In the first two Special Episodes one saw the adventure through Nina’s eyes. Yet there is another side to the rescue, as seen through her humans’ eyes. This is the other side of the story…
“Boy, this Christmas decorating is a lot of work,” Marilu told her husband as he walked by. “At least the cats are having fun tearing up and down going into the attic,” she said as she continued sweeping the garage. She had finished putting all the empty boxes back up in the attic.
“Well, it’s time to call it a day and get some dinner together,” she told him as she entered the kitchen from the garage. “Have you seen Nina? It’s been pretty quiet for a while now. She’s usually into something.”
“I saw her go up into the attic when I was coming in through the garage,” he answered.
“Come to think of it, I happened to see her tail disappear up there when I was sweeping. It sure didn’t take her long to get the hang of going up and down the ladder.”
I went to the bottom of the ladder and called up, but no little head looked back down. I got a flashlight and went up to see if she was on a rafter somewhere. I would bring her down as it was time to close everything up for the day.
When I got up there I called and called, but she didn’t show. I passed the light beam all around and the light bounced back from the silver air ducts.
I came back down, turned out the light and raised the ladder. Then I went to all the rooms calling and checking her favorite spots. Nothing.
“I can’t find her. Might as well get dinner started,” I suggested.
We soon sat down to supper and watched a movie on the TV by the dining table. After we were finished, and still no Nina, I got worried.
“Roland, this is not like her. She always comes when I call her. Always. She’s been good like that.”
“We both saw her go into the attic but didn’t see her come down,” I told my husband in an anxious voice. “Something must have happened to her. Maybe she’s caught on something.”
“I’m going back up and if she doesn’t come when I call I’m going to walk the rafters until I find her. She has to be up there, there’s no other explanation.”
“You be careful,” he cautioned. “Don’t want anything happening to you.”
“I’m going to put on some good shoes and I’ll hang on to whatever I can as I work my way across the rafters,” I assured him.
When I got up there and the seven month old kitten was no where in sight, I got up on a rafter and started walking slowly across the ceiling. With the flashlight I scanned all around the attic as I moved. I came to an air duct, grabbed a roof crossbeam and carefully went over it. As I got to the other side of the duct I swept the flashlight beam around.
“Oh, my gosh!” I exclaimed out loud. There at my feet was a hole going through the ceiling! I moved the light into the hole and there was little Nina ten feet down below!
“Oh no! Nina, what happened, are you all right?” I exclaimed.
“Roland!” she yelled. “Come up here quick! Nina fell through the ceiling!”
He came up and laboriously worked his way very slowly across the rafter to the air duct where I was waiting.
He leaned over and looked into the hole where I had the light trained right on Nina. It was very dark.
“Good thing she’s black and there’s all that white foam insulation down there or I wouldn’t see her,” he commented. “Is she hurt?”
“I don’t think so, I could see her walking around,” I answered him. “I could also see her lips and mouth moving. She’s meowing but I can hardly hear her it’s so soft.”
“I can’t hear her either. She’s too far down.”
How are we going to get her out?” he questioned.
“Let me think,” I answered. There’s not much that can fit through that hole. Looks like someone with a big foot stepped on it and broke through. Look, you can see the piece of sheetrock still attached there under the duct. It probably happened when they were building the house and whoever did it didn’t have the decency to repair it.”
“I think we have a square bucket that will just about fit in that hole,” I told him. “I’ll tie a rope on it and put some treats into it. With any luck she’ll jump in and then I can pull her up.”
“It’s worth a try,” he said. While you’re doing that I’ll get some boards that are up here and lay them across the rafters so you can stand up securely and not worry about falling through the ceiling yourself.”
I went and got the bucket and rope and climbed back up. He had all the boards nicely in place and I could walk to the hole without balancing on a rafter.
I went over the duct and stood by the hole. Roland stayed on the other side of the duct looking over. The bucket barely eased through the opening and I slowly lowered it down. It hit bottom close to Nina. She walked over to it and looked in. She sat up and put her paws on the edge.
“She smells the treats,” I said expectantly. “Let’s see if she jumps in.”
She slid her front paws down the inside of the bucket keeping the back ones firmly on the ground. Then she stretched herself to reach the treats and pulled some out.
“Nina, that’s not the idea!” I said in a discouraged voice as I pulled the empty bucket backup. “Well, that’s not going to work.”
“She likes riding in her car seat. Maybe I can get that down to her.”
“It’s too big. It won’t fit through the hole.”
“It’s malleable, maybe I can squeeze it through. I’ll go get it,” I said as I went over the duct again and went back down to the garage.
I undid her car seat from all the seat belts in the car. Then I tied a bungee cord around to squeeze it smaller. Back upstairs I tried to get it through the hole. No dice.
“I told you it wouldn’t work,” my husband repeated.
“I thought I’d try anyway,” I replied downcast. It was like trying to shove a camel through the eye of a needle!
We had been at this for almost two hours with no success. Nina was still in the hole looking up at us.
“What now, call the Fire Department?” I said half jokingly. “I doubt our own Security here would be of much help either.”
I went back to the floored part of the attic and started looking around. There had to be something that would fit in that 12″ x 12″ hole. By chance my eyes landed of the four animal traps stacked over to the side.
“That’s it!” I thought. “The small one should work.”
“How are you going to do that? What makes you think she’ll walk into it?” my husband questioned.
“Well, whenever I have the traps in the garage to clean out she likes walking in and out of them. I think she’ll walk into it and then I’ll just bring it up,” I said confidently.
I stood the trap on it’s end, secured the door open with the little hook on top of it and then turned it to the other end. I tightly secured the rope to it and carefully started to wedge it through the hole. I was so intent on doing this the flashlight fell off my wrist. Down the hole it went and landed next to Nina. Now the whole bottom area was sort of lit up
“Great! Just Great!” I said totally frustrated by now. “What next!”
I put the trap aside and went down and brought up another flashlight. I made sure this one was tied securely to my wrist since the knot on the other one had slipped loose and that’s how it fell off.
Once again I positioned the trap and started to lower it. It sailed down fine. When it reached the floor I eased the rope so it would fall flat. however, when it fell flat the open door was against the wall and she couldn’t get in.The only problem was that the open door was up against the wall and she wouldn’t be able to get in.
“Bummer, what rotten luck,” I exclaimed.
I lifted the trap and tried finagling it around so the door would face Nina. The maneuvering space was small, but I did succeed in getting it turned around. When it fell flat again the door slammed shut! I was fit to be tied!
“For Pete’s sake!” I said in an exasperated voice. “This is getting old!”
“Guess you’ll have to bring it back up and tie the door open since the hook can’t take the jostling,” my husband suggested.
“Okay, one more time,” I said as I was positioning it to bring up.
All of a sudden, Nina grabbed onto one of the 2 x 4 studs and started to climb.
“Look, she’s trying to climb!”
“Come on Nina, come up!” I coaxed.
She went up a couple of more feet and I raised the trap and kept it under her in case she fell so hopefully it would break her fall.
“Come on, Nina, keep coming,” I encouraged.
Again she went up a few more feet. I could see her resting her right back paw on the trap. That gave her some support.
“You can do, girl! Keep coming!” I cheered.
“Look, Roland, she’s actually doing it!” I said all excited and full of hope.
“Just a little more, Nina” I encouraged.
She was getting closer to the top, but I couldn’t reach her. She was on the wrong side. I started to lean down towards her and all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, she jumped onto the trap to get closer to me and I reached down and with an inner strength that kept me from falling I was able to grasp the scruff of her neck and flashed her up into my arms while throwing the rope to Roland so he could hold the trap and keep it from crashing down.
It all occurred so fast, very obviously due to an adrenalin reaction! It was not something I had time to think about. It just happened! I reacted and Nina was tightly in my arms within a split second! I was so elated I kept hugging and kissing the top of her little head. She just snuggled in my arms and seemed happy that the ordeal was over and she was out of that hole.
We all went back down and I gave her a bunch of treats and eventually a very late dinner. The attic ladder was raised up to the ceiling. From now on none of the cats would ever be allowed up there again. For all we knew there could be other holes, even after we got Meadow Lake Maintenance to repair this one.
That was an adventure I’m sure Nina would long remember and a Christmas rescue we’ll always look back on!
A few days later I thought this would make an interesting episode for Nina Mia, only I didn’t have any pictures. So I figured I would “recreate” some of it before the hole was repaired and before the battery died in the fallen flashlight. The cats were locked up in the house and upset about it as I could hear scratching at the kitchen door when I went up into the attic. The flashlight was still working. I got the trap, tied the rope to it and lowered it to the bottom. Took a bunch of pictures and satisfied started to raise the trap. It wouldn’t come up! The more I pulled, the worse it was. Foolishly, I had not centered the rope on the trap this time, so coming up it was not straight but at an angle. It kept banging against the 2 x 4s. There were some electrical wires that were going through drilled holes in the studs and it was hanging up on those. Not wanting to cause any damage I abandoned the project. I figured, the heck with it. Chalk it down to one lost flashlight, one lost trap and the loss of a very good rope, but one saved kitten. I tied the rope to a beam and figured I’d drop it down when they came to close the hole.
A few days after that I started thinking about it. If I could balance the trap then I could probably bring it up after all. I got an old clothes line, tied a nice strong hook at the end of it and went back up into the attic. The hole was completely black, the battery in the fallen flashlight had died. I tied a wire around the flashlight I had in my hand and then tied it to a piece of PVC pipe that was running along the top of the hole. When the beam was properly aimed I lowered the clothesline. It was like fishing. I swung the line slowly back and forth trying to clasp the right area to balance the rope already there. It took three tries but finally it hooked to the right area. I pulled the rope and cord simultaneously and the trap came up quite smoothly. Within minutes the whole procedure was done. What one does just for a picture!