Cat Overboard

  • Tuesday / July 24, 2007

Cat Overboard

The sunny days of the previous week had dissolved into gray that day, and the skies wept because of it. The creek was running high from accumulated downpours. The air was cool and damp as I opened the sliding door. I needed that little brisk slap to fully awaken. But then again … did I really need to be fully awake?

Cat Overboard 01I sat at my computer like most other mornings watching the cats rustle, stretch and yawn, starting their lazy day. Started my morning reads. OS X MacNN. Seattle Times … ad infinitum. A morning like many others. One by one the cats filed past as they time shared my lap or my arms. (I once read somewhere that in multiple cat households, cats tend to ‘time share’ their owner(s). I was intrigued by the concept alone!) It’s kind of tough to read or type when you have an arm full of the Rock man. But it’s a trade off I’d make. Any day. Then again … every day. It’s part of my pre- breakfast morning ritual. There are times I even have to put my feet up on the desk to create a larger landing pad for said time-sharers. It’s easier to multi-task that way. You know. Petting, rubbing and reading. What could be better! Okay … coffee, petting, rubbing and reading.

Cat Overboard 02

The time-sharing had subsided. All the cats got their requisite morning love. And the day continued. I went from pre-breakfast ritual … right to … the breakfast ritual. There is a litany of step involved with said ritual:

  1. Grab pot for oatmeal from closet.
  2. Take soy milk, half & half, and coffee beans from fridge.
  3. Don’t forget the fresh strawberries and or blueberries.
  4. Get raisins and cran-raisins from cabinet.
  5. Get organic oatmeal from top shelf.
  6. Measure 2 cups soy milk … put in pot.
  7. Put pot on stove … high heat.
  8. Measure 1/4 cup each, raisins and cran-raisins, put in pot with soy milk.
  9. Clean out coffee pot and grounds holder.
  10. Trash grounds from yesterday.
  11. Fill coffee pot with 4 cups water.
  12. Empty in coffee maker.
  13. Get coffee filter, fold edges
  14. Place in coffee maker grounds holder.
  15. Measure out 3 heaping scoops of coffee beans into grinder.
  16. Grind beans 1 minute.
  17. While grinding check pot … starting to steam.
  18. Stop grinding, empty contents into coffee filter.
  19. Attach to coffee maker.
  20. Start making coffee.
  21. Add 1 cup oatmeal to steaming pot.
  22. Stir.
  23. Decrease temp to low heat.
  24. Set timer 5 minutes.
  25. Grab cereal bowl, prep strawberries.
  26. Wash each strawberry.
  27. Cut tops off strawberries, slice 2-3 times, depending on size and add to bowl.
  28. Wash blueberries.
  29. Add to bowl.
  30. Look at timer … when 2 minutes left.
  31. Grab coffee cup from cabinet.
  32. Pour coffee and prepare with half & half and sugar.
  33. Oatmeal is finished … pour into bowl.
  34. Mix fruit up.
  35. Grab coffee, bowl, and a towel.
  36. Sit in front of TV with TV table.
  37. Dial up the previous nights “The Daily Show” on DVR.
  38. Eat breakfast.
  39. Drink Coffee.
  40. Laugh.

That is indeed, the morning ritual. Never had to list it before. Never thought I’d want to. Hmmm … maybe there are ways to shave off a few steps. MORE MULTI-TASKING! But, at this point. I digress.

So with belly full, I started to clean up my breakfast mess. As I was in the multi-step process … I heard a strange sound from the balcony. It sounded like something fell from the balcony and into the holly bush below. As I looked up and saw Rocky and Rose rush to the balconies edge to see what had just happened. I ran to the balcony and looked over the edge to see … poor Angel. She had somehow fallen off the balcony into the sopping wet holly bush below. She was hiding in the bush and very freaked out.

Cat Overboard 03Now Angel was a 6 month old street cat I found 7 or 8 years ago. She’s intimate with the wild streets of Seattle. There’s an ironic statement if I ever heard one. I can imagine after that many years of cushy couch life … I’d be freaked out too! Though still in my socks I ran downstairs and out the door to her rescue.

By the time I got to her she was slinking along the side of ground floor balcony. The poor old girl was soaked and frightened. I picked her up and brought her back into the condo. Safe and … well not sure if she was sound … at the time. But I tried to towel her down. But she wasn’t having it! I gave her a quick look over. Felt her legs and her chest … no apparent broken bones … just a RACING heart. That we could both live with.

Once back into the fold, her brother and sister came to her to make sure she was okay. Life went on.

Flash ahead two days. Time for morning rituals. This time I didn’t open the door to the balcony right away. I’m not sure I even went through kitty time-share. I didn’t even get to pre or post breakfast rituals. I don’t remember what happened that morning. I do remember it was 12:00 Noon and I still hadn’t eaten breakfast. But I had opened the door. It was gray and crappy … still. Then it happened.

I’m walking through the living room and I hear another strange noise form the balcony. I FREAKED. I ran to the balcony. One cat two cats … no … no third cat. Angel. Check. Rocky. Check. No Rosie. I looked over the side of the balcony. I didn’t see her anywhere. I walked back into the living room and grabbed one of the cat toys and shook it. That’s the sound that gets them all running. But no Rosie. I’m REALLY FREAKING NOW. I fall to my knees … not to pray … not in this household … and started looking under the couch. Under the bed. In my closet. Calling all the while … Rosie … Rosie … Skooooootch.

I put on my shoes and I tear down the stairs again. I tear around the back of the condo and I’m looking in the bushes. I’m looking under my neighbor’s balcony/porch. BUT I CAN’T FIND HER! Then Betty comes from her condo and opens her door. “Your cat’s in here. I let her in. I heard this thud and there she was on my porch … I just let her in. She’ hiding somewhere. Come in and look. Please take your shoes of though.”

And so I went into Betty’s condo. Betty’s a sweet gray haired elderly woman who lives below our condo. She loves cats, as she’s told me before, but she’s allergic to them. Thank you Betty for being so selfless. Rosie? R o o o o o s i e. Meeeeeeooooooowwwww. I heard it. It was this god awful stressed out meow come yowl. Rosie. I couldn’t tell where she was at. Miss Skooooootch … meeeeeeooooowwww. And there she was. She had climbed up onto the kitchen cabinets. Onto the top of the refrigerator and into the corner on top of the cabinet over the refrigerator. Betty saw and got me a step ladder.

Poor little Rosie. She DID NOT want to come out of that corner. Even though she knew it was me. She was certainly frightened. I was frightened for her. And that horrible yowl. I finally got her in my arms and she yowled more. I thanked Betty profusely and went out the back door. I grabbed my shoes. Didn’t put them on and walked very quickly back home. Little Rosie kept squirming yowling. I hated it!

We got to the front door and she was still squirming. I threw down the shoes and got her in the door before she squirmed right out of my hands. I put her down on the steps she’s climbed a million times before … and she ran right upstairs. Her sister and brother were right there too. Waiting. Wondering. What happened to Rosie?

Angel knew what happened. It happened to her just days before. Later that day I’m sure they commiserated. Angel told war stories of life on the hard streets of Seattle. Rosie spoke of her disorientation, and long term feelings on short term flight. Thankfully things returned to normal. After I checked her over … Ms Rosie settled in for her morning nap. I knew when she went into her “paw tucked” sleep position … things were returning to normal. She felt safe. My guts were still in a knot. But kitty life was back to normal.

And brother, Rocky? Oblivious. How could he know what just transpired. But let’s hope he never knows the true meaning of … cat overboard.

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Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . retired apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rudie, & rocco & living to tell tales about it

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