I was doing custodial work for my church one morning, when I happened to walk past a window that allowed me to look down into a window well, where I saw a large scraggly cat crouching.
These window wells are perhaps 8 feet deep below ground, with a block wall on one side and a wall of windows to the basement on the other. In the past we have had skunks that fell into these pits, and cannot escape. We’ve had to call the city to send out animal control. Because how in the world do you get a skunk out of a hole? There was no way for it to escape without human assistance, and that assistance came from a bullet fired by the city worker. Everything was done to try and get the skunk into a cage, or get him to climb up some boards, but it wouldn’t cooperate. I hated seeing the skunk harmed, and its death was followed by the most god awful smell on earth. That smell still lingers to this day.
So, I’m thinking about this poor skunk as I look at this sad cat trapped in the hole. It was raining, and the cat was hunkered down from the rain. It looked so weak, and beat down. I decided to help the cat. My first thought was that the cat might be hurt, but my second thought was “To heck with that cat, it’s raining and cats can climb.” My good side won out, as it typically, eventually does. I figured the cat was hurt and needed me.
I went to the church kitchen to get some chicken from last night’s church dinner. Then, I went outside in the rain to get the cat. As soon as I approached the window well I could smell the skunk. I looked down and could see that the cat had moved to a different corner, and was still hunkered down.
I called down to the cat. “Hey Kitty kitty, are you ok baby?” I’m assuming it’s a girl. I guess I figure that a boy would not have fallen into the hole. Course, on reflection I realize that a great many boys fall into holes all the time. So, I could be wrong.
But, anyway…The cat looked up at me with those sad eyes and let out one of those heart breaking cat meows. I just knew this cat was hurt and needed me. Her meow was so sad and imploring.
I figured I’d toss down some chicken and see what happens. Maybe let her know that I’m a friend. I wanted to get kind of close to the cat with the chicken that I was tossing, but smacked her on the head instead. The chicken bounced and the cat turned away, probably thinking I was just another human tormentor.
So, I climbed down into the pit. This stinky rain drenched window well to save the poor cat. She looked at me over her shoulder as she hunkered down in the corner with sad eyes, and even sadder cries. I approached the cat, and started to think that maybe its leg was hurt, or it was poisoned, or hit by a car, then it crawled down here. This poor cat, I thought.
My shirt was getting wet from the rain and a drop of water fell from my nose as I inched closer, squatting down, and reaching out to the poor kitty with a piece of chicken in my hand. Cats love chicken.
“Here baby, it’s chicken. Let me help you little girl, “I said. I reached closer. I was almost able to touch her.
The cat looked at me over its shoulder and that sad look was quickly replaced with what I would describe as pure evil. The beast moved like lightening and before I could pull my hand away had sunk its teeth into my hand. I quickly yanked my hand back.
“You little…” I said.
But, the cat came toward me, so I rose and turned to run. As I turned I got twisted in my own feet, and almost fell to the water drenched, stinky concrete floor. Then, quicker than snot the cat jumped and latched upon my leg with its teeth and claws.
“What the…” I screamed
I reached down to grab the cat as we danced in the rain and stink together. But, the cat was smarter than me. He wasn’t going to let me grab him. Notice how this devil went from a she to a he in the blink of an eye?
As I tried to grab his wet slick body, the little ninja like critter, twisted and escaped my grasp. But, instead of letting me go he climbed up my arm with his claws, and then around to my back. I twisted in circles growling and stretching to grab the cat from my back as he ripped me with his claws and dodged my efforts. He screamed at me in some evil foreign cat language that still haunts me.
Now, I love animals. But, this cat was evil incarnate and had to go! So, I decided my only way of escape from its clutches was to fall against the block wall and smash him, or knock him loose. There was no other way, as the cat mocked me from that place on my back that no human can reach.
But, my tormentor must have read my mind, for as soon as I fell against the wall, cracking my head on a block, the creature howled and climbed up to my head, where it let out a cry of victory. Then, it dug its claws into my scalp as it leapt out of the window well, and disappeared.
I was left behind, beaten, drenched and smelling of old skunk. I felt like a fool that was tricked by a conniving cat. There’s no way to know if the cat was hurt or if I disturbed its hiding place. All I know is that it was not the first time my soft heart has led me into trouble, and it certainly won’t be the last.