I have crossed paths with animals occasionally in the course of my work.  I’ve towed cars with dogs inside, especially while doing impounds, although our local animal control office sometimes claimed that it was illegal.  They sometimes wanted to come out and remove the animal first, for the animal's safety.  I say sometimes, because late at night they didn't seemed very concerned about it.  This is problematic, of course, because dogs don't like to be removed from anything, and cars are often locked.  Unlocking a car with a violent dog inside is unnerving.  Apparently it can be dangerous to tow a vehicle with a dog inside, however, because one vehicle owner sued the company I worked for, claiming that the dog fell in its cage and broke a rib while I was towing the vehicle.  I guess maybe the dog had a balance problem, because I was driving slower than the vehicle would have been moving under its own power had the owner been driving it.  Strange.

Cats are not often left in vehicles.  I guess we can be without our cats long enough to drive to the health club or the grocery store.  I guess cats can be trusted to be left at home.  I guess cats are smart enough to not want to go anywhere in a car.  One company I drove for towed abandoned vehicles for the city, which led me to an interesting episode with a cat (I know what you're thinking, and no, it wasn't a dead cat).  The vehicle in question was one of those small Toyota "motor homes" from the mid-70s.  Some abandoned vehicles are truly abandoned.  Some are actually someone's home.  That was the case with this one.  Whoever lived in it wasn't "home" when I arrived.  I was happily working away, hooking up to the vehicle, making sure there wasn't anything loose that might fall off--typical abandoned vehicle procedure--when a local citizen walked by and said, "I think there's a cat in there.  I just saw it in the window."

I groaned.  A cat in the window is enough to prolong a tow considerably.  The thing is, if this person wouldn't have happened by, I would have just towed the vehicle away.  It would have sat in our impound lot for a month or so and been sold.  As for the cat, who knows? I might have noticed it at some point and fished it out.  Someone at the impound lot might have noticed it at some point and adopted it.  But now I knew about it, so I had to do something about it.  I couldn't pretend I didn't know it was there.

I called Animal Control, and they said they would come right out and get the cat.  I waited about an hour, and then they called back and said they would meet me at the impound lot, so I headed across town, cat in tow.  Animal Control was waiting for me when I got there, so I unhooked the vehicle.  The Animal Control Technician was a... how shall I say it... burly woman. The rear door of the "motor home" was locked and I didn't know how to open it.  The cab doors were open, and she tried climbing in through the cab to the sleeping quarters, all the time calling "here kitty, kitty."  She couldn't make it in all the way.  Finally she asked me if I would go in and find the cat.  I don't know if you've ever lived in a car, or if you've ever been in a car that someone lives in, but there can be an odor.  There was an odor in this vehicle.  I don't care to describe it.  And it's not like you can climb in between the seats of a Toyota motor home through the curtains to the sleeping quarters and fish around for a cat without getting some of the odor on your clothes.  So I'm in there for about 5 minutes, which is about 4 minutes longer than I can hold my breath, rummaging around through clothing and blankets and old magazines, and I hear the Animal Control lady say, "He's out here."  Somehow the cat got past me and wandered out and hopped into her arms.  It was a kitten.

We have cats at our house, and we always have.  I wouldn't say I'm a cat lover, but this little episode at work is the tip of the iceberg as far as what I've gone through to take care of them.  Cats owe me big time.  Somehow I don't think I'll be able to collect on that debt.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper


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