Cats Have Nine Lives? We’ve used at least three.

Cats Have Nine Lives? We've used at least three.

Cats Have Nine Lives? We've used at least three.
Cats Have Nine Lives? We’ve used at least three.

Cats Have Nine Lives? We’ve used at least three.

Cats Have Nine Lives? We’ve used at least three. Dugan is the name of our senior Siamese cat that lives with us. You wouldn’t guess it by looking at him, but he will turn 17 this summer, which is equivalent to 84 years in human years. Even though he has a tiny heart murmur and some renal function difficulties, none of which can be seen by anyone other than his veterinarian, he doesn’t look a day older than 10, and we firmly anticipate that he will have a few more excellent years left to live.

We know for a certainty that Dugan has used up at least three of the nine lives he was born with, and it’s likely that he’s used up more than that; we just don’t know about them. Dugan’s life has been filled with quite a bit of excitement. Around the age of three is when he made his first fortune off of the first life he lived. Before I would leave the house to go to work in the morning, I would always try to make eye contact with Dugan to ensure that he was doing well and that nothing was wrong. One morning I woke up and looked for him all around the home, but I couldn’t locate him anywhere. After searching every closet and looking under each bed, I decided to start calling out for him. I could make out his response to me, albeit very weakly, but I had no way of knowing where he was. I was able to hear him most clearly in the family room, namely next to the fireplace. I opened the glass doors on the remote possibility that he had found a way to get inside, and as I did, I heard him even more clearly than before.

After ascertaining that he was neither sitting in the chimney or outside the home close to the chimney, I realised that he must be hiding in the wall that is adjacent to the chimney. Evidently, during one of his early morning exploits, he had climbed up into the drop ceiling in our unfinished laundry room, travelled along the duct-ways for our furnace, come to the end of the trail at the far end of the house, and fallen down between the outside wall and the inside drywall in the space next to the chimney. When we found him, he was wedged between the two, and we couldn’t get him out.

Because my husband was out of town, I decided to contact the local animal rescue organisation to find out whether they might assist me in removing him from the wall. They attempted to wrench open the metal chimney guard but were unable; when they departed, his meowing was significantly weaker, which may have been related to his frustration. My grandfather recommended placing tuna fish near the entrance he’d crawled into in the hopes that he’d smell it and climb out to it, but this plan was unsuccessful since there was no way for him to climb out of the spot where he’d fallen in the first place.

Finally, I decided to call a neighbour who helped me cut a hole in the drywall that measured ten inches and was located just over the mantle of our fireplace. We made use of a flashlight and a mirror to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Dugan was, in fact, caught behind the mantle, close to the base of the fireplace. At this time, he had been unable to escape for at least eight hours, and he was doing all in his power to do so. However, the gap that he had fallen into included drywall on two of the sides, metal flashing from the chimney on the third side, and exterior panelling on the fourth side. All of these sides were vertical, and there was nowhere for him to gain a decent hold to climb up and out. And the distance between them was too great for a hand to reach him. Therefore, we lowered a rope that had a noose attached to the end of it, with the intention of slipping it over his shoulders and under his arms. Which, of course, we were unable to do due to the fact that he was a raging, exhausted, hungry, and thirsty cat who was unable to assist with our plan.

So my neighbour told me that he did have the noose around Dugan’s neck, and the only thing he could think of to do was to swiftly pull him out of the hole by his neck, and remove the noose as soon as he came out, before he strangled to death. This was the only way he could think of to save Dugan’s life. I agreed to the proposal since it did appear to be the only option, and so he tightened the noose around Dugan’s neck before, on the count of three, he lifted him out of the wall in as gentle a manner as was possible. I was relieved when he was finally free.

However, we weren’t prepared for the spinning dervish of snarling fangs and claws that burst out of the hole in the wall. Our objective was to pull him out and swiftly remove the noose, but we were caught off guard by what we saw. My neighbour took him down before either of them could be hurt despite the fact that Dugan was so afraid and enraged that he emerged from the house shooting all of his weapons. When Dugan started running up the stairs with the noose still around his neck, I became terrified that he might suffocate to death before I could catch up to him. I thus did the first thing that came to mind, which was to tread on the end of the rope, which caused him to halt dead in his tracks. After that, I swiftly raced to him, removed the noose, and watched as he ran back to the laundry area, where he looked determined to climb back up into the drop ceiling. To my great relief, I was able to thwart his preparations for yet another excursion within the confines of our walls…

A little over a year later, he went on another expedition, but this time it took place outside of the home, and it ended with him taking another person’s life. It would appear that Dugan enjoyed climbing into the boats of various neighbours in order to sleep throughout the day. They had a cover for the boat, and he would crawl up inside of it to sleep in the shadow of the boat whenever they went out on the water. The only reason we are aware of this is because one day, several of our neighbours strolled up to our house carrying Dugan and inquired as to whether or not we had been thinking about him. To tell you the truth, we hadn’t, since he frequently disappeared throughout the course of the day; nonetheless, we thanked them for bringing him home and then inquired as to what had transpired.

It would appear that they had made the decision to take their boat out on the river on that particular day, as they connected the trailer to their vehicle and drove the five miles to the location where they could launch their boat. The mother, father, two daughters, and the family dog then embarked on a relaxing boat ride up and down the river, which was interspersed with water skiing and a picnic lunch as part of their enjoyable day together. Dugan emerged from a tight spot close to the engine at some time throughout the course of their ride down the river. Their dog, Dugan, went absolutely bonkers, so the girls took Dugan, covered him in a towel, and attempted to keep him calm while the father worked on taming the angry 80-pound Labrador. Dugan was going absolutely bonkers. Suffice it to say that their delightful day spent on the river had come to an end, and they had returned to shore, loaded up the boat, driven home, and given us our cat at this point.

I think that he lost one of his lives because if any other person had spotted a cat on their boat when they were having fun on a beautiful spring day on the river, they most likely would have tossed the cat overboard and went on with their enjoyment. This is why I claim that he lost one of his life. Then, when questioned later if they had seen Dugan, they would respond with the negative and agree to keep a look out for him instead of admitting that they had seen him. Even though I have a soft spot in my heart for cats, I must admit that I could have given in to the same temptation. However, these amazing individuals were able to save our cat from the river as well as their irate dog. They finished their boat journey early, returned home, and handed our cat over to us while laughing and smiling as they recounted their adventure.

The third time he passed away, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic. Our 7-pound, declawed, neutered cat made the decision to fight a neighbourhood tom cat that was at least twice his size. Despite the fact that he put up a valiant effort, he was unsuccessful and wound up at the veterinarian with an infection and 30 stitches. It was at that time that we sealed up the laundry room and, much to the cat’s sorrow, decided to keep him indoors for the rest of his life.

A few of months ago, we were beginning to worry that we would never see him again. He wasn’t eating or drinking nearly as much, and he appeared to have far more lethargy than normal. (Yes, I am aware that it is difficult to detect lethargy in a cat due to the fact that most cats sleep for 23 hours a day anyhow. However, in this particular instance, he appeared to be even more so than normal.) We brought him to the veterinarian, and after doing a comprehensive blood test, they concluded that it was possible that he was showing signs of beginning to lose some of the renal function that is typical in a cat of his age. They advised switching his diet to one that was low in protein and phosphorus and getting him a water dish that was like a fountain that never ran dry, and now he acts like a whole different cat.

I have no doubt that they are prepared to exhaust the remainder of those lives over the course of the next few years.

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