About six months after the incident with the walling, we decided to have the bath replaced. This work should have been done within the day, but the taps still hadn’t been fitted by the time the workmen left. There was only a small hole at the head of the bath, but before retiring to bed we closed the bathroom door just to be safe. In the morning, I prepared the cat’s food and only Gemma came running.
I checked the bathroom door and whilst it wasn’t tightly closed there didn’t appear to be room for a cat to get through. I picked up Freddie’s food and walked all over the house, calling his name and banging a fork against his plate. I checked downstairs, upstairs, in the attic and in all the cupboards, but there was no Freddie to be found. There was no miaowing either, so I was worried he might have escaped outside.
An inspection of the doors and windows showed that Freddie was still in the house, somewhere. I put some kibbles into a bowl and went around the house rattling the dry food. Eventually, having walked around the house I reluctantly went to the bathroom and opened the door.
I walked over to the hole and rattled the bowl. There was a scared miaow from under the bath and some scrabbling around as though he was trying to move, but couldn’t. I looked at the hole and wondered how a fully grown cat could fit through it. From what I remembered of the floor under the bath, there were narrow pieces of wood, perhaps six inches apart, supporting the tub itself; my guess was that Freddie was located between two of these pieces of wood and was unable to turn around and attempt to come back out again. In a way this was good news, because I could at least grab his tail if he was close enough to the hole.
I put on a pair of gardening gloves as I wasn’t sure what sharp debris might be under the bath; I didn’t think that Freddie would hurt me as he would know he was being rescued. I hoped that I could retrieve him otherwise I’d have to have the bath removed, which would be expensive. I placed my right arm into the hole and felt a bit like one of the vets from the British TV series “All Creatures Great and Small”, who had to assist with the difficult births of calves.
I gradually moved my hand around under the bath and then touched some fur. I wasn’t sure which part of his coat it was, but that gave me some encouragement as it showed he was in range. I tried to find more fur but succeeded only in grabbing one of his back paws, which Freddie didn’t like very much. He tried to pull away and I let him go as the last thing I wanted was to injure him. He miaowed again and sounded slightly panicky, so I renewed my efforts to find him.
After about five minutes my hand came into contact with his tail and I managed to obtain a good grip. I started to pull quite gently. Freddie miaowed and stuck his claws into something as I couldn’t move him. I pulled harder, but he refused to move. I said out loud “Freddie I am trying to help you,” and pulled again, but he wasn’t going anywhere. I then decided to use some psychology – with my other hand I picked up his bowl of kibbles and shook them gently. Freddie miaowed with hunger. I shook the bowl again and then pulled on his tail gently. He moved slightly and I continued to rattle the kibbles and pull on the tail until he was at the end of the bath where the hole was.
I put the bowl down as Freddie was going to have to be pulled out of the hole vertically by his tail and I would need my other hand to ensure his legs and torso didn’t get trapped or squashed when he was coming out of the hole.
My right hand came out of the hole gripping his tail. Freddie was now miaowing loudly. I made sure his back legs came out of the hole and then he started struggling so I pulled him away from the bath quickly. I put him on the ground and he ran to the kibbles and started to eat them voraciously.