Cat scratch fever and the great escape

Two of my cats are rescues from Egypt. They are nuts, especially Mark, who is huge and lean and retains much feralness deep in his DNA.

Egyptian street cats should not be adopted here in Canada, no matter how adorable they are as kittens. Trust me on this.

I’ve been working in the yard and they are begging to come outside. They climb the screens.

A few days ago, I let them on the back deck. Cairo immediately plopped herself in a sunbeam. Mark ran the perimeter of the yard, howling at the top of his lungs. All was fine as I raked and weeded, talking away to both of them, who answered like the small unruly children they are.

Mark found a breach in the fence, gave a single curious yip, and dared me to come after him. He looked at me and blinked slowly as I hollered for backup after spotting my neighbour, Sarah, pull in from school. She volunteers at the local animal shelter and is also my cat sitter. She loves the little lunatic.

Within half an hour, she was questioning her love. We were down in the muck unsuccessfully bribing a cat. He stayed just out of reach, then finally took off. I sent her home, and went inside to consider that I was now a two-cat woman and may actually have a new lease on life.

I glanced into the yard an hour, later in time to see Mark strolling on the wrong side of the fence. I gingerly approached him, and he hesitated. I leaned over and grabbed him, and was rewarded with a deep scratch on my chest. I will be wearing turtlenecks as we head into summer.

My sister Gilly stopped by a little later; she also volunteers at the animal shelter. As we spoke, she pointed to the shed. Mark had climbed to the top of it. I very calmly yanked open the screen door.

“Marco, Marco, you’re going to die, get down!” I screamed.

Gilly laughed.

“He’s a cat, he’s fine,” she said, as he dove over the fence into another yard.

She started giving me rescue people tips while I planned my life with just two cats. Cairo sat at the back door, yelling her head off at her stupid brother.

We eventually spotted him at the fence line, crying.

The fence is high. My neighbours weren’t home. I ran and got a lawn chair and told Gill to keep talking to him.

“You’re going to go over the fence? Are you bendy enough?” she asked me.

“I’m fine. I can do this,” I replied.

“You’re wearing slippers,” she said.

I stood on the lawn chair and slung myself to the top rail. Mark and Gill both watched as I heaved my decidedly more-bendy-in-my-dreams body over. I clucked to Mark, who took off like a balloon across a parking lot on a windy day. We both called to him, trying to corral him.

I eventually got my hands around him and tossed him over the fence.

Gilly handed me the lawn chair so I could get home, and took Mark into the house. I got stuck on the way back, my feet exactly one inch too far apart as I straddled danger and safety. Praying nobody would choose now to look out their back windows, I finally collapsed into my yard.

Gilly came back, and we both stared at the lawn chair in the neighbour’s yard. Our surreptitiousness would be sorely challenged if we left behind such a big clue.

Using a two-by-four, I tried to lever the chair over. It came maddeningly close and fell.

Gilly got a rake, we managed to get the chair up into the air and grab it.

Mark yelled from the back door and Cairo swatted him in the head.

Free to a good home: hellcat.

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5 responses to Cat scratch fever and the great escape

  1. Rob says:

    I have two lovely Maine Coons who don’t show any interest in going outside. You would hate them ’cause you’d have nothing to write about.

  2. Mitch says:

    No one can let their cats out in the Shoreacres neighbourhood as we have coyotes living in the creek ravine. Used to be foxes. City needs to address this.

    • Zena says:

      Aside from not feeding them (intentionally, with treats and/or garbage, and unintentionally—with snack pets), there’s not much that can be done. Coyotes are extremely resilient and adaptable creatures. Culling them only makes them breed faster. The only thing that keeps them at bay is not giving them easy access to food sources.

      It’s better for all involved—the pets, the birds, the drivers who inadvertently run over animals darting out in to traffic—to keep them indoors. They live longer that way.

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