So yesterday, I hauled me and baby toddler across 25km of boring highway so I could waltz into the RSPCA and say,

“I would like to rent a cage.”

“A what?”

“Er, I mean a cat thing. A trap. I want to trap me a cat.”

“Right.”

See, after months, MONTHS of flower-girling our yard with lemon peels and orange peels, and white peppering our hedges, and sweeping – oh, SWEEPING – our courtyard every other day, only for the soil to miraculously un-dig itself onto our now grubby, soil streaked courtyard… After months, MONTHS of watching the hole in our hedge get from tennis ball to basketball to hello-you-can-birth-an-elephant-here… I decided that short of running out and spending oodles on toxic mongrel-deflecting chemicals, I’d drive down south and get me a cat cage trap thing.

“Except…” I hesitate, while I’m getting the instructions and filling out the paperwork. “What if… it turns out to be a dog?”

“Have you actually seen this animal?”

“Er… no. I think it’s a cat… but maybe it’s a small dog?” I wanted to say “small, stupid mongrel dog” after seeing yesterday’s mess, but I was frankly scared of the RSPCA folk and felt cruel just asking for a cage trap thing as it is. I had also just learnt, while filling out the paperwork, that there’s a $10,000 fine for animal cruelty.

She gave me one of those patient stares that made me feel like a twit.

“If it’s a dog and it’s small enough and it gets in, bring it in. If the animal has an address tag, take it back to the neighbour. We don’t want it. If it doesn’t, bring it in and we’ll check for a microchip and take it from there.”

Ooookay.

“Bring it in as soon as possible, mind. We don’t want the cat to spend too long in the cage. So as soon as you’ve trapped it, bring it in.”

Right.

So last night, I spent 69¢ on the smelliest cat food I could think of (sardines in jelly), got home, padded out the cage with old bedsheets, set the trap, covered the cage with blankets so it was extra nice and warm and enticing, and went to sleep.

This morning, we bunny-slipper silently to the sliding doors and peek out into the courtyard.

BOOYAH!

Yard rummaged. Sardines eaten. Trap door closed. Cat in trap.

NYAH NYAH na-NYAH NYAAAAH!

Arddun is having her breakfast in the highchair. Tony is in bed with a bad case of the flu.

I bring the cat into the house where it’s warm. Cat mews. Arddun is stoked, so we have a hiatus on the breakfast, and Arddun gets to run to the cage and have a point-and-stare.

“TAT!” she pronounces excitedly. FINALLY. All those what-animal-is-this games have apparently paid off. “TAT!” she says, pointing. And then, “BIRD! Bur-deh… Bur-deh…”

We place the toddler back into the highchair where it’s safe. And then we walk back to see if there’s a collar.

There’s a collar. Dang. Can’t tell if there’s an address tag. There’s something dangling around the collar, but I cannot tell because he/she won’t let me.

I need to know if there’s an address. Oh please let there be an address, so I don’t have to drive another 50km today!  But what if the neighbour ends up being a complete neanderthal? Oh please don’t let there be an address so RSPCA can deal with this…

I cannot see anything. Who friggin’ buys a black collar for a black cat?

I need to get a little closer. Lift door slowly. Easy does it. Small gap, so your hand can slip in but the cat can’t get…

The cat gets out. The cat bolts for the guest room.

Crap.

What-are-you-doing, asks sick and grumpy husband who has padded out to the living room.

I’m-trying-to-catch-that-stupid-cat!

Why-did-you-let-it-out-of-the-cage-(groan)-you-shouldn’t-have-let-it-out-of-the-cage-(long-suffering-moan)-now-look-what-you’ve-done

Because-I-needed-to-see-the-tags-okay-but-I-couldn’t-see-through-the-cage-alright

(Long-suffering-indecipherable-grumble)

It-has-a-fat-neck-alright-It’s-fluffy-I-couldn’t-see-the-tags-just-HELPMECATCHTHE****CATANDSTOPCOMPLAINING!

Spend next 20 minutes with my butt in the air, half crawling under the bed and singing, “‘Here kitty-kitty-kitty, tch-tch-tch!”

Husband gives half-hearted attempt in his flu-addled state. I send him back to bed in exasperation.

Toddler still dizzy with excitement, and chirping “BIRD! BIRD!” from high chair.

Getting hot and bothered now. Strip off woolly pullover, and proceed to towel-swat the cat with it. Remember $10,000 fine and try not to actually hit the cat or give it a heart attack. Spend another 5 fruitless minutes playing kitty peek-a-boo until…

CAT MAKES BREAK FOR FREEDOM! AND RUNS INTO WINDOW!

HAHA! It’s not open space after all! I haven’t cleaned my windows in over a year, but you got fooled anyway! You’re breaking my wooden blinds trying to climb up them, but no matter… Now that I have you in my grasp, I’ll just walk back here and slide you back into the…

CRAP. Trap door falls shut in skirmish. Yell for husband, after just sending him off for not being helpful.

Turns out there isn’t a tag, but a useless bell. A bird would look at it and fall off its branch, laughing at the stupidity of this useless bell. I much prefer it if the neighbour attached a loudhailer around the cat’s neck that bellows “CAT IN THE YARD” whenever it so much as lifts its leg to scratch itself near our property.

Gorgeous, sleek black thing, though.

Arddun reacquaints herself with our guest:

Arddun talks to our furry guest
What’s new, pussy cat?

Cat now back with RSPCA. Yard is swept again. Slightly nervous that I caught the wrong animal and the courtyard will be disgusting again tomorrow. But for now anyway, our yard is cat-free.

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