Cats have nine lives because they have a death wish.
Running in front of cars, needing rescue from a tree or housetop or letting their curiosity get the best of them, they dance with their own demise.
Our cat Tilly – short for Atilla the Hun – is a feline who has, maybe, six lives left.
Take the latest incident which reduced that number by one.
“What emergency are you reporting?” asked the fire department dispatcher in response to my 911 call.
“I’m sorry,” I began, “but I just didn’t know who else to call. My cat Tilly has his head stuck in a hole in the decorative brick that is part of the foundation of the house across the street.”
“Tilly is your son?”
“No, Tilly is my cat.”
I explained that Tilly had chased a squirrel into a hole in a brick wall of a neighbor’s house.
“Tilly’s head is through the brick and underneath the structure,” I continued, “and his body is on the outside. His neck is connecting the two.”
“Well, it sounds like an emergency for the cat,” deadpanned the dispatcher.
“Yes ma’am. We share the same birthday,” I added awkwardly.
“Fire is en route,” she replied.
With lights flashing and siren blaring, a fire truck arrived a few minutes later. As the fire captain surveyed the scene, I again apologized and explained what I surmised had happened.
He walked over and petted what could be seen of the head-in-the-hole-in-the-wall cat. A minute later another fire fighter used the Jaws of Life and broke apart the bricks holding the cat.
Tilly – who was now down to five lives left – took off lickety-split for home without as much as a “meow” of thanks.
So I thanked the fire fighters, mumbled an apology and something to the homeowner about my insurance policy covering the damage to his brickwork, and walked back to the house.
Where in the front window sat Tilly.
Smug and self-satisfied – and probably plotting his next death defying stunt.