Monday, January 17, 2005

Cats and Their Nine Lives

"Ever wondered why cats are said to have nine lives?"

Here are some news items which might make you believe that cats do indeed
have nine lives ...

1. "Lucky kitten survives scrape with street sweeper"
"A Melbourne street cleaner has resuscitated a kitten after it was sucked
 into his street sweeper. The Morwell Animal Clinic has named the lucky
 kitten Hoover, and says it is in great health"

2. "Cat survives washing machine"  [England]
"A cat which fell asleep in a washing machine survived a 60-minute cycle
 at 40C"
   "Milo's cat nap in washer"  [Wales]
"Curiosity nearly killed the kitten when Milo climbed into his owner's
 washing machine"
   "Sylvester the kitten survives spin cycle"  [Denmark]
"A kitten has survived being washed at 70C for 20 minutes after he jumped
 into the machine just before it was switched on"
   "Kitten survives tumble drier spin"
"Halfway through the 90-minute cycle Nikki Reed, 35, noticed a strange
 smell and found a very hot little kitten"

3. "Cat survives snowbank ordeal"
"The Siamese spent three bone-chilling days buried in a snowbank in
 Summerside - and lived to meow about it"

4. "Cat survives high speed crash under the bonnet"
"A cat which crawled near a car's engine to keep warm during recent
 snowfalls survived a 40 mile drive and a high-speed crash"

5. "Cat rides 150 miles in car's engine, ok"
"The long-haired gray cat rode unseen in the engine compartment of a
 female college student's car as she drove home for the holidays"
   "Kitten unharmed after 220-mile ride under hood of car"  [expired link]
"The 8-week-old kitten traveled from Chambersburg, Pa., to Chesterbehind
 the grill of a Mercedes, about 3 inches from the engine's fan"

6. "Grumpy cat survives wild car-top ride"  [New Zealand]
"A grumpy house cat was the toast of New Zealand traffic authorities after
 it survived a hairy ride through a city clinging to the roof of a car,
 with the driver unaware of the drama"
   "Cat survives car roof-top journey"  [Wales]
"A cat has escaped injury despite clinging to the roof of a car travelling
 at 60mph for four miles"

7. "Cat survives 8 weeks trapped under deck"
"A cat survived for almost two months trapped under a garden deck in

8. "Kitten survives three weeks trapped behind fireplace"
"The young cat fell into the fireplace while renovation work was being
 carried out in a flat in Reutte in western Austria. It was trapped inside
 after workers sealed the space up and put fresh tiles over it"

My own cat, Chairman Miaow,
survived his own short trip under the bonnet of my car.  I think he sees
the car as a big, placid, warm friend.  On cold days he used to sleep
under the bonnet in a cavity near the engine.  One wet morning, however,
he got the fright of his life as the "gentle" giant drove off.  A few
metres down the road I heard a muffled sound from the front of the car.
A few seconds later, to my horror, in the rear-view mirror I saw my cat
tumbling on the road.  He righted himself, then sped off into the vacant
block in the pouring rain.  Later I looked under the hood and found the
place the cat liked to sleep.  I don't know how he managed to wriggle out
of the confined space and avoid all the dangerous moving parts.  Also, I
noticed chew marks on some of the wires leading from the battery to the
engine management system.  I wouldn't be surprised if the cat got a jolt
when he bit down on the wires.

He seems to have made his peace with the car, because he still likes to
jump onto the bonnet when the engine is warm.  But in the four years since
that day I don't think he's been game to sleep in the engine bay under the
hood.  But every time I drive the car I check to see that he is nowhere
near it.

Finally, in case you didn't know, the Eveready logo on their batteries is
inspired by the saying (a cat jumping through the loop of a "9").