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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Haven’t Seen the Cat Lately, Have You?

“Did Liza Bean say anything to you about going anywhere?”

I look up from my book, cock my head to one side and squint.

“The cat,” Willie says. “Did she say anything about going anywhere?”

I put the book down, get up and head for the porch. “Did she take the car again? I’ll wring her striped neck…” My voice trails off as I look out the windows.

The car is in front of the house.

I turn around, raise my eyebrows.

“I can’t find Liza Bean,” Willie says.

You’ve met Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, haven’t you? Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is a symmetrically striped, tiny-pawed catcher of mice and demander of cream, a cat with a sharp tongue and a penchant for umbrella-ed drinks.


That Liza Bean Bitey.

“I last saw her asleep inside my bass drum, on the porch here; and now I can’t find her.”

I take a deep breath: “Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty! Heeeeeere kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty!”

Somewhere within the house, I hear a meow.

We leave the porch. The sound is coming from the bedroom, the room closest to the second-floor porch.

“Rowwwwwww,” she says, mournfully. “Rowwwwwwww.”

I turn this way and that, neck swiveling. Where is that coming from? “Liza Bean! Where are you?”

“Owwwwwwww!” she cries. “Mao-Wao! Mao-Wao!” The lousy cat has lost control of herself.

“Great,” I mutter. I go back out to the porch.

Willie is staring at the rafters.

Liza Bean, a small and curious cat, has been known to run up the walls, launching herself into the unfinished ceiling of the porch, balancing on the rafters in pursuit of winged insects and shadows.

Willie and I look at each other meaningfully.

“I think Liza Bean’s in the ceiling.”

Two hours from now, there will be a debate as to who made that fateful statement.

In the bedroom, Liza Bean continues to yowl. The sound comes from everywhere, particularly in the doorway, near the large heavy dresser.

I climb onto the dresser and we stare at the ceiling.

“Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?” Liza Bean demands. “Howwwwwwww?”

We go back out to the porch, stare up at the points near the ceiling where the cat has disappeared before and shake the bag of cat food.

We fan the smell of a freshly opened can of salmon-chicken puree toward the spot where we imagine the cat has gone.

I go outside, backing away from the front yard until I am in the park across the street, and stare at the roof, thinking that perhaps she’s gotten up there somehow, is swinging from a gutter…

I call for her until my jaw is sore.

I go back into the house, climb the stairs to the second floor. I go into the bedroom.

“Liza Bean?”

“Wow-wow?”

Liza Bean Bitey, the cat who once borrowed $200 from me citing “a business opportunity” only to return it a week later, gift-wrapped in a cashmere sweater, has gone feral.

I sit on the bed. “It’s going to be okay, you know. We’re going to get you out of there.”

“Ohhhhhhhhh,” Liza Bean moans. Her tone speaks of sorrow and confusion. It’s been a little over an hour now; and I imagine her trapped in the dark between floors, inhaling 100-year-old dust and fiberglass insulation.

Willie comes in from the porch, reeking of canned cat food and ice-cold beer.

He does not do well in stressful situations.

Willie has grown red-faced, frantic. The cat moans piteously and Willie pulls at his hair. Suddenly, he can’t take it anymore.

“We’re coming, Liza Bean!” he calls. “Daddy’s coming!”

Willie runs from the room and returns with the ladder and a screwdriver.

“Oh, boy,” I say.

There are three heating vents in the room.

Willie begins systematically taking them apart.

The removal of two of the vent covers causes the ceiling around it to crumble in a disagreeable and gritty manner.

“Yowwwwwwww, owwwwwww, owwwwww,” Liza Bean calls.

The third vent leads to nothing but a 108-year-old dead-end hole the size of a shoe box between the second and third floors.

“What the -- ?” Willie mumbles. We stare at the ceiling.

Willie wrenches the stainless steel venting inside the gaping holes in the ceiling to one side, jams the flashlight in. “Kitty, kitty!” he cries. “Kitty, kitty!”

Liza Bean howls.

“Over here,” I say, standing in the doorway. “Sounds like she’s over here.”

Willie makes his way to that side of the room, dragging the ladder with him. He pushes the flashlight into the ceiling. “Liza Bean! Come on! Please, kitty!”

“Mao-wao. Mao-wao,” Liza Bean says woefully.

Willie climbs down, pushes the ladder off to one side. We’re coming up on two hours now, two hours of hearing Liza Bean in distress. A panic is rising in me.

I stare up at the ceiling. The crying seems to be loudest over here...

“Well we’re not going to be able to sleep with this –“

“Shhhh,” I say.

“-- I know that for sure,” Willie finishes. “Oh the poor kitty. Oh the poor –“

Shhh!” I hiss.

I am staring up at the ceiling. Do we have a sledge hammer? You can’t just beat on a ceiling with a regular hammer, can you? What do you do when you have a cat trapped –

“Wowwwwwww,” Liza Bean says.

And then I hear it. It’s so quiet you could miss it…

Scritch. Scritch-scritch.

“Listen!” I say. “Liza Bean’s scratching.”

I continue to stare at the ceiling. Scritch. Scritch-scritch. I hear it so clearly. It sounds…

A wave of horrified excitement rushes my blood stream, and I look down with a mixture of anticipation and incredulity.

The dresser.

Six feet long, ridiculously well-built and heavy, I'll bet that thing's almost sound-proof…

I open a drawer. Tee-shirts.

I open another drawer. More tee-shirts.

I open another drawer.

Cat.

“Mao! Mao! Mao!” Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) springs forward, dashes from the bedroom and into the sitting room. She drops suddenly and flops on one side, stretching and squirming with relief.

Gaining composure, she sits up, casually licks an extended back leg. “Holy crap,” she purrs, delicately, “I thought you people would never figure it out.”

Willie’s mouth is open, his face purple. I fall, weak-kneed and incredulous, to the floor, laughing. I stare up at the ceiling and shake my head.

Willie steps over me and heads for the refrigerator.

“Hey!” I call to him, still laughing. “Get me one, too!”

55 comments:

George said...

She couldn't have just said, "I'm in the dresser" to begin with and saved you all of that trouble? Maybe she enjoys making Willie frantic.

Pearl said...

George, she was one freaked-out kitty...

Doubting Thomas said...

Have mercy. I am happy that my bipolar puppy is too stupid (and too big) to get into the dresser. I have enough entertainment already. And reasons to drink :)

Symdaddy said...

Many moons ago, Giz (of the found in the woods as a kitten Mo's) climbed out of ceiling window on the second floor and launched himself into space before we could grab him.

We raced down stairs and into the garden expecting to find out cat splashed all over the patio.

Nothing!

Some time later after some frantic searching for our possibly injured moggy we heard his trademark "Wraaaoooww" but we couldn't locate the source.

There were no tree's anywhere near the window for him to have leapt into so I our search continued amongst the shrubbery around the patio. After almost two hours we gave up looking and decided to call the in-laws to come and help out search.

Back in the house, I made a bee-line for the phone only to find Gizmo curled up on his cushion on the sofa.

How he survived that leap uninjured or how he managed to get back into the house is a mystery but the look he gave us which quite clearly labelled us a mugs will stay with me forever.

I can certainly sympathise with Willie.

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

Ohh poor Liza Bean.. and poor Willie! At least you figured it out before the ceiling was destroyed.

Pearl said...

:-) Seriously, the next step was to take apart the ceiling. And I know it sounds weird, but the sound truly did seem to come from above...

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Bahahaha! That is SO cat like. I laughed and laughed at the plight of poor Liza Bean, indignantly stuck in a dresser feet away from you.

When my cat was a kitten years and years ago he disappeared one day and we found an open window and figured the worst, and 24 hours later after searching the neighbourhood, informing the police etc., etc, my room mate goes to get a pair of socks out of her closed dresser drawer and well. Socks and kitten, curled up asleep amid sock heaven. Good grief! :) So you know. I've so been there.

Ms Sparrow said...

Ah yes, my Tweedy loves to sneak into a closet at every opportunity and, when done exploring, yowl for release. She never learns that she will be trapped, yet she still has this attitude when stalks out of the closet. Hummph!

Cake Betch said...

Poor Liza Bean!! We've done that to our various dogs and cats before... closed them in closets, basements, cabinets, etc. Lol.

Glen said...

Very funny - poor thing. totally reminds me of something that happened with our next door neighbours cat - pre blogging days... i wish I'd thought to write it now, too late - I'd just be copying - needless to say our brand spankingly newly plastered ceiling had to have a big square cut out of it in order to rescue the stupid moggy - and it never so much as thanked us!

Joshua said...

Oh that crazy cat!

powdergirl said...

Must have been one of those nights. Last evening the husband says to me: Holy shi*t, James' cat is on the shop roof!. And I'm like: there is no way she could get up there.

The roof is about 50 ' at the peak, and a steep hip-roof. But yeah, she was up there, at least we could see her, haha. I thought I'd have to wait till morning when one of our fearless climbing monkey employee's came to work, but she made it down. I have no idea how though, suddenly I heard a bump, and then she came running all scatter-brained and wild-eyed, from the back of the building

I've also had the cat in the drawer dilemma when I thought about busting through the ceiling. Why are they so hard to track???

Pearl said...

You know, in the past I've been able to pinpoint where the little buggers are, but this time, the meow-meowing seemed to be coming from the ceiling...

mybabyjohn said...

They do get into some of the darndest places. So....before leaving the house, complete drawer and closet check, yes?

Ponita in Real Life said...

Oh lordy! Shades of That Damn Cat and the heating vent fiasco from a few years back at my place. I wish Pips had just been stuck in a dresser... would have been a lot less stressful (and destructive) than ripping the walls, vents and ceiling apart like I did to get her out!

Glad Liza is free and no longer feral, and hopefully putting things back together again won't be too much work! ;-)

Joyful Things said...

It is amazing how our hearing, accompanied with panic and imagination, can send us in the wrong direction. As a former cat owner dressers, closets, boots, cardboard tubes, etc were the first places I would look for a stuck cat. And it doesn't just happen with pets, a few weeks ago I took apart the dash panel in my car that has the speedo, engine info, etc trying to tighten a rattle. My son got in the car and said "it's the sun visor - it rattles if you don't have the pin in the clip" ....

Shelly said...

Sounds like she's none the worse for the wear now! When we had our roof replaced several years ago, my husband told the roofers to be on the alert for a feral cat that liked to hang out around the house. They soon finished their job and left. That night, there was such a commotion coming from the attic that I thought demons had unleashed themselves up there. As we stared up at the ceiling, trying to figure out what had happened, a large, scared, and very wild cat broke through the sheet rock, fell into the living room and proceeded to wreak mayhem. They had roofed her in up there and with all her jumping and craziness, she broke through. That was a long night, getting her rounded up and out of the house.

Leenie said...

She was throwing her voice ventriloquist-style to see how long it would take you dummies to figure it out.

The things our cats put us through!

Pearl said...

Leenie, that was very funny!!

lgsquirrel said...

May I recommend replacing cats with squirrels. We are far less problematic, I swear. And we work for peanuts.

Oilfield Trash said...

I am pretty sure she was wanting to make you look for a while.

KaLynn ("MiMi") said...

Oh my gosh! Our 4 legged kids do give us fits! Tha was too funny though while in that situation it was far from funny.

Cats are the best at getting in places that we cannot find easily.

Glad all is well and no sledge hammer was used to knock out walls and ceilings!

Leslie said...

With my "former" cat...it was always some closet where she had fallen asleep.

kal said...

This story is so good that I want to retell it like it happened to me. Brilliant. I loved the way you maintained suspense throughout. I was starting to get stressed just reading the howls of poor kitty. Will she learn her lesson? No...but now she knows you will save her eventually.

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

This is why it takes a special person to own one of those little buggers, no?

Linda O'Connell said...

Been there. Glad that little gal got rescued. You certainly got the yowls and intonations down pat. You are a true story teller.

Douglas said...

So... was the argument over who shut that drawer ever resolved? Or even held?

My cats never did anything like this... though Carlos did hide under our bed for three days sneaking out at night to eat and (apparently) use the litter box. Can't blame him, though, he was taken on a 4 hour car ride (he hated car rides) followed by a fright by a large white German Shepherd.

Kate Mohler said...

Funny! I love cat stories. Your cat speaks the same language as mine. Yowwwwwww!

HalfAsstic.com said...

Sledge hammer! It could have gotten so much worse before it got better!
Did Liza Bean... leave anything behind in that drawer? That woulda been my luck. ;-)

jenny_o said...

Great story, Pearl! Liza Bean is a beautiful creature.

Cheeseboy said...

I really, really had hoped he was going to pound the ceiling in. That is the only way this story would have gotten better.

Antares Cryptos said...

I hate playing hide, seek and panic with cats.

Eva Gallant said...

Poor Liza Bean. Great story!

Pearl said...

Honestly, I was just moments away from the phone calls it would've taken to locate a friend with a sledgehammer -- and I have to agree: my removing part of the ceiling WOULD have made the story better.

:-) But who can afford that?!

Pearl said...

Oh, and p.s. Nothing untoward was found in the sock drawer that Miz Bean was found in...

Belle said...

We have had cats in the fridge and the dryer, but thankfully they were only in for a little while.

Camille said...

That Miz Liza Bean - such a scamp. Yup, I would have had that ceiling pulled down in no time flat too. Bill Underfoot - a smooth grey limo of a cat with slick habits - once disappeared (inside) for an entire 24 hour period. I still have to clue where he got to...the bugger.

"GB" said...

That is absolutely the best! I would have already had the ceiling apart. Very happy that Miz Liza Bean is back where she belongs.

Gigi said...

That cat was DEFINITELY jerking your chain. She was throwing her voice to throw you off track to keep you in a panic.

R. Jacob said...

So I was wondering as I am apt to do, did one think the cat knew how to use a screwdriver, and secondly or B, if you are keeping score at home, how did it end up in a dresser drawer and close it behind itself? Time to look at the camera footage on this one!

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Oh, Liza! How many of those 9 lives have you used so far?

HermanTurnip said...

Genius! *Applause!*

We once found our cat trapped in the upstairs cabinetry stuck behind the extra sheets and the inflatable bed. We found her after a quick series of panicked "Meows!", which didn't give us enough time to break out the sledgehammer.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Oh, thank GOD! My claws were hooked into the ceiling, waiting for the rescue!!!

~purrrr. rrrrrr. rrrr, rrrr.~
~so happy now~

River said...

How the heck did she get in there without being noticed? Surely you would have seen her when you shut the drawer?

Nick Ward said...

I once drove over a hundred kilometers with my neighbors cat in the back of my car before I realized. Curiosity might not kill the cat but it certainly gets it into some interesting spots!

Pat said...

I do think she is a bit of an attention seeker. Maybe she resents it when you write about other matters.

the walking man said...

You have to be as odd or odder than the cat to properly live with one.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that poor cat! --vanilla

aBroad said...

This happened to us once upon a time, a much loved kitty, long gone now - I have forgotten exactly where he was hiding but boy, I remember that gush of relief and happiness when we were all reunited..
Someday I will tell you about my tiny little cat who flew from LA to NY with me, then proceeded to sneak out of the house one day and go missing .. turning up on the doorstep on Christmas Morning.
She was not the brightest bulb but she had Excellent Timing !

WrathofDawn said...

Why, Liza Bean, I didn't realize you were quite so beeyooteefull!

"Whyyyyyyyy?" "Hooooooowwww!" Hilarious!

Deb Rox said...

Your storytelling abilities are unsurpassed. Brava!

krouth said...

Just saw this on BPOTW - Great story! I can't wait to read future posts from you.

Kristy said...

Damn cats and what they do to us. I love them so much, silly things!

Marshall Stacks said...

Wonderfully written, not so wonderful experience, but that's what cats do. Drawers will be closed carefully henceforth at your house.
Happy 4th

Scoop said...

Fantastically written as usual, Pearl... thank you for a great story. Owning cats really makes this one pop and come to life (we have four)... I (falsely) accused my 9 & 7 year old daughters of putting Piper (the youngest cat) in the dresser drawer. After much debate (and damn near a mock trial in the living room) it was determined that our daughters were innocent... however, the jury is still out on the Build-a-Bear cheerleading outfit charges... thanks for the wonderful read...