feline math – nine lives times two minus one


In September, two cats started hanging out more often in our yard, communicating through the window with Reno, 2012’s rescue. We think he shared the info about good treats and soft beds with his buds. Of course, we offered food and they scarfed it up. Hubs built a café for the kitties, to shelter them while they feasted, plus he fashioned a cathouse for each. Since both are males and not thrilled with seeing each other, we put one abode on each side of the deck.


We shall say one fella has seen the inside of a surgery room and one has not.

During travel time, our pet sitter took awesome care while we were away, and to make things simple, we called the orange tabby, OC (orange cat) and the striped guy with socks, Boots. I know, not too creative. But hey, we were under the impression that they were neighbors’ cats and we weren’t going to assign names and get attached.  😉

cat cafe

OC has ventured in and out of the house, not bothering the two indoor kitties, Sirra and Reno. So it was a no-brainer when we opted to gather up Boots last week, prior to the polar vortex descending upon the Deep South, and shuttle him into the garage. We’d been able to pick him up to pet him but never attempted to carry him.

cat house

Boots purred as I held him.  I felt scabs, on his ears, tummy and back. Some fresh. He shivered and shook but was compliant and very mild-mannered as I tucked him into the garage with fresh feline supplies.

Never would I imagine how much he enjoys the indoors. He loves the isolation and his wounds are healing with some meds applied twice daily. I digress.

Our revolving door policy would not keep OC indoors during the chill, since he loves roaming nights. The garage was definitely out since our new resident Boots was totally unpacked and settled.

And we were trying out names. Nix Boots. Hawthorne? Maybe.

We considered OC’s name, certainly not permanent. What about Hemingway, since that fits his laid back, life-on-his-terms spirit? Probably.

Back to the arrival of cold weather. The only option left for Hemingway to escape the chill would be my office. He was on board, totally, door closed, lights out.

Ah, we felt so good, four cats – YIKES! – and all would be warm from that nasty frost.

Morning came, and we checked on Hemingway first.  He had disappeared!

Oh yeah, our little Houdini Hemingway pulled up the floor heat register and slithered down the ductwork!

inside house duct

Panic stricken, we flipped off the heat, threw on clothes over our pjs, and headed outside to the crawl space. Perhaps he was down there, stuck under the house, able to exit the ductwork, but trapped because the crawl space door stays locked and closed.

under house duct

Nope, but we heard his cries inside the duct work, about two feet from the door. Immediately we scrambled underneath the house, clawed at the metal casings in hopes of loosing our captured cat.

Some rescuers we were!

I’ll spare you the rest of the details – although it took the better part of an hour to slice the space in half – and say Hemingway is fine. Vet says so.

However, a room without ductwork , my closet,  is the ONLY place for him, to spread out and snooze, play hide and seek in the dark, and feel cozy.

inside closet

Hawthorne was none the wiser. I believe he slept through the entire ordeal. As did Reno and Sirra. Who could blame them, all snuggled down for a long winter’s nap.



  1. Love your cats and cafe Roxie. What a great story. Typical cat !! My Sonic gets into cupboards so fast I hardly ever know until 10 minutes later when there’s a meow and scratching from somewhere. ;D Ralph xox 😀

    1. lol, I love the name Sonic, fits a cat, Ralph.
      I can only imagine what goes through a cat’s mind, “Hey, this looks good, I’ll check it out! I’ve got another five lives, here goes!” 🙂

  2. I can relate to this. I have 4 only one of which was planned. (Do they have Planned Parenthood for cats?) Although I’ve seen my share of antics, no one has pulled up a heating vent! Houdini indeed!

    1. ROFL, they should if they don’t! Gosh, Kate, I’m so glad to know I’m not alone. Have to start an over 3 cat owner’s group!
      I know our vet offers discounts to pet owners with four or more pets – I wasn’t trying to qualify 🙂

  3. OMGoodness –
    OC/Hemingway looks just like our Butterscotch did – he was so beautiful, the most gorgeous green eyes, and the best cat ever! Also a great hunter, who left many an interesting trophy at the door. LOL
    Our entire family misses him, and talks about him to this day. Butter was only interested in being cuddled, on his terms – unless of course – our eldest daughter picked him up by his front paws and laid him over her shoulder, carrying him around the house like a child. She’d pat him, and hum to him, and he’d just purrrrrrr. He never said no to that. LOL
    What a great house your cats have happened upon – obviously word has gotten out about the great kitty digs. LOL
    Thanks for the memories!!

    1. awww! Butterscotch, what a name! Yes truly nothing like our kitties, Claire. Glad I could stroll down fond memory lane.
      speaking of, my first cat was a neighborhood adoption – shared – with a wonderful elderly lady. I was hooked then, the sound of the cat’s motor, imagine, audible sheer pleasure, even when the cat was upside-down!

  4. Quite a scary experience for both you and your cat. Like you say, four Cats Roxie, yikes. I have two and the flat resembles a feline palace. I don’t get to sit in my expensive recliner because when I am done with my daily activities there’s a cat snoozing there.

  5. Love this great story. You guys are very kind and those kitty cats are very lucky. No wonder felines come to your house – I think the word has spread in the cat world about the Hanna House. 🙂

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