38: Muffy’s Mad Moments

38: Muffy’s Mad Moments

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Muffy’s Mad Moments

A cat can purr its way out of anything.

~Donna McCrohan

Muffy was our old, adorable, fluffy, but very useless cat. At twenty years of age and somewhat incontinent, she messed in all the wrong places inside the house. So when the family went to work each day, Muffy stayed outside.

Thursdays was the street’s rubbish day. This particular Thursday Mum came home around midday. She was puzzled. Muffy was nowhere to be found. No matter how often she called, no black and white bit of fluff came running — which was unusual because she loved her food. Thus the search began in earnest. Nothing! Questions tumbled out. Had the dog next door at last caught up with her? Was she run over? Had she wandered off and then forgot how to get home? All these worrying thoughts flashed through Mum’s mind.

Then strange noises nearby distracted her; they seemed to come from the carport where our daughter’s small Honda was parked. She listened closely and heard the noise again, a muffled “miaow.” Inside the car? That’s impossible, Mum thought. The windows were closed! Down on her knees she peered underneath. Nothing! Yet the noise persisted. Where on earth was that cat?

Just then the rubbish truck came rumbling and clanking down the opposite side of the street. A terrified “miaow” emerged from somewhere near the front of the car. Surely not under the bonnet? Quickly, Mum flicked the catch and lifted. Two big saucer eyes stared out from a small space behind the engine block.

No matter what was tried, Muffy refused to shift. How she got there was a mystery.

Then the explanation hit Mum. Frightened by the noise of the rubbish truck, Muffy must have scooted under the car, then scrambled into whatever narrow space she could find. Now she couldn’t move! She was wedged in, too far back among the grease and coils and wires.

The day was becoming a scorcher, heading towards 40 degrees Celsuis. Scared that Muffy would drop dead from the heat, Mum sought immediate help. Our neighbour Ronda came over to lend moral support, but really nothing else. In desperation, Mum phoned all of us at work. I arrived home just as my daughter pulled up in a taxi. Convinced that her darling pet would soon be in “kitty heaven,” she was bawling her eyes out.

I set to work to solve our cat problem. From every angle I poked, pushed, prodded, pulled every bit of fur I could reach, but nothing worked. Muffy was wedged in too tightly. She had twisted her body into impossible and very greasy places. I didn’t have a hope in moving her.

We called the RSPCA, but no, they don’t do rescuing just investigating. The Animal Welfare was more helpful, suggesting the best bet for a car-related problem was the RAA. So in desperation, we summoned roadside assistance. We waited the usual hour before a familiar yellow van arrived. For five minutes he just stood in silence, exploring the situation, walking round and round the car, shaking his head. Then he uttered words we didn’t want to hear: “No go. I won’t dare touch it! Call in an air conditioning specialist. He’ll have to remove all those pipes and coils before the cat can even be reached. Best of luck!” With those parting words he vanished down the road, heading to the next call, no doubt!

We searched the Yellow Pages again. Another phone call and another hour went by.

To our concern, Muffy had stopped miaowing a long time before. We pushed tissues soaked in water to where she could lick the moisture. Would she last much longer?

We had our doubts. Fortunately the air conditioning specialist arrived. He took one look, smothered a grin, fossicked around the engine, then set to work.

Leads undone, nuts unscrewed, compressor degassed, pipes pushed aside, all to create space so Muffy could be reached. Three hours after Mum had made the original discovery, and $150 poorer, we arrived at the moment of truth. A greasy, bedraggled, exhausted, very floppy cat was carefully lifted out and placed in the arms of my teary daughter. Still sobbing, she rushed Muffy inside to the lounge room where the air conditioner was on. We followed her in, fearing the worst.

Muffy was gently placed on the carpet. For a brief moment she stood, wobbling, unsteady on her feet, eyes staring straight ahead. She glanced down at the bowl of milk placed right underneath her nose, then lapped it all up. Blinking several times, she stretched and came to life as if nothing had happened. Miaowing loudly and true to form, Muffy then proceeded to wee on our good lounge carpet! She looked back at us with saucer-sized eyes as if to say, “Eh folks, what’s the fuss? What do you expect a poor girl to do after spending so much time imprisoned in that hot box? I couldn’t hold on any longer.”

We just stared in amazement. Then I muttered to my daughter, “That’s it! I’ve had enough. She’s used up all her nine lives. Next time she’s going on a long trip to the animal home.”

With that Muffy walked over softly to where I stood, started purring and rubbed against my trouser leg. I just groaned.

~John McInnes

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