Freddy has left the wall! Whoâ€™s Freddy you ask? Freddy is a cat who was left behind when his owner moved out of his house in a hurry, leaving all of his belongings. Including the cat.
It seems Freddy wasnâ€™t interested in leaving with him. To evade capture, the cat crawled into the wall through a plumbing access panel behind an ancient one-piece bathtub. His owner didnâ€™t give him a second glance and left with the house in shambles.
This might be a good point in the story to mention that the property owner (landlord) of the house and I co-own a pet boutique named Mouthfuls in the Denver Metro area. We learned about the cat from the neighbors and began leaving food and water for Freddy in an effort to coax him from his hiding spot.
Freddy would emerge at night to eat and use his litter box, but returned to his safe house before dawn every morning. Our first thought was to set a humane trap with the intention of finding him a new home. This four-legged little genius had other ideas. He graciously ate all the food in the trap and stepped over the tripping mechanism, leaving the trap empty of food and cat.
This cat and mouse game continued night after night, with the cat winning every single time. By day seven, we were exasperated and turned to Craigslist readers for help. We advertised for advice and assistance extricating the cat from the wall, with a reward of a yearâ€™s supply of cat food for anyone who could successfully achieve our goal.
While we got a few half-hearted responses, the most interesting one of all was a call from the local NBC affiliate. Seems a reader had tipped them off to the story and they were interested in viewing the hole. Freddyâ€™s story ran that night on the evening news and opened a Pandoraâ€™s box of media flurry. The hilarity of two pet boutique owners unable to coax a cat out with their food, toys and treats was too much for the media to pass up. Soon, we were hosting media teams at the scene of the crime as well as our boutique.
The Denver area became riveted to the story and emails and phone calls began pouring in. In addition, other NBC affiliates across the country began airing the story, and newspapers from all over began publishing the story. Every night for a week the news stations would close their evening broadcast with the Freddy update. Freddyâ€™s face was everywhere!
Back at the store, we would no sooner respond to a slew of emails, trying the occasional sensible tip when we would receive another batch.
Some were absurd:
â€œListen to smooth jazz outside the hole while you eat Wendyâ€™s chicken nuggets WITHOUT SAUCE!â€
â€œPut a harness on a live mouse and attach him to a leash. Let him go in the hole and pull him out by the leash, leading the cat out.â€
â€œUse a Monster Vac to suck the cat out!â€
Some were intriguing:
â€œFind a female cat in heat and put her in a cage outside the hole.â€
â€œFill the bathtub with ice water so it will be too cool for the catâ€™s comfort.â€
Some were downright awful:
â€œToss a deer bomb in the tubâ€ (A container of deer urine that explodes, leaving a scent for the next tenant to enjoy every time he stepped into the bathroom!)
â€œFill the tub area beneath the tub with spray insulation. As it expands, it will force the cat out.â€
â€œKnock down the *#@% wall!â€
Most importantly, however, the vast majority of ideas were truly heartfelt and supportive. The community was touched by Freddyâ€™s story and we received an outpouring of gratitude and kindness. Very few people were interested in the opportunity to win free cat food and even insisted if their idea worked, that the reward was to go to a shelter.
On the last afternoon of Freddyâ€™s freedom, we invited a cat communicator to work with us. She felt that she connected with Freddy and felt that he wanted to be re-named Frederico if he surrendered. Of course, this set off a media firestorm all over again.
Newspapers, radio stations and television news crews ran the story incessantly. Funny thing is, however, while our local Fox station was broadcasting their evening news cast outside the house, Freddy was probably wandering around inside. He was unable to open the 4th trap door that the neighbor devised and could no longer elude capture. Did the communicator help? Weâ€™ll never know but what a coincidence!
We all love happy endings and Iâ€™m happy to report that Freddy is now in a perfect home across the street from his old house. His new owner and her husband (the trap-door builder) lost their cat in the spring and were getting ready to look for another cat to bring into their home. Throughout the home, evidence of a cat-loving couple is everywhere and Freddy now has a quiet, loving home to readjust to.
Best of all, Freddy emerged on their 25th wedding anniversary. What a perfect gift for two cat lovers. I just couldnâ€™t find the perfect greeting card for that occasion!