October 31, 2010

I am not a "cat" person; however...

some cats are not typical cats.

To tell the story of the latest "happenings" in the Secret Garden, I will begin with a bit of background information.

This is about a cat. There are many cats that roam around in the Secret Garden. Some are wild, being born and raised without a human caretaker. These cats are not "people friendly"--which is just fine with me. Some are pets of the residents of Copper Creek and will occasionally approach you (the way cats do when they want something). I have not been interested in either variety.

One morning, upon rising, Michael and I were sitting out on the balcony enjoying our morning cup of coffee, when we heard a faint "meowing" coming from the giant oak tree that grows alongside our balcony. As we looked through the branches, we saw a small yellow tabby cat (perhaps a teenager) sitting in the nook of the tree. This tree had a trunk that grew straight up (at least 15 feet) before the first branches sprang out. This poor little cat was just staring at as and crying. He kept climbing up higher into the branches and then coming back down to the lowest area to rest. He would look down the 15 foot trunk, cry, and then climb back up again, only to return to the lowest area. We guessed that a critter must have chased him up the tree the night before.

Well, we needed to get going on our day and hoped that by the time we got home that afternoon, he would have found a way down out of that tree. But, alas, at 5:00 pm that night, he was still in the tree. By this time, however, all the "climb" was out of him. It had been in the 90's all day and he had been in that tree all day. He was no longer attempting to even try to find a way down. He was just laying in the nook where the trunk met the first boughs, with his legs hanging down in exhaustion and panting and crying. There was no way we could help this cat and we didn't know if he was a wild one or a tame one. Even if we could borrow a ladder that was tall enough to reach him, we figured that he might tear us up out of fear of humans. What to do?

We really could not tolerate the idea of sitting out on our balcony and waiting for him to die of starvation or dehydration. So, I said to Michael, "Do you think Firemen still rescue cats out of trees?" "I don't know", was Michael's reply.

We decided to call. There was no "non-emergency" number listed for the fire department and we knew this "emergency" would not qualify for a 9-1-1 call; so, I called the non-emergency police dispatch instead. When they answered, I explained the dilemma to her and asked, "Do firemen still rescue cats out of trees?" She laughed and said, "I doubt it". She did provide me with a non-emergency number for the local fire station. I called and "Guess what?" Firemen do still rescue cats out of trees. Of course, that probably depends on what else happens to be going on at the time.

Within 6 or 7 minutes, we had a huge fire truck and three fire fighters with us in the Secret Garden. It was delightful to watch them go to work. The one that climbed the ladder, had the same fear we had, "What would that cat do if I grabbed him?" He went up the ladder with a thick coat on, his helmet with the face visor down, and thick leather gloves. When he got to where the cat was, he hesitated--not sure just how to proceed. His buddy on the ground yelled up, "Don't be gentle - Just grab him by the scuff of the the neck"-- so he did. To his surprise and ours, that cat just snuggled up to the firefighter and went limp in his arms. We stood on the ground, clapping and cheering.

With a grin from ear-to- ear the firefighter descended the ladder and placed the cat safely on the ground.

Well, since that day, we still do not know who owns this cat; but, we are pretty certain that he has an owner as he smells good, has no signs of fleas or ear mites, and appears at the base of our stairs often or appears out of no where and joins us on our walks in the garden.

Yesterday, I decided to pick him up and carry him in my arms as we went on our journey through the garden. Since I had my camera with me, we could not help but take some pictures of this amazingly sweet cat. He seems to love being held and sniffs, kisses and nuzzles up to us. Well, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

And, finally, the "I am not a cat person" picture. Like I said, this is no typical cat!

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