We had our first (and hopefully) last CATastrophe recently.
George and Gracie had been getting more and more comfortable being outside on their harnesses and graduated to having a length of line attached to give them access to further corners of the campsite. All was going well...for a while.
Then we had neighbors stop over to say hi and George freaked out and took off like a bolt. I wasn't too worried as he was in a secure harness that fastened around his neck and his chest. That relief was short lived.
After wrapping his leash around the table legs three times in a blur of motion he managed to slip out and was streaking across the campsite and into the wooded area behind us. This was not good.
Left Brain had the foresight to scoop up Gracie and toss her into the RV before setting off with me after George, who now decided to try some tree climbing. Up up up he went until he settled in on a branch about 30 feet up. This was defintely not good.
We coaxed, pleaded, begged and threatened. Nothing worked. We tried food - apparently being terrified out of your mind shuts down the appetite. It doesn't seem to do that for me, nothing shuts down my appetite.
He looked totally baffled to find himself up a tree. His expression said it seemed like a good idea at first, but now what? Where is the reverse? As he sat up the tree yowling and crying we scrambled for ideas as to what to do.
|This is how it could have happened, but we didn't go this route.|
By now Left Brain had gone to the office and consulted with Jack, one of the managers, and they came back with a really long ladder. I was afraid the racheting noise it made as extended would frighten him further, but he stayed on his branch. I guess if the helicopter that flew over with mosquito pellets didn't freak him out, the ladder was inconsequential.
Jack and I held the ladder steady as Left Brain kept going upwards until he reached George. Talking to him in a calming voice he got ahold of his scruff and one leg and managed to pry him off the tree trunk while maintaining his balance at the top of the ladder.
Holding the cat in his left hand he slowly made his way back down the ladder. I moved into position to take George as soon as he was close enough. Bad move. Apparently George was not expecting another person to be grabbing him and he erupted into a fury of fur, teeth and claws.
He started to run deeper into the woods and I managed to get hold of a rear leg and tail to pull him back. This is where it really got ugly. He seemed to turn himself inside out and upside down and spin counterclockwise three times all the while raking with all four feet and biting.
Left Brain and I lost our grip on him, partially due to the pain and shock of all the blood running down our arms and he galloped towards the RV. Thank goodness, it was our RV and he went in a good direction.
First he was on the wheel axle and I tried to crawl underneath to get a grip on him, but he slithered his way higher and up into the engine. Oh crap, now what will we do?
But Left Brain was one step ahead of me (as he usually is) and he was already inside the RV and in action. He removed the screws from the hump between the two front seats and very quietly lifted off the cover. At first he couldn't see him, but then he spotted the back of his head as George was watching me trying to advance with a now very bloody quilt.
I heard Left Brain yell "I got him!" and I ran into the RV, not sure how he could get the cat from inside, but then I was not yet aware of his level of genius.
Once he had an eye on George's scruff, he took immediate action and grabbed him and somehow manuevered him through the engine and up into the RV. He was safe and in the RV! And we are leaking blood like a bad war movie.
After we washed our wounds and applied some antibacterial ointment I checked on George to see for myself that he really was indeed inside the RV. He was in the same hiding spot as the day he came into the RV for the first time. I figured now was not the time to try to pet him and just left him alone.
That evening Left Brain and I shared battle wounds with our scratches, scrapes and punctures. My left hand was throbbing with pain that night, as was his, but by the second day it was feeling better, even though the swelling still prevented bending my index finger.
George pretty much stayed a recluse for a day and a half, only coming out to eat and use the litter box, but allowed us to pet him and even pick him up quite soon.
This has probably set him back a bit on his adjustment and we won't try taking him outside again as he seems to be much happier as a strictly indoor cat. His papers from the shelter mentioned that he had a fear of the outdoors, but we thought with time and going slow he might overcome that. Now it doesn't seem like a goal we want to pursue any further.
Gracie seems to really enjoy being outside on the leash and harness and we'll keep working with her so she can enjoy that part of her new RV'ing live. George seems very content to sit in the window and just watch what goes on outside.
Long Live the Queen of Tree Climbing Cats