I’d bought the house in August of 2000, and in October, the shower faucet went bad. I hired a young plumber who came and spent pretty much all day going in and out of my house. In retrospect, I am not sure he completely knew what he was doing. It cost too much, and at the end of the day, I was missing Caruso, the oldest cat, who was shy around people he didn’t know.
I had spent a couple of hours after the plumber and his buddy had left putting up new towel rods in the main bathroom where the repairs had been made. Another of my cats, a street cat I had adopted, named Queen, had been acting foolish, coming into the bathroom, caterwauling, and doing somersaults by the tub. I thought she just wanted attention.
A few hours later, I realized with a gasp that I had not seen Caruso for several hours. I called a friend and hysterically told her I thought Caruso had gotten out of the house and had tried to get back to the old neighborhood. She and her husband came and helped me go through the alleys at the old house. No Caruso was to be found anywhere.
I was tearful when I went home and laid down on my back on my bed. I kept going through the events of the day, and thought about Queen’s behavior. I got up, went back to that bathroom, and knelt on the floor next to the tub and cabinet, where Queen had been acting ditzy.
“Caruso?” I said. I heard a faint “meow,” from inside the wall. Caruso had been locked in the bathtub wall when the plumber’s access had been sealed up earlier in the day. Queen had been trying to tell me. I just wasn’t smart enough to understand her antics. By then, he had been walled up for about eight hours, and it was midnight.
The plumber’s access was inside of a cabinet, under the sink, but recessed back about three feet. I am a big girl, and the doors into the cabinet were each only about a foot across. Even if I got in, chances were I would never have been able to get back out.
I dialed the dispatch number for the city police and explained my problem. I said, “Could you send out a small police officer to crawl in there, unscrew the plumber’s access, and help me get my cat out of the wall?”
She was silent for almost a full minute. I suspect she was trying to not laugh. “I’ll see if they do that,” she said, “and then I will call you back.”
A few minutes later, she called and said an officer was on the way. He was a small cop, for sure, and he was carrying a hammer, screwdriver and flashlight, along with his standard gear. I took him back to the bathroom, and showed him the door he would need to squeeze through.
The door opening was so tight, that he had to remove his service weapon and gun belt to get in through the cabinet door. He gave me an uncertain look. “I wouldn’t know how to use it, officer,” I told him. He crawled in, unscrewed the access, and shone the flashlight inside the tub walls.
“I see him sitting there, and he’s looking right at me.”
“He won’t come out with you there, so if you leave, I can call him to come out.” By then, a back-up cop was there, just in case I was some crazed woman. They both left. I called Caruso, and he came out, and he immediately climbed in my arms. I closed up the cabinet doors and tied them shut, so no other cats could get in there.
The next day, I called the plumber back, who came and closed up the plumber’s access for me. He said his dad, who was a volunteer fireman, had already heard that his son had walled up my cat in the tub walls. I’m sure this story was the best one of the month for the police and fire department: a lady needed a small cop to rescue her cat. Thank God I live in a small town on a quiet crime night, and they had heart enough to rescue my poor curious cat.