Small Town Doings

Cool Cat Rescues
Scaredy Cat 

Another of my bygone era newspaper stories (Linda Smith)

When a man called a woman about a cat last week, he didn’t know he was going to turn the town upside down and create another laid-back country boy legend. The scaredy cat, who had been up a tree on North Lee Street for four days without food and water, simply refused to come down. Even an offer of tuna fish, placed on a limb, could not tempt the cat.

When Audis at the Humane Society learned of the dilemma, she called the county animal control. Animal control said all they could do was shoot the cat out of the tree, which so upset Audis she called the sheriff. The sheriff promptly called Water, Light and Bond, but their bucket wouldn’t go high enough. As it was, the racket of the bucket pushing up through the branches scared the cat even more and sent him out on a limb — a very spindly limb. Even a 10-foot carpeted board was pushed up as high as it would go to try to get kitty to step out on it. Didn’t work.

Attempts to rescue the suffering feline went on all day last Wednesday, drawing an ever-increasing crowd. One man stopped when he saw all those people gazing up into the tree. “What in the world is up there?” he asked out of sheer curiosity. Apparently he didn’t remember what that once did to a cat. Finally, someone thought of Billy. Billy was a telephone company employee. Telephone companies use buckets. They go real high. When Billy sauntered up to evaluate the situation, he was mobbed by questions, the main one being:

“How you gonna get ‘im down, Billy?”
Billy rubbed his mouth thoughtfully and remained mysterious.
“I’ll come back at 8:30 in the morning,” he said, “when there is not an audience.”

Visions of ladders, buckets, cleated boots, and other elaborate solutions raced through the minds of the cat-loving spectators gathered beneath the tree. Billy was their last hope, and many set their alarms for the Thursday morning spectacle. Bright and early Thursday morning, Billy arrived at Audis’s door.

“Cat’s down,” he drawled.
“It’s not 8:30, yet,” said Audis.
“Got ‘im last night,” said Billy.
“Last night!”
“Yep. Went back late when everybody was gone. Punched a hole in a can of sardines, wrapped it in a rag and nailed it to the tree.”
“How high did you have to climb?
“Didn’t,” said Billy. “I nailed it to the trunk and pretty soon every cat in the neighborhood was congregated. That cat in the tree just came right on down.”

Audis was terribly impressed.
“How’d you think of that?” she asked, with that slightly disappointed feeling of anti-climax.
Billy shrugged with perfect Clint Eastwood coolness.
“I’m a country boy,” he drawled.

And that just seemed to explain it all.

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