Sunday, May 02, 2010

Belly Crawling Morning

I trapped four cats for a woman a few months ago, to be fixed. She called this morning to say one had returned badly injured after disappearing for four days. She wanted help catching her, to take her to the vet and thought she was under the house.

Barely awake, from my late late night, I threw on clothes, tossed my net and a trap in the car, and headed over slurping coffee as I drove.

Once there, she yanked out a metal skirt from one side of the house but had not blocked one other exit. I thought the cat was going to be so badly injured that if I found her under the house, I would basically scruff her and put her in a carrier. That was not the case. I had to wiggle under, shoving my belly fat this way and that, to fit it through the space. I know. Not a pretty visualization.

I went under feet first, then rolled around onto my belly. The ground wasn't dirt or a vapor barrier plastic, like usual. It was rock, big sharp rocks. Pushing myself forward with my feet while propelling myself by my forearms was painful with every move on those sharp rocks. Nonetheless, I quickly scuttled forward.

I may be old and getting stiffer by the minute, but I love scuttling around under houses. Don't ask me why.

She was at the very far end, trying to get through a now blocked hole. She very easily loped right by me in the spacious underground of the underside of the house. I was yelling at the lady to cover that entry hole, yelling my head off. She later claimed she did not hear me.

The woman said the cat went under a shed then. I had seen she was limping terribly and did not look good.

I propelled myself out from under the house, cut up, filthy and bruised. The woman was not sympathetic. I heard growling under the shed where she supposedly now was and asked the woman "What is going on under there? Did you hear that?" I examined the holes beneath that shed and could see it was being accessed by nutria. I wasn't happy about laying on my belly to look under with a flashlight but I did so, and found myself face to face with a frightened raccoon. I quickly shot to my feet.

The woman said she's seen a tail disappear as something exited the shed. I was frustrated that she wasn't really watching and didn't even know if it was her cat or not. So I ran around the back and the back deck and saw her cat limping badly now, going around now to the front of the house from the back. I yelled at the woman that the cat was coming her way, to net her, since she had my net. I came back around, expecting the woman to have her, because the cat was moving so slowly but she had let her pass, then chased her, which of course did not work out and the cat had disappeared.

I was frustrated, dirty and sore. I was even more worried knowing that raccoon, possibly a mother with babies, was under one shed and they are as defensive with babies as any other mother.

But there was nothing more I could do. I so much wished I had an experienced helper along. Makes it easier for sure.

So, she said she'd go buy a fish net and I gave her a quick tutorial on how to and how not to net a cat.

I was miffed when I left because she was talking about hiring some trapper she'd hired before, to catch nutria, to catch that raccoon. I was miffed because she's a woman with a good job, who pays men, to do like work, as I did, but did not pay me, not before, when I trapped her cats and did not value my labor today enough to pay me a dime. I came home dirty, with my jeans torn and my shoulder sore. Women who discriminate and devalue the work of women, that's disrespectful. And unexpected.

It comes up for us cat trappers often. People will often pay high prices for men to come to exterminate cats, trap them and shoot them. But they won't pay a woman who comes to save them. The business of death is lucrative while the business of kindness goes unrewarded. It's usually men in the business of death while it's usually women trying to solve problems with kindness and life. So is it a man woman thing, the reason men are paid to trap and kill, while women are usually not paid, to trap and save? Or is it that killing is more valued than saving life? I don't know the answer.

I was miffed at myself also for not catching the cat, for not insisting all exits be blocked, except one, and making sure she was ready there at that one. I was miffed at myself for assuming the cat would be laid out and non mobile.

But then, the woman's call woke me up, since I had such a late night and I was not fully awake or mentally prepared when I arrived on scene. I am going to guess the cat has a cracked or broken pelvis from being hit by a car, but that's just a guess.

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