Friday, November 18, 2011

Under the House Cat

I received a call this morning from a Corvallis woman with a problem.

A cat she had fed for two years, who came with the house she rented, was injured and under the house. The previous tenant there told her, when she moved in, "this house comes with a cat you have to feed." So she has fed him.

She said she noticed he was having weakness in his hind legs starting months ago. But in the last two days, he had not come out from under the house and would drag himself to food she would put in through an opening. Her roommate attempted to crawl under the house to catch him, but the cat was able to move to a place where he could not be had.

I went over with two sizes of traps and my trusty net. I took two pieces of PVC pipe, a wooden round stick and duct tape. That's my net extender plan. I stick the wood rod up into the net handle and down into the PVC pipe, half of the length in each, then duct tape the PVC and net handle together at the joint of the two. The rod inside is to add some strength to that joint.

Nothing fancy.

The big trap would not fit under the house. In the end, I went under, with a head lamp on my head, my rain jacket for protection and some gloves. I pushed my net ahead of me and scooted on my elbows. I found the cat quickly.

He was out of reach of my net and of me, behind a plastic pipe, ground level. The pipe angled up to the bottom of the house, but I had to find an elaborate route around that pipe to find a place I could get under it. I was then stopped by a low beam point, with dirt mounds making the space to narrow for my girth to slither under it. I looked for another way to him.

I went back to the opening, to use the light there, to extend my net, duct taping its handle to the pvc pipe, extending its reach, weakly, by four more feet. I was able to just get it over him, reaching from my stomach forward under a pipe as far as I could. I still couldn't pull him to me, because the extended handle was too weak at the duct taped joint.

I found another way around, to get closer and was then able to pull him to me and get him gently into the small trap I had, all while under the house. He'd howl some in pain now and then. I'd seen him try to move. He'd rolled onto his back and when he did, he went into a seizure, legs flailing. In the end, he did stand up and walk a few feet, then pulled himself forward by his front legs.

I was glad to get him out from under there even though his prognosis probably is dire. Better though not to die slowly and in pain under that house.

I came home stiff and filthy. My clothes are in the wash and I took a shower.

My gloves are still somewhere under that house.

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