Hello Kitty, Hello Hero
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Hello Kitty, Hello Hero

Around midday, as I was working away on my laptop, my peripheral vision clocked a rapid upward movement on the tree outside our living room. Whatever it was, it was bigger than the many squirrels which frequent our back yard that backs onto a forested ravine. I turned to look just in time to see our ten month old Maine Coon kitten, Bode, fly up the leafless tree. He has only recently started going outside and has never climbed a tree. He may have been chasing a squirrel, but whatever his motivation, it was visceral. He was not thinking about how he was going to get down.

I raced upstairs to the bedroom window, yelling for my husband to come see the spectacle. From our second story bedroom window, we were at the same altitude with our furry little ward, but too far away to reach him from the window. He saw us through the window from the tree and somehow managed to convey his fear and panic in one look. He was easily twenty five feet off the ground and there were no branches to navigate down safely. Cats cannot descend trees head first and this baby did not have the experience to figure out a route backwards. To make matters worse, it looked like he was slightly wedged between two branches.

The panic translated to us immediately. We sprinted down the stairs, my husband pushing past me to get to the base of the tree as soon as possible. I grabbed a blanket and laundry basket, not knowing what else to do. Should I call the fire department? No, this is not a TV show! I hurriedly fetched my husband’s boots as he was only wearing slip-ons and already trying to ascend the tree. Proper footwear now on, he could resume the rescue mission. Bode was squirming and crying. My husband reached Bode’s level quickly, unwedged him and grabbed a handful of cat in any way he could so as not to lose him in a wriggling kafuffle. I was on the ground, at the ready, with blanket to fashion into a makeshift life net.

Our brave rescuer was precariously wedged between two diverging trunks of the tree, holding on with one hand and holding on to ten pounds of squirming fur with the other. I knew before the words were out of my mouth that it was inappropriate. But I asked any way. “Can you hold on while I grab the camera phone?” I had what came next coming, but I would have kicked myself if I didn’t ask. Who knows? Maybe he felt like he had a solid foothold and could have hung on another thirty seconds. In this case, he did not and I was instructed to catch the cat. I draped the blanket just so, creating a hammock pouch with my arms spread wide. The distance he would be let go from the tree was around fifteen feet by the time they shimmied down a bit, and to the wee cat, this was probably terrifying. He plopped right into my little rescue blanket and I bundled him up and whisked him inside to give him a reassuring cuddle.

Suffice to say that the image included is not our Bode. Also suffice to say that the real image was nothing short of spectacular. Man dangling dangerously from a tree, silhouetted against a steely cold winter forest and a freaked out kitten being gently tossed like a furry bocce ball into a blanket held by a woman in an equally furry housecoat. Just an average day in our house.

My husband, now inching his way down the tree, demanded a kiss and some praise. Happy to oblige, I shuddered to think what I would have done if he wasn’t there. Kitty was rescued, hero was rewarded, so what did I get from this drama-filled day? A renewed appreciation for the man in my life who was, for today anyway, my hero.


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