I have a coworker who was going to have exploratory brain surgery. She texted me on a Tuesday two weeks ago to see if I would keep one of her cats whenever her surgery was scheduled. I agreed to this theoretical question. Ten minutes later she texted back and said that she had just gotten off the phone with the doctor and her surgery would be Friday. They had to leave to get to the doctor on Wednesday so could she drop off the cat in a few hours? That gave me no time to kitty proof a bedroom since I was at work.

The cat has cerebellar hypoplasia. That is a birth defect where the part of the brain that controls motor function didn’t develop correctly. This cat is pretty severely affected. She is able to stand but can only walk for a few steps before she falls over. She can’t climb or jump. She’s been this way since birth though so she thinks she is normal. I didn’t think she could get into anything but I asked anyway and was assured that she didn’t get into anything. <— That’s called foreshadowing in English class.

She was pretty freaked out by going to a new house and especially freaked out about going home with the evil vet. On Wednesday morning before work she ran away from me and hid under the bed.

At 5:30 Wednesday night the husband called me at work.

“Did you take the cat with you to work?”
“She’s not in the bedroom.”
“She has to be in the bedroom. She was under the bed when I left.”
“She’s not under there. There is that crawl space in the wall. She’s in the wall!”

The crawl space has a heavy panel in front of it. It opens a space behind our bathrooms to access the plumbing. I had a hard time getting it open. My cats have never bothered it. There is no way a disabled, uncoordinated cat can get in there. That’s the logical response. I started to panic. If you are babysitting a cat for a person having brain surgery of course the cat would find a way to get in there.

“Is the panel open?”
“It moves.” Imagine the whole string of expletives about the cat in the wall from the husband.
“Go in there and see if she’s there.”
“I have to move the bed to get to it. I’ll call you back.”

I’m shaking at work. I have an hour and a half until I can leave. I’m imagining having the call the cat’s owner. “So, I killed your cat in less than a day. Have a happy brain surgery!”

He texted back. “She’s not in there. She’s gone.”
“Where could she go from there? Basement?”

I’m having visions of her falling through holes for the plumbing. A normal cat could fall one story. She can’t catch herself. Dead cat in the basement visions start.

He texts back. “Not in the basement.”

Then nothing for 10 minutes and I am in full panic mode.

Text “Freckles found her. She was under the dresser.”

Under the dresser. She never left the room. Of course she couldn’t leave the room. Of course he didn’t look under the other piece of furniture before he started imagining disaster.

“She seemed pretty scared.”

Of course she did. There was a crazy man who came in the room and started swearing and then moved the bed and disappeared into the wall. I’d be freaked too.

After I calmed down I was talking to other people at work. We imagined what we could have done if we hadn’t found the cat. It wasn’t like we could go find another orange and white wobbly cat and pass her off as the same cat.

  1. “Um, I had some time with her this week so I managed to fix her brain.”
  2. “Wow, brain surgery must of messed you up to make you think you had a twitchy orange cat instead of this perfectly normal black cat that you’ve had all along.”


It has been two weeks since the events described in this post and I think I’ve mostly recovered. It took a few years off my life, I think.