Dear Max,

You were a playful kitten. Because you only had two humans to entertain you, we got a lot of your attention and you, in turn, got a lot of personal attention from us. And how you loved to play.

I take part of the blame for this incident, but then how could either of us have predicted this freak accident?

I was hanging laundry on our drying rack in a corner of the dining room and you were sitting in one of your favorite places – on a chair, under the edge of the table. Cats like quiet, protected areas and you loved to have a cover over your head.  Our chairs were old pressed-back chairs with spool backs – similar to the image above.

You were paying attention to the moving laundry as I pulled it out of the basket and draped it on the rack. Being a kitten, you jumped up onto the back of the chair so you could bat at the fabric as it flew past. And then you lost your balance.

You fell backward onto the seat of the chair with one of your hind legs caught between the spools. You immediately panicked and starts to thrash and cry out. I remember my husband running in from the other room, responding to the sounds of a cat in distress. I was terrified you would break or dislocate your leg.

I spoke calmly to you, and braved the teeth and nails of a panicky cat as I cradled you in my arms. But you didn’t try to scratch or bite me. You quieted enough to let me gently lift you up so my husband could free your leg from between the spools. Then you hid, until dinner time.

You were fine, and the next day you were back asleep on the seat of that chair in the afternoon sun.

What did I learn?

  • Sometimes our pets will find ways to hurt themselves that we could have never predicted, no matter how well we try to pet-proof our homes.
  • A calm and soothing presence can help your pets through stressful times – they will respond to your body language and stress level.