Don’t say C-A-T.

There are some moments in life that you can just SEE playing themselves out on the blog. And it is breathtaking.

This story starts, as all good stories do, with Seth taking a morning pee.

His peaceful moment with the sunrise was interrupted by a gray, scraggly cat that jumped out of our hamper and scurried out of sight around the corner. Note to readers: We do not own a cat.

Unsettling.

The cat went into hiding, and after Seth alerted me to the situation, we both started to understand why Maybel had been so jumpy the last few days.

Backstory: In aught-seven, we had a similarly uninvited feline friend that had a habit of sneaking up and into the house through a construction-related hole in the basement. Every time the cat would stick its head up through the hole  to see if it was clear, we would instruct Maybel to “Git That Cat,” which basically means “Run and bark at the cat to scare it away.”  The hole has since been covered with flooring, but the power of the phrase lingers on. In fact, don’t say C-A-T in our house, or you’ll have a ferocious, rabid dog scanning the room in a matter of seconds. Sometimes words like “That” or “Hat” also trigger the protective beast.

So after Seth’s sighting Saturday morning, we went about our weekend, basically ignoring our houseguest. We left the door open during the night, assuming the terrified cat would find its way back into the wilderness. This was not to be.

Sunday, after several phantom cat-spottings throughout the morning, we decided it might be time to move the critter outdoors. After thorough investigation, we discovered the C-A-T had been hiding under the stairs for God Knows How Long. The problem was, with a protruding abdomen situation, the person who normally fits back behind the stairs to fetch things was in no condition for cat capturing.

We did what every desperate couple would do. We unscrewed one of the stair treads and we lowered Maybel down behind the stairs with strict orders: Git That Cat!

I wish we would have snapped a photo of Maybel’s panicked look. Although normally the C-word snaps our English Bulldog into fearless action, the lowering of her body into what sounded like a lion’s den at the time (NOT the sexy kind!!) was not what she preferred. Standing on her tippy-toes, she attached her paws to the sides of the treads and refused to venture deeper under the stairs. Seth, having no mercy, encouraged her to fight for the family as he put the stair tread over her head and sort of hammered her down into the unknown.

After a brief and noisy encounter, the cat ran out from behind the stairs.

We were so proud of Maybel.

The problem is, the cat wanted nothing to do with the open screen door. For an hour-and-a-half, the cat REFUSED to escape to freedom, instead making a series of awesome leaps in to cabinets, cupboards and secret construction-related wall holes.

This cat DID NOT want to leave our house.

At one point, Maybel and Seth had the cat cornered behind the washer, when Seth reached for the broom to encourage it to run toward to open door. unfortunately, Maybel is afraid of the broom and began barking and growling at Seth. The whole thing was a comedy of errors.

Here are some of the thoughts you have when you’re trying to get an unwanted cat out of your house:

1.) Maybe we should relent, put a litter box somewhere in the basement and let it kill mice.

2.) If we let this cat outdoors, will it immediately run for the coop and destroy half our chicken flock?

3.) How did this cat get inside our house?

4.) Can you shoot an animal that is helplessly pinned between the walls? Is it wise to shoot something inside the home? How would we get the cat remains out of there?

5.) Is all the skunk blood cleaned off the live animal trap? Are live animal traps designed for indoor use?

We had no idea if the cat was feral, belonged to someone else, or was some sort of hybrid.

After hours of chase, the cat was napping peacefully in the wall behind the shower. In hopes of frightening the cat, I decided to get into the shower, but the sound of running water and the increased warmth did no discourage it from staying there forever.

What happened next, I will never know.

Several minutes into my shower, I heard banging on the walls. I heard barking and growling and hollering. For a brief moment, I heard the shop vac turn on.

When I came out from the bathroom, there was cheese all over the kitchen countertop, and Seth was holding the cat in his arms.

Apparently, after a brief stand-off at the microwave, the two had made nice. After a cheese snack and some cuddling on the couch, Seth took the cat outside.

The cat spent the next couple minutes pawing at the door to be let back inside before it ran (hopefully) back toward whatever house it came from.

Poor kitty.

I have thought about it ever since.

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