My two cats, Pernod and Chatblis are now both three and a half years old. In the prime of their youth, but without the wisdom of old age. Every month they become stronger and more dexterous. And get themselves into even more trouble. Recently they discovered that there is one window in the house with particular advantages.
It gives access to the roof above the patio. And that leads to all sorts of other slanting slopes that lead to heaven. Chatblis is the first one to slip through it behind my back. Only after one hour it strikes me that Pernod keeps turning restlessly in front of the door. And then I seem to hear some faint meowing. I find Chatblis, shivering in the roof gutter. Waiting to be rescued.
Learned one’s lesson, one would think. But no. From that moment on, that one window is the target of all cat longings. And by extension all roofs. Stop those two cunning creatures? I dare you to try. Getting them out of the gutter becomes a new routine. And then it gets worse.
One morning I hear moaning and meowing but I can’t see Chatblis in the gutter. The silly little girl crawled even further and is now sitting on the ridge of the roof. Heavens above! And let me tell you: getting up is way easier than getting down. Just ask any mountaineer.
Sloped roof tiles, slightly mossy… Consternation all over the place. Chatblis, usually the quietest cat in the house, is squalling as if it’s the end of the world. Pernod is spinning around my nervous ankles and I am in two minds about calling out the fire brigade (‘Or the army!’ my husband says laughingly) or fetching a ladder (‘You’d better rent a steeplejack too!’ my husband adds).
Biting my nails I decide to wait. Deadlock lasts for one endless hour. Then Chatblis starts her descent in an extremely inelegant way. Straddle-legged, backwards and with twenty outspread nails she scrambles gliding and sliding towards the gutter. I encourage her from the patio from where I stand: ‘Good job, girl!’, ‘Well done!’ as I move with arms outspread from left to right in order to catch her in case she falls.
I had my pre-dinner drink early that day.