Monday, June 20, 2011

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

For the past few days, we've been missing our cat, Obi.  Now I'm not sure exactly how many days he's been missing and that's not because I'm an irresponsible pet owner.  It's because our neighbors, Mike, Kelly and the boys, are his surrogate family.  They have a cat box, cat bowl with gourmet food, and Obi's best friend, Ty (who is an enormous black lab).  They love Obi as much, if not more, than us and he wanders freely between the two homes.  So when I started thinking on Friday that I hadn't seen Obi around I wasn't that concerned because I thought he was at Kelly's.  Little did I know that she was thinking the same thing.  So when she finally inquired on Saturday morning if I'd seen Obi, I started to get concerned.

Skip forward to Sunday night when our efforts to comb the neighborhood calling for the cat, putting up posters and sending out a search party (aka Ty, the enormous black lab who Obi always comes to) hadn't netted a cat yet.  Oh, we had reportings of hearing cat meows, but no sightings.  Until Mike went out on another search party adventure with Ty and found him.  Two stories up on the top of a roof!!!!

Yes, for two or three days Obi had sat in 100 degree heat, blazing sunshine, 80% humidity, utterly exposed on a roof.

The people who live under this roof (four families because its a four-plex), had called Animal Control (twice) who said they couldn't do anything but would come back on Monday with a ladder.  Helpful.  Thankfully, one of the families had tried to throw food up onto the roof and a water bottle with a cracked lid so that he might get some water.  But other than that, they let the cat sit on the roof.

But this was our cat and waiting another day for a ladder didn't seem like a good plan, so we called 911.  Don't you always see in the movies and cartoons the fire department coming to rescue a cat stuck up a tree?  Well, they don't on Okinawa.  We were told this was not a medical emergency but an Animal Control situation so they would not dispatch the fire trucks.  Apparently being without food or water on a hot roof for three days only constitutes a medical emergency for humans, and not animals.  911 referred me to PMO, which is the military police.  So I called PMO who said they couldn't do anything but call Animal Control.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  And that pattern was going nowhere, so luckily Mike and Matt, our neighbors, think the same way as us and decided to take matters into our own hands.  (Kelly and David are in Tokyo otherwise they would have been the first ones out there.)

The Rescue of Obi
Armed with nothing more than a three-step ladder (no one here has anything bigger because we don't do our own maintenance!), Mike and Matt conned one of the families (believe it or not, one man refused to let us onto his balcony, but that's another story I'm going to leave behind) into letting them climb out of their bedroom window onto a sort of landing which runs half way up our housing units.  From there it's another 10-15 feet up to the roof.  Matt (who is thankfully tall and strong and fearless) climbed on the ladder but was still another four feet shy of the roof.  So there's Matt reaching up to Obi trying to coax him to jump, and Obi peering off the top of the roof, but staying put.  So they tried putting bricks under the ladder to lift it up more.  Which left Matt 6 inches shy of the top.  He could touch Obi, but Obi picked this time to be coy and playful and rub on Matt and lick his fingers, instead of being helpful.  Once, Matt grabbed Obi and tried to pull him off, but the fool cat clung for dear life to the roof and refused to come down.  By this point Matt is doing some pretty crazy acrobatics and amazing feats of strength (all supported by his dad) so with one last attempt, Matt grabbed Obi and yanked him off the roof and into his safe arms.  Drama over.

So today, looking no worse for the wear, Obi is one more life less.  Aren't we fortunate cats have nine?

See those two shining eyes, that's Obi!

Getting out onto the landing.

Our hero! (and Obi)

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