had felt the weight of a tentative paw on the box and that spurred me on.

Gallantly and bravely I thought, ‘Bite away, mosquitoes. I’ve got a kitten to rescue!’ Actually that’s not true. It was more like, ‘If this freaking kitten doesn’t take a leap and jump into this box in ten seconds, she can stay up there all night!’

Ten seconds later I was inside, pacing up and down and wavering between going to bed, calling the fire brigade or continuing this exercise in stupidity.

And then I came up with a plan that was even more cunning than the last cunning plan, thank you Baldrick. (If you're not a Black Adder fan, don't even try to make sense of that one).

So what was this cunningest of plans? Two words – cat food. Moist, aromatic cat food in a bowl on top of the towel.

And this I did. I was terrified my neighbours were looking but I held fast as a delicate little paw tested the edge of the box. This kitten was hungry.

My excitement rose. It was going to work!

And then ...... it rained.

Now everyone knows that cats and water don't mix very well. That kitten bolted like a cat on a hot tin roof. (Which it wasn’t - given that it was autumn, night time and raining.)

But she was hungry.

So she dashed back.

And bolted again.

And back.

And away.

And so on and so forth... while I stood there like an fool on the coffee table, balancing a box with a towel and a plate of wet, smelly cat food in it while mosquitoes attacked and the rain came down, all the while hoping the neighbours couldn't see me.

At some point, probably when it started to become a torrential downpour, I realised the entire exercise was useless. I needed to take another tack.

I dragged the coffee table back in, discarded the soggy box and its contents and went to the front of the house to see if I could see the kitten on the front section of the garage roof.

Oh. My. God.

The universe works in mysterious ways.

There, power walking in the street out front of my house, were a couple. She, of normal proportions. He …. of freaking ginormously tall proportions.

Soaking wet, covered in mosquito bites and smelling of cat food, I ran after them, yelling at them to please rescue my kitty.

They were walking with three dogs. I was obviously a cat lady. Not a good mix.

The husband gave me this look. The wife gave him THAT look. You know, the one that says - So she's a crazy cat lady. And you’re perfect? Help her out already.

And he did.

One kitten rescued. Thank you, kind stranger.

You would think the kitten and I had both learned our lesson. Me, not to leave her outside when it gets dark and she, not to climb on the roof.

But it happened again tonight! But that’s another story for another time and place.

Marina Catherine
Editing and copywriting

Phone: 0414 746 696
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