WTFcat

little before 4a last night, I woke up with a start. I heard a banging and scratching at a window and the ring of a pipe being dragged at my backdoor. I was immediately certain was someone trying to break in. So I conjured all the courage in this 130-pound frame and made my way out of my bedroom and to the kitchen, checking doors and windows one-by-one as I went. The window in the office was intact. The one in the dining room was safe. Front door and three living room windows: check. By this point the noise had stopped, so I carefully poked my head into the kitchen.

Both windows and the backdoor were safely closed and latched. Now I was not only spooked, I was completely baffled. So, I nervously raised the shade on the back door to look outside, only to see one of the neighborhood cats on the other side staring back at me. This particularly ugly swirl of brown fur has always been a little more skittish than the other strays around. Still, I had a lot of trouble believing he was capable of the racket that woke me from a dead sleep.

From the inside I pounded on the door a couple times to try to shoe him away and he only charged at the sound. I did it again, harder, and from behind my stove (two feet to my right) came the banging and clatter that got me out of bed a minute before. There was something back there. I quickly made my leave of the kitchen, never taking my eye off the corner.

As I stood in the doorway thinking, “what the hell is back there?” it became apparent that whatever it may be was trying to find its way out. The clanging started back up (which turned out to be a metal dustpan and a broom handle stashed in the corner) and, eventually, an orange tabby appeared on the windowsill next to the stove. IN MY HOUSE. I don’t have any cats. Much less this one, which I recognized from the neighborhood.

Once she made eye contact with me, she got spooked and tried to repeatedly jump out of the window whose sill she was on. Only problem: it was closed. Still, eight or ten times she jumped at it, trying to find a way out, smashing everything in her way but the panes of glass.

I donned a canvas jacket and a pair of work gloves and started to move in to grab her and take her outside. But when I got near, she sought refuge back behind the stove in a place that’s impossible for me to reach.

A call to animal control at 430a got me a promise of a returned phone call in about ten minutes.

In the mean time, I propped open the back door in the hopes that the unhappy tabby might find her own way to freedom. But she seemed pretty content to park it behind my stove and wait me out. So, I sat in the dining room catching up on episodes of “The Daily Show” with one eye on the door to make sure no other critters tried to move into my kitchen appliances. Finally, a little after 6a, my new friend started clanging around, trying to make her escape. I peeked in on her as she was again sitting on the window sill, and she again tried to jump out of the very-closed window when she saw me. She seemed scared to see me and was threatening to hide behind the stove again when I stepped out of her line of vision and gave her a chance to make a break for it. Which, thankfully, she finally did.

At 8a I got a call from the Humane Society saying they were ready to send someone out. Thanks, guys.

The damage:

How’d she get in? Well, I’m not entirely certain, but my suspicion is that she sneaked up from the basement of the building. There’s a loosely covered hole in the wall behind the stove where the gas line for the stove and some pipes for the sink come out of the basement.

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