Victor and I thought that our good deed for the day would be delivering Meals on Wheels to housebound folks.

We were in the car when the phone rang. Victor’s cell phone is connected via Bluetooth to the audio system. “Hello?” Victor said.

“Are you home?” Judy, one of our friends from church, asked.

“No, we’re on our way to Meals on Wheels,” Victor said.

“Oh,” Judy said. “I was hoping…. There’s a cat with its head stuck in the fence in my backyard, and I’ve been going up and down the street trying to find someone to help but no one is home, and—“

Victor started turning down the hill. “Okay, I’m on Castleton. I can be there in a few minutes.”

“Thank you!” Judy said.

Judy met us at the street with a big pair of lopping shears in her hand. “It’s been in the backyard for an hour, I couldn’t just leave it but I can’t see how to get its collar off. I’m always shooing it away because it stalks my birds.” As a matter of fact, there was a collection of birds twittering merrily around a bird feeder at the other end of the backyard.

Victor got down on his hands and knees against the fence. Yep, a skinny white and gray cat with a blue collar had its head stuck through one of the chain-link fence squares.

I stood in the background with Judy, listening to it whimper. “Do you have any Vaseline or mineral oil?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said, but before she could check, Victor said, “Okay.”

“Did you get it out?” Judy asked.

“I got the collar off,” Victor said and handed it to her.

“Hmm. Its name is Snaggletooth according to the tag,” she said.

“Calm down, kitty,” he said to the cat. It was now wriggling on its back with its claws wrapped around his fingers, and as he tried to pull it free, it made a few strangled “grrrt” sounds.

“Do you have any wire clippers?” I asked Judy.

“Wire clippers? No,” she said tentatively.

“Give me the hedge clippers,” Victor said before she could go look for dikes, and she handed them to him.

“Let go, kitty,” he said. “Don’t put your head in the way, dammit.”

We heard a loud click. “There,” he said, and slowly pulled the cat out, belly up, from the fence.

“She’s just a kitten, really,” he said, as she ran around the edges of Judy’s backyard, mewling, and finally jumped over the fence, presumably heading for home.

“Thank you!” Judy said to Victor, and to me, “I’m glad I didn’t have to call the Fire Department, there isn’t much they could do with their ladders with the cat on the ground.”

As we left, she was calling the phone number on the collar.

“Aren’t cats supposed to use their whiskers to figure out whether they can fit through a hole?” I asked when we were back in the car.

“I can’t imagine how she got her head through that fence,” Victor said. “It must have been one of those birds, taunting her from the other side: ‘Nyeh, nyeh, try to get me NOW!”

Click here to see Sam Gross’s infamous Meals on Wheels (and cats) cartoon.



One Response to “Interrupted”

  1. Susan Fowler Says:

    Judy showed us a note she received:

    “I can’t thank you enough for rescuing Baby (she was wearing Snagglepuss’s collar).

    “She jumped out at me after I came home from work (from our tree in the front) and I noticed her collar was missing.

    “I didn’t even know she escaped this morning!

    “Thanks again as we love her to death. T. rescued her as a little kitten–she had the ‘cat flu’–she was sick for over 2 months–then gradually became better.

    “So sorry for the inconvenience but so very grateful.”

    The note was signed by four people and seven cats.

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