The time has now come to tell Piper's Story.
Piper is my "special" cat. I found her in a drainage pipe almost four years ago (?????FOUR?????) and rescued her. She has a special paw, what we affectionately refer to as The Claw. Behold:
Here's another angle of the magnificent Claw highlighted by the eerie glow of the computer screen:
You get the idea.
So, the story. My friend Tamara actually discovered the stuck kitty on that fateful Fourth of July. She had gone in to work on a HOLIDAY and because no one was there, she could hear, ever so clearly, the howling of an unhappy feline. Echoing. Throughout the parking garage. She called me to let me listen, and people, it was LOUD. Since I am "the" cat person, I got in my car and sped up north to the parking garage where this mysterious cat was yeowling for her life. By then Tam had identified that the sound was coming from a tiny hole in the cement wall -- a drainage pipe. About as big around as a makeup compact. If i'm exaggerating here, it's honest error because it's been soooo long. But anyway, it was clear to us that a kitty of unknown size was somehow lodged too far back in the pipe for either of us to reach -- and I wasn't sure it was a good idea to be sticking our hands into the jaws of an unknown cat anyway...
We ended up calling Animal Control for help. I guess we thought they'd have some fancy instruments for extracting kitties from tiny drain pipes. They didn't. WTF??? You'd THINK... but anyway, they were stumped as well, so THEY then called the FIRE DEPT. So here we are, two girls, two burly (yet useless) animal control guys, and one mysterious howling kitty (who had not let up ONCE during the hour or so we'd been there so far). And a firetruck pulls up. A FIRETRUCK. The whole thing. And a bunch of firemen jump off and trudge over to us to save the day. I remember being embarrassed and apologizing for dragging them to a drainage pipe, and they were like "No, it's no problem -- you just rescued us from some dumb parade." Oh yeah. It was a HOLIDAY.
So now there are about 5 cute firemen trying to figure out how to rescue this cat. About halfway through the delicate operation, one of them asked us "is it your cat?" and we had to admit that no, it was some random unknown cat. Long story short, they ended up having to dig up the ground on the other side of the garage wall and then BREAK the city pipe. Yeah. We kept asking "are you sure? are you sure it's okay?" and they were all "we're firemen, we can do anything." Or something like that. That all took at least another hour. And during that time, mysterious kitty had grown silent. I remember there was some tension at the end because they were afraid maybe she had suffocated, or maybe they had sawed her in half when they sawed the pipe apart. Oh, so many things could have gone wrong, but they didn't.
Finally, out came a triumphant, squirming, mangy-looking furry striped kitten, howling her lungs out! One of the firemen was holding her by the scruff of the neck and started to drop her into the medieval wire cage supplied by the Animal Control people, but I intercepted her. They tried to tell me at first that it was their "procedure", that they had to take her and if I wanted her i'd have to go apply down at the animal shelter just like anyone else -- and my raised eyebrows must have seemed threatening because then they conferred and decided to just let me take the mangy cat anyway. So we left, me and Tamara and one mangy, hoarse, scraggly, dirty kitten, in search of a vet opened on a HOLIDAY.
We didn't immediately find one. So skip ahead -- Tam went back to work and I took the kitten and headed over to Hope's house, which was nearby. I wouldn't have just randomly taken the mangy cat there, but they had invited me over for a barbecue, so I just brought the cat. The kitten, I mean. Who was clinging to me, I might add, and who was no longer yelling, but was now purring like a sewing machine motor.
Hope helped me give Piper (by now I'd thought of the only logical name she could have) her first bath in their kitchen sink. It was nasty. Black dirt and fleas and God knows what else went washing down the drain. But after? She was clean and fluffy and relatively flea-free. She would not leave my lap. We didn't even notice her gimpy paw until later, and we were unsure if it was "made like that" or if something had happened during her Adventure in the Pipes of North Austin. It didn't seem to hurt her at all, so we sort of shrugged and moved on.
That's the heart of the story. Skip ahead -- I found an emergency vet clinic open on a HOLIDAY where they checked her out, tested her for horrible diseases, gave her a magical Flea-Killing Pill, and had no idea what was up with her Claw. I took her home and then the Integration began. And was not very successful, as it is years later and Piper and my geriatric cat, Meggie, are arch enemies.
But that is another story for another day. Bet you can't wait.............but you have to!