55: The Wonder of Birdy

55: The Wonder of Birdy

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

The Wonder of Birdy

It always gives me a shiver when I see a cat seeing what I can’t see.

~Eleanor Farjeon

From the moment she was born I knew that she was destined for greatness. I can recall holding her in the palm of my hand watching her wiggle and meow, announcing her arrival to the world. I knew that she would be a very independent young feline eager to explore her territory. From the enormous lynx tips on her ears to her silky brown tabby coat, she was everything that I could ask for in a Maine Coon kitten and I was in love. She was addicted to play and would spend countless hours in hot pursuit of all her favourite toys. She especially loved her cat treats and would wait patiently each day for me to serve her allotted share, always hoping I would spill the bag and she would score extra goodies.

As a very young kitten she would climb to the top of her cat tree and stare out our picture window at the antics of the birds swooping past her vantage point. The sights and sounds she witnessed outside seemed to mesmerize her. It was usually impossible to break her gaze once she focused on an object.

Perhaps it was because of this quirky trait she earned the name Birdy. I delighted in watching her grow into a beautiful young feline with countless energy, eagerly anticipating every event tossed her way. I knew that our Birdy was one special bundle of fur but what I didn’t know was that she was destined to save us from a near disaster.

Birdy’s special powers were put to the test one chilly November evening. My husband and I had just started to watch our evening television programs when I noticed Birdy perched on top of our upright piano. Her eyes were locked in a death stare with the wall thermostat. She was a cat with a mission and no amount of coaxing would entice her to relinquish her post. I rattled a bag of her special treats and still she would not move. I thought if anything would catch her attention it would be food, but to no avail.

I sensed that something was very wrong and motioned to my husband Tony to lower the volume so we could hear what captivated our little cat.

“Tony, there is something the matter with Birdy. She won’t move. I have tried everything and she won’t budge.”

“Can you hear the hissing noise?” he exclaimed.

Once we were beside her we saw small flashes of light bursting from the baseboard heater thermostat — the real possibility of fire was not far away.

When my husband removed the cover of the thermostat he discovered electrical arcs sparking from the thermostat cover to the mounting box. We flew into action, shutting off the power and removing the thermostat from the wall. The wooden cedar strips beside the electrical box were severely burned. It terrified us to think that, by the evidence of the burns, the arcing had been happening for quite some time.

The experience left us shaken, overwhelmed and very grateful to our little cat for her perseverance.

“Tony, what if Birdy hadn’t heard this? We could have been away.” I shuttered. What a marvel our little Birdy was!

Birdy insisted upon staying by our side during the whole ordeal. Her gentle purring only served as a reminder of the unconditional devotion and love our furry felines provide us. I couldn’t have been more proud to be her “human” mom.

Quickly new materials were purchased and installed, making sure that all the wire connection terminal screws were tightly in place. We felt quite sure that we would never experience the problem again.

Birdy has since passed away. I truly believe that if it hadn’t been for one curious little cat and her fascination with the world around her, our home might have succumbed to the devastation of a fire.

~Gail Sellers

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