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The Cat Rescuer-- Out on a Limb

Sometimes readers ask where a book idea comes from. In the case of Out on a Limb, the idea stems from the panic all pet owners experience when their buddy is missing. In Limb, the question is– what will you do when your cat climbs to the top of your neighbor’s tree in a howling rainstorm? 

It was a dark and stormy night… Arriving home at 10 pm, still in skirt, pumps, etc from a long workday and night school, I entered the house. Kids in bed. Husband watching a late Monday Night Football game. The Patriots were on the west coast. Time for bed . . . until the cat escaped. I immediately followed. Through our yard. Into the neighbor’s yard. Up their tree. In my pumps and skirt. Cat . . . climbs higher. I climb higher. It starts raining. Hard. Cue the wind gusts. I’m clutching the skinny limbs you see all the way at the top of trees. I realized how high I’d climbed when the neighbor’s bedroom light winked out. Ten feet below me. The branches were getting slippery. Cat continues yowling– but refuses to budge. I lose one pump. Cue hysterical female sobs. (quietly, because– ssshh . . . the neighbors are now sleeping).

By halftime of the Pats game, Husband finally realizes I’m missing. I know– so flattering, right? He appears outside with a flashlight . . . searching near the car. I whisper-yell to him (because the neighbors are sleeping) and he finally looks up. And up. He trudges over to the neighbor’s yard to the base of the tree. Our conversation goes something like this: Me: Please call the fire department. Him: They probably won’t come for the cat. Me: Uh– how about to get me down? Him: I’ll just get a ladder. (Disappears to the man-shed. Returns ten minutes later with a five foot ladder). Me: What about the other fifteen feet? Him: I’ll guide you down. (Meanwhile, he’s informed me that I’m on the clock because the 3rd quarter is about to start. Me: angry whispers Call the fire department. Him: We can do this– and can you hurry up about it?

Bingo! A story idea. The moral here is never follow a cat up a tree– especially in a rainstorm. Especially late at night– while wearing heels. Especially during a Patriots game. The cat survived. I survived. But my husband missed the third quarter of the Pats game. I still hear of it to this day.