I’ve had such a consistent run of a combination of non-vacations (as in working during my vacation; in 2009, for instance, I had to continue pretty much full on with my drafting of ECONNED while on a visit to Europe) and disasters during vacation to make me leery of the proposition, even when I desperately need a break.
This holiday has proven to be no exception. I got back today. One of my cats did not greet me at the door. He’s trapped behind a 10 foot tall bookcase. There is only about a 3 inch gap between it and the wall, but there is a little space below its bottom shelf. This cat is at least 11 pounds. I have no idea how he could possibly have squeezed himself in.
He got himself behind it once before when he was panicked by a party, but he managed to get himself out after a few hours. He’s fatter now and seems unable to execute the departure maneuver, since he has been there at least a day and has been making diligent efforts from time to time since I’ve been back (the weekend cat sitter was freaked out yesterday at not seeing him out and about as usual).
The bookcase is extremely solidly built, with a base that is 8 feet long. The upper shelves are actually 2 side by side components, each firmly cabled to the wall. I’m at a loss to figure out how the guy who installed them 18 years ago did it, and I don’t see any easy way to get them moved forward that won’t do at least one of 1. Damage the wall 2. Damage the floor or 3. Damage the bookcase AND 4. Take a minimum of four people, which is more than the number of workmen on my building’s staff (as in I don’t know how to round up enough sturdy guys who have some mechanical skills to get this done. A friend who knows some of the guys at the neighboring buildings already asked around, and they aren’t up for working in another building. In fairness, it may be a union or building liability insurance issue).
The best option in theory would be to cut open a space over where the cat is, but that section of wood is so thick that I’m not sure even a good drill can do it (plus you’ve got high odds of hurting the cat, who would be panicked by the noise). Cutting open the back is more straightforward (the wood is thinner, plus it is not exactly where the cat is) but I’m not sure the cat could worm himself around to escape that way (as in it’s probably as tight a squeeze as getting back out the way he came in, and he’s not able to do that). The other option (if the super can figure out how to do it) would be to remove a section of baseboard from the wall. 2 inches beyond the end of the bookcase and 4 inches behind would probably give him just enough extra width on the path he came in on for him to get out.
Since I have rung around and can’t locate anyone with tools and a good pair of arms to help today, the cat is going to spend another night back there. I’m not happy about that, but cats can get by a very long time with no food or water, and he does seem to be OK save for being really upset. My super has been alerted and will come up tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed. Otherwise, I have to find a way surgically destroy a piece of furniture and hope no cats are hurt in the process.