Animals have played an important role in my life and many animal stories are included in my memoir. This a new story (for another memoir?), though its preface starts years ago when a pathetic starving cat showed up at our house in northern Arizona. Our latest two elderly dogs and twenty-year-old cat had died within a couple years of each other, and we persuaded ourselves that we could live without a pet for a while. After all, we reasoned, we both worked and loved to travel. We would be free!
But we couldn’t resist this pathetic creature which had somehow found her way to our secluded home on a rural dirt road. Soon we had added another dog, a Miniature Schnauzer/Westie/Lhasa Apso mix, and of course Che and Sadie moved with us to Oregon. We installed a side door into the garage with a pet door so they were free to roam our five wooded acres.
Then trouble showed up: a large young-looking gray striped female with a pink collar and bell. coming through the pet door and devouring Che’s food. We put an ad in Lost and Found; no reply. We advertised her for free; no takers. We tried to love Cloe, we really did. But she scratched our furniture and being petted on our laps often bit us, which none of our other cats had done. Still, we might have kept her if she hadn’t been terrorizing our poor old Che, then over fifteen and not too agile. We kept the pet door shut until Cloe finally disappeared to find greener pastures.
During our next trip we hired a cat sitter to look in on Che because we didn’t feel comfortable risking Cloe coming around again. We returned to find strange empty cat food cans in the garage. Cat Sitter explained that about her third visit she heard a pathetic yowling in the carport, discovered Cloe, and started feeding her. She had also advertised in Lost and Found and Free Pets.
The next logical step was to contact the Humane Society. They would take Cloe only if she was spayed and had her current shots. So off to the vet we went. Cloe had to be sedated to check her fertility status and we finally escaped $75 poorer. Back to the shelter, where Cloe had to pass a sociability test. Thankfully she didn’t bite the handler, and with a $35 “donation” we were allowed to leave her there. Getting rid of that cat cost well over $100!
Fast forward a couple of years to late 2015. Che has died and we are awash in some kind of rodents, mice, we guess. Our first hint is pink insulation chewed from our furnace ducts showing up on our heating vents. What the. . .? Then we hear rattling and knocking in a bathroom wall. Later our near-new washing machine starts gushing water from underneath and we find the drain pipe has been chewed, as well as a large hole in the dry wall. Setting mouse traps yields nothing. We hate to use poison and have dead animals in the crawl space. We need a cat!
To be continued.