Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"911, What Is Your Emergency?"

We now return to KITT-FM, where it's all kittens, all the time. And now, broadcasting live from our studios in Purrbank, Cat-i-fornia - heeeeeere's your hostess, Mother Catresa!

Hi folks!

I knew that the 911 operator would send help for me. She just had to. Remember all those old shows that showed firefighters rescuing cats out of trees?

And besides, I didn't know what the heck else to do but call.

"Allegheny County 911, what is your emergency?" the female dispatcher's voice said as I nervously paced along my front lawn, after checking out the second-floor window to the kittens' room. It was just after midnight on Sunday.

"Can you hear me?" I said.

"Yes, maam," she replied. "What is your emergency?"

"This is a weird call," I warned her. I then explained the peculiar - but, to me, scary - nature of my emergency.

"I have a litter of kittens trapped in an upstairs bedroom," I said. "They knocked down this baby gate inside their room, and the gate wedged itself against the door. It's stuck, and I can't get in. And the only other way in to this room is through my upstairs window. And I don't have a ladder!"

Now, I know that 911 operators surely have had far more bizarre calls than this one. Still, I could hear her confusion during a pregnant pause.

"Let me make sure I understand," the operator continued. "You said kittens are trapped in a room because of a baby gate?"

"Yes," I confirmed. "They have a baby gate just behind the door to keep them from running out of the room, and they knocked it over, so it's stuck between the door and the bookcase. And I have no way to get to them. They're really small!"

Just minutes before, I was heading upstairs with the kittens' goodnight dinner of canned chicken and ocean whitefish food when I made the scary discovery. The door would not budge. So that was the thud I had heard while watching TV!

Trying not to panic, I started kicking at the door, hoping to dislodge the gate - but scared of hurting the kittens, whom I could see eyeing me curiously through the little crack I managed to create. But that's as far as the gate would go. I could not reach my arm inside. And after kicking several times, I could hear the wood start to splinter on the bottom left corner, by the hinge.

"Help me, Jesus!" I prayed. "Help me break into the room without causing severe damage to my house."

The only other option, I knew, was somehow climbing up a steep ladder, squeezing myself through the long, skinny, upstairs window, and jumping down, hoping not to break anything or land on a kitten. The phrase "between a rock and a hard place" came to mind.

I felt relieved when the operator responded.

"Alright, maam," she said. "They said they'll come over to help."

I was expecting to see a fire truck, but instead, a police car pulled up to the curb, and a nice young officer stepped out.

"Thank you so much for coming, officer!" I said. He took a look at my outside window, and then asked to look at the inside, because he didn't want to call the fire department unless necessary.

I showed Officer Friendly inside and up the stairs. He started doing the same thing I was - kicking at the door - but he's a strong guy, and I worked on pushing in the upper portion, while he kicked the bottom. I told him, while he worked, that this must be one of the weirdest calls he's had in awhile.

"Oh, you'd be surprised," he said. "We get a lot of calls like this."

"This" probably meant calls about animals, or people being trapped. I'll bet this particular circumstance was unique.

After a couple of minutes, he barely snaked his hand through the door, and pulled up the gate.

"Hallelujiah!" I exclaimed, just thrilled to see the kittens' sweet faces, safe and sound. And to see this incident end without having to file a homeowner's insurance claim (one that would probably be denied, anyway).

I thanked the officer profusely and gave him a hug.

"You're the best," I said.

Then, I went upstairs to play and cuddle with my four new babies, whom I named with a chocolate motif (read my last posting for more about that.) I have Truffle and Bon-Bon (black and white males), Meltaway (orange and black male) and Lady Godiva (orange female.)

And from now on, their gate - meant to catch them when they burst out of the open door and run under my legs -  will remain outside the room, to create a holding pen for kitten overflow.

Until next time, I remain,

Mother Catresa
Patron Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")