Herding Cats


Unlike most normal people, my husband and I have literal experience herding cats. Last Christmas after attending a family breakfast, we stopped by my recently deceased father’s house to attempt for the fourth or fifth time to extricate his pet cat. The cat had been trapped inside his house without food, water, or a litter box it cared to use for almost two weeks. The thinking was if it got hungry enough, it would surely run for freedom the next time the door was opened. We were wrong. No one had seen the thing since my father had passed but we could see the evidence of its existence all over the carpet.

The cat was ferrell and only allowed my father to touch it. Anyone else it hid from. You can see the problem? And you can imagine the mess? It was a bloody pickle of a situation. But dead cats make a gooier, smellier mess than live cats and they aren’t nearly as much fun to pet. We were really motivated to set the thing free.

So there we were looking for this cat on our first Christmas together as husband and wife. I was seven months pregnant and waddling. Terry was exhausted from dealing with a moody (yes we are going to go with moody) pregnant wife whose father had just passed. And we were stepping over piles of cat poo turning my Dad’s house literally upside down trying to find a cat that did not want to be found. It was a bit surreal.

When we were done it looked like someone had robbed the place. At last, the mattress and box springs were flipped over in the last room we checked. Lo and behold, there was the furry, hissing, little monster.

I ran/waddled down the hall closing the doors to all rooms except the kitchen/den combo where the back door was located. I opened that door thinking surely the cat, driven by a sense of self preservation, would run outside. Terry and I congratulated ourselves on our cleverness and proceeded to flush the cat out of the back bedroom by poking it with a stick.

And the damned thing ran past the back door into the kitchen. It lept onto the counter and skidded, eventually wedging itself hissing and clawing behind the microwave. And the meaning of the phrase herding cats became apparent to us. We had overestimated our opponent. We scratched our heads. What now?

Terry guarded the hallway as I went room to room searching for some way to block the huge, open expanse of den so that the cat would have to run out the door. The best I came up with was a king sized sheet. So I stood in the living room waving that sheet as I dodged side to side, screaming and stomping. I was doing my best to make sure that cat didn’t want to go back the way it had come. I can only imagine what that looked like. Terry valiantly tossed the microwave aside and began his own shouting and waving routine to drive the cat toward the door. And after what seemed like an eternity of dancing, stomping, dodging back and forth by both us and the cat, it finally ran outside. And it kept running. It had crossed two acres at full speed and hadn’t slowed a bit when it entered the woods adjacent to my Dad’s house. It was unharmed, at least physically, when last we saw it.

We looked at each other. And we laughed like lunatics. Because sometimes laughing is only sane thing to do. And this was just such a situation. I think we made a fairly good team at that particular task.

And it looks like the next few years are going to be something like that event. At least in the herding of cats sense. Laughing like lunatics may well be our only defense.

Why? (And to the point already!)

Assuming all goes well, we are ecstatic and honestly somewhat panicked to announce a cute little bundle of Surprise! should be here sometime in March.

That means two very wee ones joining forces to rule our house with iron diapers next spring.

Here goes nothing…again.

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