Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mr Kitty, the Garage Door and the Pet Cemetery

Steve Tilford's blog has had a thing or two about rescuing cats lately. It got me thinking about my childhood cat, Mr Kitty.

Originally, the family cat's name was Jade. Dad got him and his litter mate, Misty, on a business trip while selling banking equipment to a rural bank. Apparently, the transaction wasn't going too well until Dad agreed to take home a couple kittens that the branch manager wanted to unload. So Dad closed the deal and brought home the two cats in a cardboard box. Win-win. My sister named them Jade and Misty for their solid grey coats with greenish blue eyes. Misty's name stuck. But not Jade's. He went through a bunch of names before we finally settled on 'Mr. Kitty.'

The name of Mr Kitty was given to him by our piano tuner, Mr Brooks. Mr Brooks was a black man from the deep south. He liked to talk to our cat with a raspy southern twang while tuning our piano. Why, hello dere Misser Kitty! Well take a look at you, struttin' yer stuff.... Aint ya proud, Misser Kitty!.... and so forth. Anyway, the Mr Brooks' nickname stuck and from then on the cat was known as Mr Kitty.

Years later, my parents went out for a date one evening, leaving us kids behind. Dad backed out the 1976 Pontiac Grand Safari 'catholic-cruiser' station wagon from the garage while Mom stood by the garage door's button. Mom was at the garage door button because there was something wrong with the door's remote controller. Or more likely, there wasn't a remote controller because back then, the 400 MHz rolling code transmitter/receiver unit hadn't been invented yet. Regardless, after the car cleared the garage, she punched the button and scurried beneath the closing door and into the car waiting in the driveway.

Dad was about to continue reversing when he noticed that Mr. Kitty was also scurrying to avoid the closing garage door. But while Mom ran across the garage floor, Mr Kitty was running upward along the outside slope of the closing door's panels. Yes, like he was on a huge treadmill. But unfortunately for Mr Kitty, the treadmill was coming to an end, and it wasn't going end pretty. Mr Kitty would either fall to the ground or get wedged between the door and the top of the garage.

How Mr Kitty got up there will always be a mystery. We figured that he jumped up on top of the door while it was open and the car was parked beneath it. I suppose to a cat, a warm high perch away from the hustle of a bunch of kids made a lot of sense. Apparently, his exit strategy was to jump down on the car beneath. Unfortunately, he lacked the foresight of knowing that the car might not always be there.

I doubt that was going through Mr. Kitty's mind at that moment. That goes for my parents, too, as they watched in horror as Mr Kitty kept running upward while the door continued closing.

Mom bolted out of the car before the final panel sealed the door and Mr Kitty to the top of the garage. But she didn't run toward the garage; she ran towards the front door. Remember: Mom was effectively the garage door's remote control, and now she had to go through the house to get to the button.

We kids were watching TV. Vanna White turning letters on Wheel of Fortune or something of the like while our cat was wedged into the top of the garage. Who knows, somebody might have been buying a vowel while poor Mr Kitty's head was about to pop off. All of a sudden, the doorbell was ringing like crazy. So fast, you could only hear the ring of the first chime among the flurry of electro-static buzzing that came from an over-loaded switch.

We all ran to the front door. From Mom's nearly unintelligible words, I managed to hear that Mr Kitty was stuck on top of the garage door. Mr. Kitty, stuck and garage door all seemed to work neatly together, but on top? Now, that didn't make sense at all. But there was no time to question it. We raced back through the dining room, kitchen and family room. I was the first to the garage, but I had run so fast through the garage access door that I shot past the garage door button and stumbled down the steps. Two of my brothers also tumbled behind me, Keystone Cops style. Finally somebody managed to push the button. The door opened and released our poor cat from the top of the door to the concrete below.

Dad said later that when the garage opened, Mr Kitty hit the ground like a sack of potatoes. Mr. Kitty laid there motionless. He appeared to be dead.

But after a few moments, Mr Kitty stirred, got up and stumbled away from the garage. Pilled-up furballs fell from his body. He wasn't happy and his meows sounded like a warped vinyl record, but he was alive. Dad scooped him up and loaded him into the Grand Safari, and with all of us kids, drove to the vet to have him checked out. In the end, other than some very heavy bruising, he was fine.

There. That's it folks. No Vampires, no lycans; no shark jumpings and no reanimated cats from pet cemeteries in today's post. Just a simple house cat that got pinched at the top of a garage door that lived another day. In fact he did more than just that: Mr Kitty thrived another 15 years before dying at the ripe old age of 22. He was an awesome cat.

Happy Friday, and RIP Mr Kitty


  1. Our cat ended up in the fan of our 1975 Town Square station wagon, Snowball ened up a bloody mess. I guess his nine lives had been used elsewhere.

  2. This story spiked my heart rate higher than trying to cover one of your Wednesday Night Worlds attacks.
    Worrying about Mr. Kitty's fate kind of freaked me out.

  3. Shim: I'm afraid to ask about Snowball's other nine lives. Better yet, don't tell us.

    E.O'B. Where do you go from a simultaneous vampire-attack-shark-jump? I nearly retired from blogging because I was afraid I'd go insane trying to top it. So I decided to go the other direction by initially setting the expectation high for another vampire shark jump train wreck, but conclude it with an anti-climatic ending. Sort of like hitting the reset button --

    Hang on, there's some scratching at the back door. Why that's funny, there's a cat outside that has an uncanny resemblance to Mr Kitty. Let me put a bowl of milk out for him. I'll be right back