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The Woodpecker and the Chimney

by The Riley Family, Key Largo, Florida, USA

(The Riley Family -- Sara, Chris, Berek, Loric, Bannor & Elena)


We have four indoor cats. This morning, My husband (Chris) walked past the fireplace and saw Bannor (one of our cats -- mostly black w/ white socks and stomach/ruff, and yes, this is relevant) asleep in front of the fireplace. When he returned five minutes later he discovered the entire ground in front of the fireplace covered in black soot. Following the sooty paw prints, he discovered both Bannor and Elena (black/orange/brown w/ white socks and stomach/ruff) rolling around on the floor, completely covered in soot (Elena looked like a piece of charcoal w/ eyes, and Bannor was completely Black). The floor and the white cushions of the wicker furniture were black too.

Throwing B & E into the bathroom we then discovered Loric (who is colored like a holstein -- black and white, but mostly white on his legs, stomach, feet, and chest. oh, and face) emerging from the fireplace. You can imagine what he looked like.

We began to bathe the cats (with help from my sister Carlyn and her new husband Brian) which is a story unto itself (suffice it to say that Chris, Carlyn, and Sara soon became the same color as the cats). Brian left for a towel and the camera and returned w/ the news that a large bird was flying around the inside of the house. Sure enough, a woodpecker had been in the fireplace and the remaining unsullied cat was chasing it around the house. After watching the bird fly face first into the glass door several times we opened the door and it flew out of the house, carrying a tale of terror and woe to all his friends.

At that point the unsullied cat, w/ white feet, walked through the heart of the soot. Into the tub w/ him too.

No amount of soap has gotten Loric clean - he even has soot all over his face. He will spend the rest of his days as a grey and black cat. All four of them look like disheveled grey rats. The floor tile is now a uniform shade of grey (mopping served mostly to evenly distribute the soot) interspersed w/ black foot prints (Carlyn's and mine). the furniture looks like a dalmation molted onto it. Two of the cats are lying on a white throw rug. I assume a large grey wet spot will be there when they decide to move. I am seriously considering dragging a hose into the house and hosing off the walls, floor, and ceiling where the soot covered bird was sitting.

... and people ask us if we really think we are ready to have kids... [insane laughter]


Editor's note:

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