**ported from my medium account**
2017 started off with a bang for me.
I live in a smallish apartment with three fanciful animals. A dog, Buffy, age six and two cats, Kili and Fili, age nine months. The pair came to me to via a friend at work after I made a rather frantic plea to find something to take care of a sudden mouse issue. They’ve not only done a wonderful job of that, as you would assume they’ve added greatly to my life even if the apartment has gotten a bit smaller as a result.
Fili and Kili are indoor cats. The only time I’m aware of them being outdoors was on their way here, and while they do enjoy busying themselves around the entrance, they’ve never made a dash for the door.
Until December 31st 2016 at 0015 as I took the dog out one last time before going to bed. And it had to be the skittish one. See, their names are scarily accurate. Kili is all cuddles and grand adventures and throwing herself around the apartment with great abandon. Fili is long serious stares, attacking from the shadows, and reminders that he comes equipt with tiny instruments of death on his paws.
Fili is skittish, and does not like to be cuddled. In fact when picking him up the best way to describe his reaction is that he turns into a toy. He breathes, but that’s about it. I don’t pick him up often because I don’t wish to terrify him and it’s easier to let him make the decisions regarding touch. Yes, I let my cat give me consent before I pet him. Saves me from getting torn to shreds, saves him from being traumatized.
Unfortunately, on that fateful night, in the brisk cold of a Canadian winter, my cat, Fili, decided to panic at the sight of the dog, and flee outside of the apartment not upstairs. This of course led to led to panicked yowling and indecision. I ran forward, he ran away from me, or rather crawled, claws out screaming his lungs out; “I DO NOT LIKE THIS! WHAT HAVE I DONE! STAY AWAY FROM ME YOU FOUL CREATURE!”
He proceeded to find solace under my neighbours back porch. And continued to scream. I ran inside for treats thinking they might work, but lo, I was sadly mistaken as another feline arrived at the familiar rattle of a Temptations bag. This cat, friendly though it was, ensured that Fili wasn’t going anywhere.
He saw the other cat as it came to investigate his hiding spot and he stuck both furry middle digits up and yowled a firm ‘fuck you’ to all and sundry.
I called a friend of mine who was blessedly and thankfully awake and we attempted to lure Fili out by tying his sister to a pink harness and dragging her ass out in the cold.
It didn’t work.
I think I got another middle finger and that was it.
Left with no other options I posted on facebook and plead with local friends and cat lovers to be on the lookout in case he decided to wander once the terror displaced.
In the morning, I took the dog for a walk, and then tried to locate my poor kitty once again. I left tuna out for him and spoke with several neighbours so they knew what he looked like. My next door neighbours are absolutely the sweetest people I’ve ever met and they put a pillow out for him and I gave them a bag of treats should they see him.
I didn’t see Fili again until 2300 on December 31st.
I had to work New Year’s this year so I worked backshift on the 31st and the 1st. A friend at work very kindly took me down to my apartment to have another look and once again I tried to use his sister to coax him out. I at least got a look at him, but he wasn’t coming near me for love nor money. Disappointed but hopeful, I returned to work and rung in the new year with coworkers, returned home and went to see I could spy the cat once more.
He was more amenable to the dog than he was his sister. He was damn near ecstatic seeing Buffy outside and proceeded to dodge my every move to grab him as he showed her all his hiding spots and scratching posts. It would have been cute if I hadn’t been exhausted.
I managed to grab a few hours sleep and then trudged out into the rain and sleet to attempt another shot and dragging him in to no avail.
I ended up wet, and chilled to the bone for my trouble and the cat just blinked at me and avoided the entire thing by staying just out of arm’s reach.
Desperate measures and all that. I spoke with a friend on facebook and worked out a plan to get a live trap to contain my knife wielding mini death machine. Dad picked me up the next morning after a too short nap and I came home and set it up with food, and made another attempt with the dog.
It didn’t work.
Eventually I had to go and do adult things like laundry and wishing my father a happy birthday. Whilst waiting for him I took the dog out once more and proceeded to use her as a carrot to bring Fili up the driveway.
SOMEHOW THIS WORKED.
I panicked when he nearly got to the door because I was terrified that his sister would join him and the two would abscond on a Bonnie and Clyde-esque adventure in which they take over the neighbourhood leaving destruction and chaos in their wake. They’re crafty; I know they’re capable of this.
On went the harness again and my father arrived to find me with my apartment door open, holding one cat in a neon pink harness in one hand, while I gripped the dog’s leash for dear life in the other. Fili, bless him, was five feet away and whipping his head around between me, the door, and now the car in increasing panic.
The next twenty minutes could have been written into a sitcom for all of the ridiculousness that followed of two grown men attempting to contain a small cat and use a dog as bait. Kili continued to be useless, the harness having zapped her of her ability to move. After the aforementioned twenty minutes I gave up and returned to entrance of my apartment to release Kili back into the safety of the house.
As I closed the door I heard an offended yowl that roughly translated to “HEY FUCKER WHERE YOU TAKING MY FAMILY!”
I flung open the front door, hid behind it with Kili in one hand, the dog snugged up against me as tight as I could hold the leash in the other and I held my breath.
An interminable moment later, Fili clawed his way into the house and flew up the stairs as fast as he could. The cat came back.
If this is how my 2017 is destined to go, it’s certainly going to be a bit of a ride.