Eddie George 2.0

by Tabitha Kidwell

I’ve never been a huge animal lover. Someone gave me a Hamster named Shithead in college, and he was pretty fun. I would put him in a yellow ball, let him run around, and then forget about him until someone down the hall would roll him back to my dorm room. Otherwise, dogs and cats basically just seem like little creatures that make your house dirtier and knock over glasses of water. I don’t especially dislike them, I’m just indifferent to their existence or their presence in my house.

So when I heard a loud meowing coming from somewhere near my back yard one morning, I basically just ignored it. When it was still going strong that evening, I decided it was time to investigate. I pulled up a chair to the wall separating my backyard from the backyard of the unrented house next door, and came face-to-face with the noisemaker. He looked right at me, and meowed a meow that was very easily interpreted as “HELP!”

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My theory was that the cat had climbed over the wall, then got stuck there because there was nothing to help him climb back over. I tried to call the number listed on the rental sign, but got no answer. (This may also explain why the place has never been rented!) I thought maybe he was hungry, so I opened a can of tuna and threw it over. Then I was worried he was thirsty, so I slid a container of water over the wall in the hope that it would land right side up with its contents intact. It did not. I soaked a sponge and tossed it over, thinking he could suck the water out. I tried the number again. Still no answer.

So I went to bed, but I could hear his plaintive meowing all night long. It made me think of another cat far away. My sister Katie adopted Eddie George the cat a couple of weeks after moving into our house at 222 W 2nd Avenue. She opted for a 7-month old rather than a tiny kitten, reasoning that the kittens probably got picked first. I would reason that that meant she was getting a rejected kitten that had now grown to a surly adolescent with abandonment issues. Eddie would follow Katie from room to room. When she wasn’t home, he would whine and cry would wait for her at the door. I was not a qualified substitute – he could sense my indifference to him and responded with disdain and peeing on my pillows.

Eddie was full of curiosity, but, unfortunately, the old adage did not apply to him. He had frequent emergencies, like getting stuck on top of the refrigerator, or in a tree, or on the roof of our neighbor’s 2-story house. This required rescuing by my sister or, once, by extremely conveniently located tree trimmers. And then, one September, he disappeared for over 2 weeks. Katie feared (and I hoped) that he was gone forever, but one night when I was out of town, and Katie had guests so was sleeping in my room, he returned to my bedroom window at 3 AM! Had he been waiting for me to leave so he could return in such a spectacular way? Maybe. Katie was overjoyed. I was, as always, indifferent. Except that Eddie then made it a habit of coming to my window in the middle of the night to be let in. Our house was almost 125 years old, and the ancient screens couldn’t be removed, so I had to either ignore the meowing 2 feet from my head or go let him in the back door. Sometimes he wouldn’t come down and I would have to lug out a chair and grab him. In the middle of the night.

So, I believe that somehow Eddie has deployed one of his far-flung relatives to seek me out as a reluctant feline rescuer. His friend was still meowing up a storm the next day, so I came up a plan. I took this big stick that was in my backyard:

I'm not sure why it was in my backyard...

I’m not sure why it was in my backyard…

and fed it over the wall on the other side of the house (which led to the outside rather than to my backyard), this creating a little ladder he could use to claw his way out.

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I waited a little while to see if anything happened, but then I had to go to work. I assume he escaped, because when I got home, there was no more meowing. I felt pretty good about my service to the furry creatures of the world.

Until yesterday, that is, when I heard meowing from the backyard of the house on my other side. I peeked over the wall and saw the same cat – but he wasn’t the one meowing! He’d invited a friend! There was some other, invisible cat, wailing away either inside that house or in the next one over. The house on the end is vacant, and the house directly next to me is rented, but the inhabitants live in another town and only stay there a couple of weeknights to avoid driving home after work. I assume they’ll come sometime and let out the trapped cats. Or maybe they are actually their cats, and they are just meowing because they want more tuna? Or maybe they are messing with me? I don’t know. But I think I have done all I can for the cats of the world. They’re on their own. Someone tell Eddie George to stop climbing trees.

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