Friday, 12 February 2016

The Little Chimney Sweep

Oh dear. This is embarrassing.

While Gracie endured a self-imposed nine-day exile under the sofa, life around her went on. And while I'm quite sure she would have stayed there indefinitely if allowed to, Gracie was about to be rudely forced out of hiding.

Being a young and recently rescued cat, a trip to the vet was required. Not only did Gracie need to be checked over, she needed her vaccinations.

While any progress between Gracie and I was invisible to the naked eye, I hoped that through our daily contact she was beginning to get used to me and that the familiarity would lead to trust. So there was NO WAY I was going to be the one to put her back into the carry box for the trip to the vet.

Fortunately for us both, my partner David agreed to help out.

Unfortunately for us all, the first attempt to get Gracie into the box was not successful.

In hindsight I feel like an idiot for not blocking the chimney before attempting to move Gracie. But when a cat hasn't moved at all in nine days you forget that when push comes to shove cats can move far more quickly than unsuspecting humans can.

Turns out, Gracie wasn't entirely rigid. She darted up away from David and up the chimney stack faster than the speed of light.

Behold the aftermath (when I filmed this, Gracie was still in the chimney and I was in tears).

I was beside myself. Never mind the mess, I was sure Gracie would die up there.

The chimney wasn't in use - thank goodness - but it contained a huge amount of soot, most of which Gracie dislodged as she scrambled up the stack. I hadn't been able to coax her out from under the sofa yet, so there was no way she was going to come out of the chimney with me in the room.

We decided the best, and possibly only, course of action was to leave her alone for a few hours in the hope she'd find her own way down.

I returned to the room four hours later and there she was, back under the sofa.

We were more successful in getting her into the carry box the following day, when the extent of the mess she'd created became more apparent.

Gracie with sooty paws
Look at the state of those paws
Just as well we were going to see the vet as I was very concerned that she may have breathed in soot or licked soot from herself and become ill. I'm pleased to say she was given a clean bill of health in this regard.

Sadly, the same could not be said for the carpet.

Sooty carpet
LESSON TWO: Block the chimney off

I know it seems obvious now, but we hadn't seen Gracie move at all in over a week and didn't anticipate how fast she could go when she put her mind to it.

This, dear reader, is what we should have done in the first place...

Chimney blocked off
No one is getting up here
We did manage to get her to the vet, albeit with further collateral damage (David picked her up wearing gardening gloves. She bit right through them and his hand.). Although underweight (no surprise), the vet said she was doing very well. I said to the vet, "This is the first time I've actually been able to look at her properly". "Well, she'll never be a cat that you can pick up", said the vet...

Please support Wood Green, The Animals Charity by sponsoring my Fire Walk (16th April 2016). Even if you can only spare £1. Wood Green will make your money go a long way towards helping the unwanted animals in their care.


  1. Carpets can be replaced, Gracie cannot so I could understand your concern.

    1. Yes indeed. At is happens, I sold the house six months later and replaced all the carpets anyway so no real damage done. ;-D