An Unwelcome Tenant

In winter, renovations have stopped on our hobby house, but any time we’re in the area we  try to stop in and make sure everything’s still good at the house, check the mail, look to see if the basement is a swimming pool, and so forth.  Last night we pulled up to the house at about sunset, and saw this: It’s hard to judge scale, but that panel of window is about 10″ tall and about 6″ wide.  Not big enough to fit a human through, but there’s all kinds of critters that could squeeze into our basement through this opening. D waited in the van while I went inside, and as I entered the livingroom area, I heard a scuttling of feet and saw a dark shape dash into the kitchen.   Not good, but also not horrible…but there was also not much we could do in the dark, since I have the power shut off to most of the house to remove the knob and tube wiring.  I walked all the way around the house, to make sure nothing else was out of the ordinary, and when I returned to the van D knew something wasn’t good. I gave her the lowdown, and we made plans to come back the next morning.

When we entered the house today, all was silent, until D walked towards the back of the house, and then it sounded like an army of clawed creatures was headed our way. We didn’t get a picture of it, because it moved so fast, but all that noise was coming from a black kitty-cat who couldn’t get any traction on the hardwood floors.   It made it past D, around my legs, but rather than heading for the wide-open door it dived through a hole in the floor where a bathtub’s pipes used to be.   Oh, joy.   We searched the rest of the house for any more feline residents, and shortly after I started noisily exploring the house D saw the black kitty made a beeline away from our house, running through the snowy yard at top speed, towards some trees across the street.

You might be wondering: how was a cat able to throw a brick through our window and get inside?  D joked that if cats were able to break windows and waltz into any old house they wanted to, there’d be cats living in everyone’s basements.  Well, when I went down into the basement, I found this:

From the inside, there had always been glass there — it just happened that, like the other half-hearted repairs that previous house residents had made, the interior pane of windows wasn’t really fastened to the rest of the house.  Either a cat was poking around, or a strong wind pushed it just the right way, but this window fell into the basement and broke all over the place.    Luckily, we have a lot of spare wood from our demolition work, so I was able to cut a board to cover up the open pane, and screwed it over the window opening (but not all the way across — this is the only source of light in this part of the basement), and now the cat will have to find someplace else to hang out.

And the kitty did have a pretty smooth hangout: we have a wingback chair in a back room, right up against a window that looks out into the yard.  All of the dustcovers were knocked off the chair, so the kitty apparently spent his time just chilling on the back of the chair, in his own 2,500 square foot home, just watching the squirrels freeze in the super-low windchill.  I think kitty was just a pet who was allowed outside, which isn’t unusual around here, but it could have been feral.   Things I’m glad the kitty wasn’t:

  • Rabid.
  • Actually an army of kitties.
  • Actually a family of kitties, including baby kittens (although D always hopes for kittens).
  • A raccoon (which was my main worry initially)
  • An alliance of raccoons and cats who have developed thumbs and were ready to fight for their newly-claimed lands.

Anyhow, we didn’t have to herd multiple cats, we didn’t have to deal with baby kittens, we didn’t have to fight off raccoons, so all in all it wasn’t even as bad as I had originally thought.  The house is secure again, and hopefully kitty went home to its warm house.

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4 Responses to An Unwelcome Tenant

  1. Laura says:

    I’m glad it wasn’t raccoons or skunks or anything else possibly rabid and wilder than a cat. I’ve had encounters with animals at the abandoned houses I explore. Surprisingly, flying animals are far worse than the average land bound type.

  2. zipity says:

    On your next visit, your nose will tell you whether all the squatters had actually left, or whether you had inadvertently sealed them in to their doom.

    • Zipity, I had that thought – and was so afraid of that, that I made sure we were as thorough as thorough can be. But I will still worry (and be holding my breath) the next time we unlock that door!

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