It's getting toward the wee small hours of the night. I've been working sporadically over the past two or three days on a blog summarizing my first week back from the trip to Provence. Making good progress, too. Tonight would have been the night.
At 8:15 pm, I heard persistent kitten mewing and went to listen. It seemed to be coming from the garage ... the closed garage. This afternoon, well, make that Friday afternoon at this point, there'd been a couple of little piles of poop -- drying -- and a puddle of pee right by the garage door when I was on my way to the post office. Thursday afternoon, I'd left the garage door open after coming home from the post office until I went out to get the newspaper awhile later. One of the feral kittens must have gotten locked in overnight. It occurred to me that Striped Kitten hadn't been around for food during the day. That's not too unusual these days, as the two feral kittens, feral mama and homeless Black Kitty have been appearing independently.
|Stripes, the unseen kitten|
So I went out at 8:15 and opened the garage door for awhile, clattered around a bit, and hoped the kitten had somehow darted out. But the mewing persisted, even with the door open. I got a flashlight, looked around under shelves and in piles of tools and electrical cords, but no signs of a kitten. That's their behavior, though, to hide when I get near them.
I put a bowl of food out to lure him/her out. (Okay, I'm going to call it him, just for convenience.) No luck. Still hearing mewing, sometimes loud and demanding, as Striped Kitten is inclined to do. I searched and searched. Silence as I rummaged through boxes and bags, then if I moved away, another sharp mew. I was having trouble localizing it because he'd shut up as I approached the sound. I cleared pathways in "stuff" where a kitten might get trapped to give him a chance to escape when I moved away.
I called Chloe into the garage to see whether she could find the kitten. She went out, took a quick circuit of the near side of the garage, then uncharacteristically headed right back into the house. Neither Henley nor Jean-Luc, who'd been forbidden to go into the garage in the past, would venture out the door held wide open for them. No help there.
I was lying on the hard garage floor pointing a flashlight under tool boxes and shelves and the undercarriage of the car. MEW! practically in my ear. Could the kitten have gotten behind my late husband's big gun safe? I looked at the side toward the wall and it was jammed full of cardboard boxes from floor to the top of the safe, which is probably about six feet tall. Access to the back from the other side looked pretty well blocked by shelving and bottles of ... car and garage stuff.
The only way he could be behind the safe would be if he'd jumped on top and fallen down behind. I rolled the hydraulic car lifter (or whatever you call it) out of the way so I could climb a step stool up to look over the top. I shone the flashlight through the cobwebs and dust and there was the little striped face looking up at me, six feet down in a space about four inches wide. I couldn't tell if he was injured or stuck. The safe is outrageously heavy. Would the fire department do a kitten rescue this late at night?
I began to pull out all the cardboard boxes completely wedged in along the side of the safe. They were boxes that long guns had come in. Weren't they supposed to go with the guns? Well, too late now. I contemplated whether I could reach back and around the corner with a trash grabber. No. But if I moved out the shelving and the bottles of car and garage stuff, I'd have access directly to the back with the grabber.
I called Sister and Brother-in-Law for moral support and some help as I plunged into prospective presence of -- shudder -- spiders in those cobwebs, then went to change into grubby clothes. I got back to the garage before they arrived and climbed the step stool again to check on the little monkey. Gone! He must not have been injured, and had been able to back out. I wouldn't have to move shelving.
Sister and BIL arrived around 11 pm and we thought we were in the clear to go watch International House Hunters for awhile.
MEW! What the heck?
Cutting it short, we spend another hour or more searching the garage for the invisible cat, who would shut up when we were there, then taunt us when we went back inside the house. They left around one, thinking we'd left the garage door open and surely the kitten had fled and I sat down to pen this tale when MEOW! wafted from the garage. More searching in vain. I put bowls of catfood and water in the garage, since he hadn't eaten in quite awhile, also thinking I'd be able to tell in the morning whether he was trapped by whether the food was gone. I can't leave the garage door open all night or big animals come in and rip into the bags and barrels of catfood.
Mew. Hah! The food was partially gone. I opened the door for a little while. Closed it again. Mew. Food was gone. Opened the door a longer while and went away. I closed it just awhile ago and I closed the door into the garage from the house. There's no food there now, only water. At 3 a.m., so far so good.
I make no further promises about seeing you tomorrow.