My experience in a ‘cathouse’

By Phil Riske, Managing Editor, Rose Law Group Reporter

This is one of those you-had-to-have-been- there stories to fully appreciate it, all its angles, but here goes, anyway.

I am nauseated by a local news story this week about one man’s abuse of dozens of cats, especially when I risked life and limb to rescue one of the many cats my wife and I have adopted over the years.

It was a hot July day when I got a phone call at work from her. Our recently adopted kitty had found her way into a corner of the attic and wouldn’t come to an opening where my wife could catch her. So, up into the sweltering attic I go.

With a flashlight, I could see kitty’s scared eyes. The attic had no floor, so I had to carefully crawl across 2 x 4 beams. Sweating profusely, I managed to grab the little darling. As I backed my way to the attic door above our laundry room, I slipped, and my legs went crashing through the ceiling above our front door.

Despite hanging from the beams with my armpits, I somehow managed to toss the cat through the hole to the floor, knowing, of course, cats always land on their feet.

My wife is laughing hysterically. You have to understand when she thinks something is really, really funny, she laughs so hard as to totally lose the ability to move and breathe. I say she becomes “paralyzed.”

I’m yelling for her to get a ladder. She does finally, but it’s not tall enough to reach my feet.

With my life passing before me, I somehow managed to lower myself to the ladder and get down.

I was scheduled to attend the dedication of a new hospital emergency department that afternoon, which I did—as a patient.

When I went to wash up after getting off the ladder (my wife was still laughing), I noticed the little finger on my right hand was hanging sideways on the side of my hand.

The emergency doc put a split on my finger and suggested I see a hand surgeon.

Looking through a list of hand surgeons, I discovered Terry Happel, M.D., with whom I grew up. He had recently established a hand practice a few blocks from my cathouse. Irony number 1.

Several days later, he repaired what he called one of the worst tendon tears he’d ever seen.

Irony 2: As a result of my near-death attic adventure, it was apparent the builder had not installed insulation in that part of the attic. That was taken care of quickly and without charge.

We hadn’t decided on a name for our new trouble-causing pet, but my finger injury solved that.

Irony 3: We named our black cat Pinky.

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September 2012