Have you ever tried to put a cat in a cardboard box? I hadn't expected it to be easy, but I had no idea how difficult it would be as my friend Lorie and I tried to box up a stray for her to take on her move to a ranch for the summer. This was literally Lorie's last task before driving away from what had been her home for the last four years - the kids were seatbelted in, they were hooked up to DVD's to prepare for the drive, and I had stopped by to bid final farewell when I was roped into helping entice this ball of white and butterscotch colored furriness into the confines of a box. "It'll be happier on more land", "my kids have been wanting a pet anyway", "I don't think it belongs to anybody else", "it's obviously malnourished". These are all the things that Lorie said as we prepared the box for it's new tenant.
It was clear after attempt number one that we hadn't thought this through. The initial capture was successful, but as Lorie inched the cat closer to its new home he responded much like I do to birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese - arms and legs shot out in protest with the appearance of claws. And call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure the cat said, "Heeeellll noooo!"
It bolted, and Lorie decided we needed tape.
Soon she came back triumphantly waving packing tape in the air and we tried again. This time in a stroke of genius, she put her hand over the cat's eyes so it wouldn't see what was happening. It helped at first, but eventually she had to remove her hand and thus began the wailing and gnashing of teeth. But this time we had tape! I set to work sealing up the edges while Lorie tried to keep the cat inside and offered encouragement in soothing tones, "Don't worry kitty, we're taking you to a better place. There's LOTS of mice and TONS of land!" Clearly this cat did not speak the language of bullcrap, and decided instead that his best escape route had been reduced to the small airholes we had created earlier with the tips of our keys. With all his might and power he began forcing his head through the quarter size holes, and we grew increasingly convinced that this was a very bad idea (ya think??!) not to mention borderline animal cruelty. Before we could undo the tape and set him free he had forged his own path through the aforementioned airhole and made a run for it across the street.
Having caught the tail end (HA!) of this incident a neighbor appeared seeking Lorie's email address and pointed down the street where he believed the owner of this cat lived. She rattled off a fake address, I waved good-bye while still laughing, and drove off. As we rounded the corner I heard a loud and deliberate "meow" from the depths of a distant juniper bush. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure he was giving me the bird.