Weekend and surprise projects always seem to find me. As such, I've included a story from my most recent family newsletter.
Cats being the way they are, it’s no wonder why curiosity has killed so many of them. Charlotte, my mother-in-law's cat, is no different. A few days ago, Monday to be precise, my wife and I stopped in at my inlaw's house to take pictures of a remodel we just finished (as though it were actually possible to finish a house). We noticed that the attic access was open, but thought nothing of it since it is routinely opened so my father-in-law can play in the balmy 140 degree space above the carport. However, there was something rather odd this time.
As we approached the kitchen door, we could hear meowing coming from over our heads—not from the attic door, mind you, but from inside the soffit. Upon further investigation, we realized that the cat, Charlotte, had managed to find her way into the attic, and through the old roof (the flat, pebble covered, sticky tar roof). If you’ve been to my in-law's house, you’ll know that they had a new, pitched roof installed several years ago. If you’ve ever seen this done, you’ll also know that most framers will tie into the old roof system by cutting some access holes. It was through one of these holes that the cat managed to enter the space between the roof and the ceiling below. It was at this point that our adventure began.
After an hour or so of coaxing, prodding, and hopeful meowing (ours and hers), Charlotte simply would not move or make any attempt to leave. Quite simply, she was tired and too frightened to move. What we did next will go down in the annals of history as “The Great Cat Rescue of ‘06.” Frustrated at the cat’s unwillingness to resign her post in the ceiling, I began to assess the situation and started taking measurements. Figuring that the cat would never come out on her own, I decided to go in after her. Yes, it was time perform a little FEMA search and rescue for the kitty.
After clearing a space to start working, I (with the help of my sister-in-law and lucky volunteer) set about scraping through the layers of gravel, tar, and tar paper. After removing as much of the material as possible, out came the circular saw. Yes, as if the cat weren’t scared enough as it was, I was going to get it out with a big scary saw!
I cut and had help removing an almost three-foot square section of the old roof in the hope that they would be able to find the cat in one of the two chambers they’d exposed—hoping, of course, that the cat hadn’t been too scared of all the noise.
After prying up the section of the old roof, we looked inside to see what we could find. To our relief, there sat the cat, curled up and completely freaked out. The next trick was to get the cat to crawl back 18 feet to the opening. My sister-in-law coaxed the cat as best she could, but it would only come about half way. Then she put out some food in the hope that the cat would be hungry. It worked! The cat came out, but quickly ran off to some other part of the attic—aarrrgghhh!!
After boarding up the hole, my sister-in-law suggested that we open a can of tuna to lure the cat back down the ladder and out of the attic. Charlotte couldn’t resist. About an hour later, she came down the ladder and was finally free.
Anybody want a cat? Likes attics, cramped spaces, and circular saws....