I’m in the middle of
the 3rd circle of hell a bathroom renovation.
Thank goodness we have another bath and a half to use while this project is going on. I once remodeled a house that had only a bath and half, and while the full bath was being renovated in August, things were a little dicey in my home, as you might imagine.
My son is pretty sure that this renovation project is a sure a sign that we’re about to move, but that’s another story. Today I want to tell you about the adventures of my darling kitty and how he became locally famous.
As we were planning this renovation, the very responsible and kind contractor asked me, “Do you have any pets?”
“I do,” I replied. “He is an indoor/outdoor kitty that loves people, but he loves hunting for ‘presents’ more, so he is outside almost all day and he won’t bother you at all.”
Finally, after months of
patiently waiting my turn, the contractor showed up and gutted the monstrosity pictured above. The next day, they opened the walls and the floor in a few places and rearranged some of the plumbing. After lunch later that day, they glued down the new sub floor so that there is no longer a direct line from the shower to the ceiling below — hurrah!
That night, Wes and I returned late from a rainy and cold soccer game. It was late — maybe 9 pm. Wes was sitting on the couch and we could hear Boots crying at the door.
“I’ll get him,” Wes said. He went to the door, but no Boots.Weird, right?
We called him, and called him. We could hear him, but couldn’t find him. I grabbed a flashlight. We went around the house calling “Boots, here Bootsie”. No answer. Sometimes my precious kitty likes to fight with the other mean neighborhood cats. Sometimes we can hear coyotes in the distance. I was certain that he was injured and hiding under the porch. He would not come to us. We even rattled his treat can, which usually brings him running from a mile away, but no sign of him.
I was making cupcakes in the kitchen for a friend’s birthday and we’d make occasional forays outside with the flashlights, trying to pinpoint his weak cries. Wes, exhausted from soccer practice and a long day at school, went to bed abound 10 pm.
After the cupcakes were done, I was still worried about Boots, so I sat down in the living room. I could hear him meowing, but the noise was moving around, not always coming from the same place. As I followed this weak sound for some time, the light bulb slowly went off: Boots was in the ceiling.
I’m sure that you connected the dots much faster than I did.
I ran upstairs. I sat by the now very small plumbing hole (1-2 inches) and called his name. A pitiable cry and some faint scratching was the answer. I knew he was there, but I could not see him, nor could I reach him.
OMG! It is now 10:30 p.m. I texted the contractor.
“Fun fact: my cat is dry-walled into the ceiling. What time are you coming in the morning?”
“7:15. unbelievable never even gave that a thought obviously never a dull moment.”
I stayed by Boots for a while, talking to him through the floor. I felt horrible. I’m sure he could not understand why I didn’t let him out. Isn’t it a human’s worst nightmare to be buried alive? After some time, I decided to go to bed, hoping that he would sleep too. But I was really worried. He’s about 9 years old and has been treated for a urinary tract infection in the last couple of months, so I was concerned about dehydration.
Early in the morning, the contractor arrived and quickly cut a hole in the floor near where we thought Boots had gone in. This was accomplished with a big, scary, loud saw. How did this happen? We guessed that Boots went exploring while they left for lunch. Neither one of them had ever seen Boots in the house.
When the ruckus with the saw was over, Wes and I called our kitty and called him some more. No answer.
“He’ll come out eventually; he can only go between one set of rafters,” my kind contractor opined.
Meanwhile, the contractor and his assistant, trying to stay on schedule, commenced with more hammering and sawing. Wes and I left for the day, and my mother showed up to supervise. Just for fun, my arborist picked that day to loudly cut down two trees in my yard. Boots, if not expired from dehydration, must have been frightened to death.
While I was physically at work, I was devastated. I told a few friends of Boots’ plight and called Cindy too (her DH is in the construction business). Everyone was horrified and full of suggestions. I asked the contractors to leave, hoping that Boots would emerge if he wasn’t scared. I went home around lunchtime and called to him. His replies were faint. He was not anywhere near the hole as best I could tell.
Back at work and after school, I shared my sadness with a few more friends. More suggestions poured in. Many of them were advocating the deployment of crow bars (Cindy was on this bandwagon). When Wes and I got home from soccer practice, we opened the front door, certain that Boots would greet us per usual. No Boots.
We went into the gutted bathroom and called and called. No answer. Two hours went by and still not a squeak. Certain that he had died (and how were we going to extract him if that happened?) Wes retreated to his computer. I retreated to my sewing room. The mourning had begun.
In my mind, I kept replaying the horror of being buried alive. His pitiful scratching the night before as he was trying to reach me echoed in my brain.
Around 7:30 pm, our friends Sherri and Joey showed up. Joey is one of Wes’ best friends and he’s a wonderful Boy Scout. Sherri is his mother and my friend. They were determined to help. As we stood in the bathroom explaining our loss and brainstorming about locating and removing the body, we heard a squeak! He was alive!
We fanned out around the house to see if we could pinpoint his location in the ceiling. He was definitely moving –nay– running above the laundry room (on the opposite side of the house and perpendicular to how the rafters are placed — what???) We called and called him, but he would not come to us.
Confident that he was alive, Sherri and Joey left. We planned to reconvene in the morning with another friend who really and truly owns crow bars and helped to build her own home.
Knowing that there was nothing more that I could do that night, I went to the kitchen and started cooking a very late dinner. Wes’ dad (not a cat person — have you noticed that he is not part of this story???) looked down about 5 minutes later and said:
“Look who’s here.”
Boots, looking quite shell-shocked and a tiny bit thinner, really, really wanted to get outside. Can’t say that I blamed him.
I texted the picture to the contractor and my friends who had shared in my agony.
“Best news today back to work tomorrow and close the bathroom door tonight”
The next day, the contractor mentioned to my mother about how many of my friends commented via text on Boots’ safe return. Other friends confided that they had shared my story with many others and I do believe Boots is locally famous. Now that he’s safe, it’s kind of a funny story, right?
My contractor’s assistant was at a school’s open house last week. This school is not Wes’ and it is about 10 miles away. He started to tell his son’s teacher about this “funny” story of a cat that accidentally got trapped in the ceiling.
“I’ve already heard about it,” she said.
It’s good to live in a rural area where: news travels fast, people care about animals, friends have crowbars and know how to use them, and Boy Scouts still come to rescue kittens.