We have 13 outside barn cats. They've all been spayed and neutered, we're responsible that way. Okay, it took awhile to get them all spayed and neutered which is how we ended up with 13 outside barn cats but eventually, we got the job done! It gets pretty cold outside, even here in Central North Carolina. I couldn't stand the thought of my kitties being outside, FREEZING in their winter coats. My Dad couldn't stand me not standing the thought of my kitties being outside FREEZING in their winter coats.
So, he built this:
Yep, it's a cat house...with electricity inside. Well, basic electricity. Enough to hang a naked light bulb to provide some additional warmth that the 10 blankets and comforters may NOT be providing (my mom provided most of those for the record). That's a little history to prep you for the real story here...
When I come home every night, there are typically 4 kitties that come and meet me at the car. One of these is Vivvy, the stray that showed up 2 years ago and has never left. She's an outsider on every level but it's really evident because Vivvy is a long haired, creamsicle color and the rest of my herd is simply black or black and white. Last night, as I would have expected, Vivvy and the others met me at the car. I noticed a discoloration on her fur where her tail connects to her body. I bent down and got a closer look...hmm, that looks like it's been scorched. The only thing I could come up with is that some cruel ass got a hold of my cat and burned her with something! I was furious...and confused because we really are fairly secluded out here, know our neighbors (who are acres away) very well and are confident not one of them would bring any animal any harm. It was at about this time I noticed a smell. At first I simply thought someone was burning leaves or had a fire going or...MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE! THAT WOULD EXPLAIN THE SINGED HAIR ON THE CAT'S BACK!!!
I went tearing down the driveway and leapt on the front porch...sniff, sniff...I could smell it but couldn't see anything. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see smoke billowing inside my beloved cat house! What the hell????
I flip open the roof (why my father had the foresight to hinge the roof is beyond me but he did and I am SO grateful) and smoke comes pouring from the kitty condo! And laying in there, comfy cozy, looking at me as if I'd just walked in on him sitting on the pot reading "Cat Fancy" was Beau! Just laying there. Amidst all that smoke. Billowing all around him. A purple haze if you will. Like something from a Cheech and Chong movie. "Beau! Get the hell outta' here, man! Your house is on fire!"
I pulled smoldering blankets from the abode and threw them out in the yard. I lifted the naked light bulb that had somehow fallen from the ceiling and landed on the blankets up and off (which was the source of the soon-to-be fire, according to fire marshall J. Mineer), unplugged it from the electrical outlet and, when it was cool enough, unscrewed it from the socket and threw it in the yard. And before I went in my house, I made sure there were no "hot spots" left and, of course, called my mom (why do we always call mom...).
I've had time to collect myself over this mishap. I haven't taken it lightly because if I'd just been a few minutes later or decided to make a stop on the way home or, worse yet, gone to the gym and been HOURS later coming home, our own house would've burned to the ground.
But tonight, I can't help but laugh! Because I tell you this for free people...there is ALWAYS a story in Bear Creek! Always!!
...really, really grateful we dodged that big, hot bullet!!!!