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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    This is really long... but it's funny! A friend
    in Hawaii sent this to me.

    This is the story of the night a ten-year-old
    cat, Rudy, got his head stuck
    in the garbage disposal. I knew at the time that
    the experience would be
    funny if the cat survived, so let me tell you
    right up front that he's fine.
    Getting him out wasn't easy, though, and the
    process included numerous home
    remedies, a plumber, two cops, an emergency
    overnight veterinary clinic, a
    case of mistaken identity, five hours of panic,
    and fifteen minutes of fame.
    First, some background. My husband, Rich, and I
    had just returned from a
    five-day spring-break vacation in the Cayman
    Islands, where I had been
    sick-as-a dog the whole time, trying to convince
    myself that if I had to
    feel lousy, it was better to do it in paradise.
    We had arrived home at 9
    p.m., a day and a half later than we had planned
    because of airline
    problems. I still had illness-related vertigo,
    and because of the flight
    delays, had not been able to prepare the class I
    was supposed to teach at
    8:40 the
    next morning. I sat down at my desk to think
    about William Carlos
    Williams, and around ten o'clock I heard Rich
    hollering something
    indecipherable from the kitchen. As I raced out
    to see what was wrong, I saw
    Rich frantically rooting around under the kitchen
    sink and Rudy--or rather
    Rudy's headless body--scrambling around in the
    sink, his claws clicking in
    panic on the metal. Rich had just ground up the
    skin of some smoked salmon
    in the garbage disposal, and when he left the
    room, Rudy (whom we always did
    call a pinhead) had gone in after it. It is very
    disturbing to see the
    headless body of your cat in the sink.

    This is an animal that I have slept with nightly
    for ten years, who burrows
    under the covers and purrs against my side, and
    who now looked like a
    desperate, furcovered turkey carcass, set to
    defrost in the sink while
    it's still alive and kicking. It was also
    disturbing to see Rich, Mr.
    Calm-in-an-Emergency, at his wit's end, trying to
    soothe Rudy, trying to
    undo the garbage disposal, failing at both, and
    basically freaking out.
    Adding to the chaos was Rudy's twin brother,
    Lowell, also upset, racing
    around in circles, jumping onto the kitchen
    counter and alternately licking
    Rudy's butt for comfort and biting it out of
    fear. Clearly, I had to do
    something. First we tried to ease Rudy out of the
    disposal by lubricating
    his head and neck. We tried Johnson's baby
    shampoo (kept on hand for my
    nieces' visits) and butter-flavored Crisco: both
    failed, and a now-greasy
    Rudy kept struggling. Rich then decided to take
    apart the garbage disposal,
    which was a good idea, but he couldn't do it.
    Turns out, the thing is
    constructed like a metal onion: you peel off one
    layer and another one
    appears, with Rudy's head still buried deep
    inside, stuck in a hard plastic
    collar. My job during this process was to sit on
    the kitchen counter petting
    Rudy, trying to calm him, with the room spinning
    (vertigo), Lowell howling
    (he's part Siamese), and Rich clattering around
    with tools. When all our
    efforts failed, we sought professional help. I
    called our regular plumber,
    who actually called me back quickly, even at 11
    o'clock at night (thanks,
    Dave). He talked Rich through further layers of
    disposal dismantling, but
    still we couldn't reach Rudy. I called the 1-800
    number for Insinkerator (no
    response), a pest removal service that advertises
    24-hour service (no
    response), an all-night emergency veterinary
    clinic (who had no experience
    in this matter, and so, no advice), and finally,
    in desperation, 911. I
    could see that Rudy's normally pink paw pads were
    turning blue. The fire
    department, I figured, gets cats out of trees;
    maybe they could get one out
    of a garbage disposal. The dispatcher had other
    ideas and offered to send
    over two policemen. This suggestion gave me
    pause. I'm from the sixties, and
    even if I am currently a fine upstanding citizen,
    I had never considered
    calling the cops and asking them to come to my
    house, on purpose. I resisted
    the suggestion, but the dispatcher was adamant:
    "They'll help you out," he
    said. The cops arrived close to midnight and
    turned out to be quite nice.
    More importantly, they were also able to think
    which we were not. They were, of course, quite
    astonished by the
    situation: "I've never seen anything like this,"
    Officer Mike kept
    saying. The unusual circumstances helped us get
    quickly on a first-name
    basis with our cops. Officer Tom, who expressed
    immediate sympathy for
    otool, a tiny, circular rotating saw, that could
    cut through the heavy
    plastic flange encircling Rudy's neck without
    hurting Rudy, and Officer
    Tom happened to own one. "I live just five
    minutes from here," he said;
    "I'll go get it." He soon returned, and the three
    of them--Rich and the
    two policemen--got under the sink together to cut
    through the garbage
    disposal. I sat on the counter, holding Rudy and
    trying not to succumb to
    the surreal-ness of the scene, with the weird
    lighting, the room's occasional spinning,
    Lowell's spooky sound effects, an
    apparently headless cat in my sink and six
    disembodied legs poking out from
    under it. One good thing came of this: the guys
    did manage to get the bottom
    off of the disposal, so we could now see Rudy's
    face and knew he could
    breathe. But they couldn't cut the flange without
    risking the cat. Stumped,
    Officer Tom had another idea. "You know," he
    said, "I think the reason we
    can't get him out is the angle of his head and
    body. If we couldjust get the
    sink out and lay it on its side, I'll bet we
    could slip him out." That
    sounded like a good idea--at this point, ANYTHING
    would have sounded like a
    good idea--and as it turned out, Officer Mike
    runs a plumbing business on
    weekends; he knew how to take out the sink! Again
    they went to work, the
    three pairs of legs sticking out from under the
    sink surrounded by an
    ever-increasing pile of tools and sink parts.
    They cut the electrical
    supply, capped off the plumbing lines, unfastened
    the metal clamps,
    unscrewed all the pipes, and about an hour later,

    the sink was lifted gently out of the countertop,
    with one guy holding
    the garbage disposal (which contained Rudy's
    head) up close to the sink
    which contained Rudy's body). We laid the sink on
    its side, but even at
    this more favorable removal angle, Rudy stayed
    stuck. Officer Tom's radio
    beeped, calling him away on some kind of real
    police business. As he was
    leaving, though, he had another good idea: "You
    know," he said, "I don't
    think we can get him out while he's struggling so
    much. We need to get the
    cat sedated. If he were limp, we could slide him
    out." And off he went,
    regretfully, a cat lover still worried about
    Rudy. The remaining three of us
    decided that getting Rudy sedated was a good
    idea, but Rich and I were new
    to the area. We knew that the overnight emergency
    veterinary clinic was only
    a few minutes away, but we didn't know exactly
    how to get there. "I know
    where it is!" declared Officer Mike. "Follow me!"
    So Mike got into his
    patrol car, Rich got into the driver's seat of
    our car, and I got into the
    back, carrying the kitchen sink, what was left of
    the garbage disposal, and
    Rudy. It was now about 2:00 a.m. We followed
    Officer Mike for a few blocks
    when I decided to put my hand into the garbage
    disposal to pet Rudy's face,
    hoping I could comfort him. Instead, my sweet,
    gentle bedfellow chomped down
    on my finger, hard--really hard--and wouldn't let
    go. My scream reflex
    kicked into gear, and I couldn't stop the noise.
    Rich slammed on the breaks,
    hollering "What? What happened? Should I stop?",
    checking us out in the
    rearview mirror. "No," I managed to get out
    between screams, "just keep
    driving. Rudy's biting me, but we've got to get
    to the vet. Just go!" Rich
    turned his attention back to the road, where
    Officer Mike took a turn we
    hadn't expected, and we followed. After a few
    minutes Rudy let go, and as I
    stopped screaming, I looked up to discover that
    we were wandering aimlessly
    through an industrial park, in and out of empty
    parking lots, past little
    streets that didn't look at all familiar.
    "Where's he taking us?" I asked.
    "We should have been there ten minutes ago!" Rich
    was as mystified as I was,
    but all we knew to do was follow the police car
    until, finally, he pulled
    into a church parking lot and we pulled up next
    to him. As Rich rolled down
    the window to ask, "Mike, where are we going?",
    the cop, who was not Mike,
    rolled down his window and asked, "Why are you
    following me?" Once Rich and
    I recovered from our shock at havingtailed the
    wrong cop car and the
    policeman from his pique at being stalked, he led
    us quickly to the
    emergency vet, where Mike greeted us by holding
    open the door, exclaiming
    "Where were you guys???"

    It was lucky that Mike got to the vet ahead of
    us, because we hadn't
    thought to call and warn them about what was
    coming. (Clearly, by this
    time we weren't really thinking at all.) We
    brought in the kitchen sink
    containing Rudy and the garbage disposal
    containing his head, and the
    clinic staff was ready. They took his temperature
    (which was down 10
    degrees) and his oxygen level (which was half of
    normal), and the vet
    declared: "This cat is in serious shock. We've
    got to sedate him and get him
    out of there immediately." When I asked if it was
    OK to sedate a cat in
    shock, the vet said grimly, "We don't have a
    choice." With that, he injected
    the cat; Rudy went limp; and the vet squeezed
    about half a tube of K-Y jelly
    onto the cat's neck and pulled him free. Then the
    whole team jumped into
    "code blue" mode. (I know this from watching a
    lot of ER.)

    They laid Rudy on a cart, where one person hooked
    up IV fluids, another
    put little socks on his paws ("You'd be amazed
    how much heat they lose
    through their pads," she said), one covered him
    with hot water bottles
    and a blanket, and another took a blow-dryer to
    warm up Rudy's now very
    gunky head. The fur on his head dried in stiff
    little spikes, making him
    look rather pathetically punk as he lay there,
    limp and motionless. At this
    point they sent Rich, Mike, and me to sit in the
    waiting room while they
    tried to bring Rudy back to life. I told Mike he
    didn't have to stay, but he
    just stood there, shaking his head. "I've never
    anything like this," he said again. At about 3
    a.m, the vet came in to
    tell us that the prognosis was good for a full
    recovery. They needed to
    keep Rudy overnight to re-hydrate him and give
    him something for the
    brain swelling they assumed he had, but if all
    went well, we could take
    him home the following night. Just in time to
    hear the good news, Officer
    Tom rushed in, finished with his real police work
    and concerned about Rudy.
    I figured that once this ordeal was over and Rudy
    was home safely, I would
    have to re-think my position on the police. Rich
    and I got back home about
    3:30. We hadn't unpacked from our trip, I was
    intermittently dizzy, and I still hadn't prepared
    my 8:40 class. "I need a
    vacation," I said, and while I called the office
    to leave a message
    canceling my class, Rich made us a pitcher of
    martinis. I slept late the
    next day and then badgered the vet about Rudy's
    condition until he said that
    Rudy could come home later that day. I was
    working on the suitcases when the
    phone rang. "Hi, this is Steve Huskey from the
    Norristown Times-Herald," a
    voice told me. "Listen, I was just going through
    the police blotter from
    last night. Mostly it's the usual stuff-breaking
    and entering, petty
    theft--but there's this one item. Um, do you have
    a cat?"

    So I told Steve the whole story, which interested
    him. A couple hours
    later he called back to say that his editor was
    interested, too; did I
    have a picture of Rudy? The next day Rudy was
    front-page news, under the
    ridiculous headline "Catch of the Day Lands Cat
    in Hot Water." There were
    some noteworthy repercussions to the newspaper
    article. Mr. Huskey had
    somehow inferred that I called 911 because I
    thought Rich, my husband, was
    going into shock, although how he concluded this
    from my comment that "his
    pads were turning blue," I don't quite
    understand. So the first thing I had
    to do was call Rich at work--Rich, who had worked
    tirelessly to free
    Rudy--and swear that I had been misquoted. When I
    arrived at work myself, I
    was famous; people had been calling my secretary
    all morning to inquire
    about Rudy's health. When I called our regular
    vet (whom I had met only
    once) to make a follow-up appointment for Rudy,
    the receptionist asked, "Is
    this the famous Rudy's mother?" When I brought my
    car in for routine
    maintenance a few days later, Dave, my mechanic,
    said, "We read about your
    cat. Is he OK?" When I called a tree surgeon
    about my dying red oak, he
    asked if I knew the person on that street whose
    cat had been in the garbage
    disposal. And when I went to get my hair cut, the
    shampoo person told me the
    funny story her grandma had read in the paper,
    about a cat who got stuck in
    the garbage disposal. Even today, over a year
    later, people ask about Rudy,
    whom an 9-year-old neighbor had always called
    "the Adventure Cat" because he
    used to climb on the roof of her house and peer
    in the second-story window
    at her.

    I don't know what the moral of this story is, but
    I do know that this
    "adventure" cost me $1100 in emergency vet bills,
    follow-up vet care, new
    sink, new plumbing, new electrical wiring, and
    new garbage disposal-one with
    a cover. The vet can no longer say he's seen
    everything but the kitchen
    sink. I wanted to thank Officers Tom and Mike by
    giving them gift
    certificates to the local hardware store, but was
    told that they couldn't
    accept gifts, that I would put them in a bad
    position if I tried. So I wrote
    a letter to the Police Chief praising their good
    deeds and sent individual
    thank-you notes to Tom and Mike, complete with
    pictures of Rudy, so they
    could see what he looks like with his head on.
    And Rudy, whom we originally
    got for free (or so we thought), still sleeps
    with me--under the covers on
    cold nights--and unaccountably, he still
    sometimes prowls the sink, hoping
    for fish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Post Likes
    Wow, what a cat-astrophy!

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