My wife and I went catfishin’ last weekend.
No, It wasn’t a reaction to Arcadia Lake opening and we didn’t catch any channel cat, blue cat or flathead. We were able to bag the fabled Yellow Cat.
My mother-in-law and her boyfriend took to the highway Friday morning for some much needed rest and relaxation. Our only chore while they were away was to watch after their feline friends, Springer (a black and white fraidy cat) and her chunky buddy named Yellow Cat. Easy enough work you would think for a responsible couple such as ourselves. I mean, how hard could it be to keep up with scaredy and a well-fed cat, yellow in color, that didn’t rank high enough to earn a cute name like Tigger or Alley — just a name based on the jaundice fuzz she leaves behind on all the outdoor patio furniture.
All we had to do was feed them. Actually my wife was the one in charge of keeping them alive while I was just there for support, and that’s giving me more credit than deserved.
Friday morning, just as the happy couple were about to embark toward I-35, we heard a faint “meow” coming from above like a whiskered angel telling us cats can also go to Heaven. It was Yellow Cat, chubby but no cherub, 20 feet up in a Blackjack tree, on the muggiest day in Oklahoma since 2010, with no idea or inclination of how to get down. The incessant mantra from the sky went Meow, meow, meow followed by pant, pant, pant — repeat.
Since there wasn’t much we could do, the “parents” of this straw-colored want-to-be cheetah took off down the road hoping she would come down when she felt good and ready, leaving my dear wife and I with a six-foot ladder and a bowl of kitty food to try to bait our catch.
So I did what anyone else in my position would do, I Googled “how to get a cat down from a tree.”
After a few minutes reading, the collective wisdom of the internet led me to believe the cat would come down on its own, and if I tried to climb up it would just climb higher, so we put the rescue mission on hold with high hopes she would come down.
No such luck!
We prodded her with a long stretch of PVC pipe I put together during another episode to get my son’s remote control quadcopter out of the tree. Yellow Cat went higher!
We put an extension ladder from the roof of our house to the tree — not even a budge.
We shook and shook the bowl of kitty food like a maraca player in Havana — meow, meow, meow, pant, pant, pant.
Maybe she would come down overnight if we left her alone?
Saturday was a new day, other than the yellow sloth still stuck in the tree.
So, I called the Edmond Fire Department. I didn’t want to waste their time, but I was desperate to give my sweet wife some peace.
FYI, they don’t rescue cats anymore. The nice fellow I spoke with assured me she would come down on her own and that he’d “never seen a cat skeleton in a tree.”
So, we let her keep her post for the day, somewhat confident she would summon the courage to make it down to terra firma.
No such luck again. By Saturday evening, my wife was as “nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” and making it clear to me that Yellow Cat would either come out of the tree, or we would be up all night until she did.
It’s amazing how inventive you can be when you’re tired. My wife concocted a plan to hoist a laundry basket up to the branch where the yellow menace could jump in and be lowered to safety. I pessimistically agreed and we began the construction: some rope, some truck straps, some zip ties, a cheater bar (for leverage), and a laundry basket.
After some expert engineering, we had the rope over the branch and I pulled the basket, along with an open can of cat food, up to the branch and snugly against a limb.
Sniff, sniff, plop! We had her!
“Let it down!” my wife shouted. After my initial shock, I brought her down to safety and gave my wife a high-five.
Yellow Cat had never come near me. She only meowed her disdain as I would pass.
But after saving her from the limb that Saturday night, and a long nap on the front porch furniture, she walked by and gave me the “cat lean” on the side of my leg, leaving a swath of yellow fur on my blue pants. I guess it was her way of saying thanks.