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TBAB received special permission to use this story from Vally's book. In her association with cats, Vally's own wisdom is repeatedly triggered. Her cats are grateful for how she listens!

This is a story that Simon, a precocious Siamese, tells about his housemate - a cat named Murphy, who finds himself stuck in a very unusual place.

 

ON GETTING UNSTUCK

From Simon Says: Views From A Higher Perspective

2002 Vally M. Sharpe, All Rights Reserved

When I was a kitten, I discovered a crevice behind the wooden steps into the garage. It was just the right size for an adventurous kitten to squeeze through. More than once, M came home to find me sitting on the rafters of the basement stairwell crying to get down. I couldn't find my way back out, and it was too far for me to jump. M had learned that the hole in the garage steps allowed entrance to the space between the main floor and the basement ceiling. But enough about that for now...

Years later, M was having repairs done in the house prior to our moving to a new home. The floor around the sliding glass door leading from the kitchen to the deck had sustained water damage and needed replacing before new flooring could be installed. She hired a friend to do the repairs for her, leaving the sliding glass door open for him during the day.

On one particular day, I, as usual, was down the block visiting friends when M came home. She entered the house, changed clothes, and called for Murphy, who always appeared for dinner. But he did not. Still calling his name, she checked all the closets and under the couches, etc., but no Murphy.

I heard her calling for him from the front door and decided to go home, as it was dinnertime for me, too. M was walking back through the house when we both heard Murphy crying from a distance. The strangest thing was, however, that no matter which room we were in, it sounded as if Murphy was there. Simultaneously, M and I had the same incomprehensible thought… "Murphy is in the floor!"

As Murphy later confirmed, the rather large hole in the floor which Jack, the contractor, left while sawing new boards outside, was a bit too inviting. Unknown to Jack, Murphy had climbed down into the hole and gone exploring, only to find when he returned that the hole was gone. And so was Jack.

Now, about that little hole behind the stairs… No, Murphy didn't know about the hole, nor would he have fit through it had he known. However, M and I knew about the hole, and it occurred to us that if we could remove the top step and communicate to Murphy where the opening was, he would be able to get out of the sub-floor space.

M got a tire iron from her car and pried the nails in the step. It took her a while, but she finally removed the top riser. She called Murphy's name over and over to give Murphy a point of reference to steer toward. Slowly but steadily, a meowing sound became louder until finally, out through the fiberglass insulation popped Murphy's head. M pulled him through, brushed him off and nailed the wooden step back into place.

Once settled back inside the house, Murphy curled up next to M's feet. It was a while before Murphy went exploring again. He was a little embarrassed at first and it took some time for him to sneeze out all of the insulation fibers, but before too long he was back in rare form.

I must admit that after we had ascertained that Murphy was OK, we laughed a lot. The "day Murphy was nailed in the floor" would be a topic of discussion for a long time to come.

Murphy learned a number of lessons that day…

"Don't climb into dark holes unless somebody knows you are there."

"Curiosity sometimes really might kill the cat."

But the most important lesson was this:

When you get yourself stuck in an unfamiliar place, those who love you will call your name and draw on everything they know to help you find the way home.

2002 Vally M. Sharpe, All Rights Reserved

Vally Sharpe is co-owner of a consulting firm devoted to mentoring entrepreneurs and managers in the common sense, ethical management of their businesses. A native of Georgia, she is a former psychotherapist. She can be reached through http://www.solutionsorg.com

 

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