A Different Look At Core Values
My mom came for a two week visit that was extended into nine months due to medical issues. As you may or may know my mom left Sat am – and we are adjusting to life without mom and making steps to re-ignite as a family.
My mom did rope me into one more thing before she left. In sharing this story I wonder, what would you do? What would your core values and sense of self compel you to do or not do? I found it to be the lesser of two evils so to speak.
Here’s the Rogue Kitty Kasper Life Situation, and my story:
A friend of hers from her former senior’s building has a rogue cat as in it’s not allowed but has been living there for 6 years. Her friend Eva (names are changed to protect the not so innocent) is now quite disabled – and has limited movement.
She was beside herself that the building was to have its yearly inspection (yesterday) and her friends couldn’t come and sneak out the cat. So my services were offered – by my mom, because I have SOOO much time.
Anyway, as you may or may not know, I’m one of those people that cannot lie to save my life. I was very uncomfortable with this, but the thought of a home bound 70+ year old woman losing her cat (here’s a similar losing cat story from Eve Samples) and only source of daily TLC felt worse so I was compelled to help once I thought about her life.
The question I asked myself, What is most important? … following rules which unfortunately create more isolation or creating a sense of wellness and joy in someone’s life that has so little and this means so much?
Yesterday I left my husband to get our 8 year old son to get ready for school and headed to the building for Code: Rogue Kitty Cat Kapers
As I was buzzed in, and noticed there was a lot of activity downstairs which was due to the pending inspection that day. I also didn’t want the manager to recognize me. Although he hadn’t seen me in a few years I was there almost daily for five years when my son was young and my mom helped us with care.
The manager, Sam (gotta keep changing those names) did look to engage me and gave me a look of I think I know you. I looked blankly back turned my head and fiddled with the elevator all the time thinking shit what if I/we get caught?
I went to the apartment. The cat lives on an upper floor. I had been told that only one person in the hallway knew about Rogue Kitty, as well as other pertinent information such as she hates her carrier and would mew loudly which isn’t the best way to secretly get Rogue Kitty out of the building.
I helped hide the evidence in the apartment such as the food dish, water dish and scratch post. Noticing Eva’s lack of “seeing” kitty evidence I even vacuumed.
Eva told me to take the stairwell closest to her apartment because I could directly descend to the garage instead of going down the long hallway and chance her loud mewing being hear by another resident.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a senior building, but my experience has proved that everyone is quite noisy and take pride in knowing things. I was amazed that more people didn’t know about Rogue Kitty. In fact my mom only found out a week before she left because Eva was already feeling devastated at both the thought of being found out and losing her buddy and her previous accomplices couldn’t help.
Instructions were: I would place the cat in the backseat of the car and crack the windows before leaving. Although the inspection would end at 1:30 we decided that I wouldn’t come back until 5 when the building manager would no longer be in his office.
They said their goodbyes and I opened the door, looking both ways for no bodies and then I guiltily sped to the stair well – fumbled with the heavy exit door open while balancing the cat carrier. Please don’t let anyone see me I thought. “good girl” I said as I felt her shifting her weight – “everything is good” I said hoping she wouldn’t start to mew.
At the bottom of the next stairwell the stairs abruptly stopped and I was confused.
I went back up a flight, maybe I missed something. I descended again and found myself at the same place with no further stairwell. “Crap!” I knew I needed to go down one more set of stairs.
I wasn’t sure where I was in the building because the building is built on a slope so I wasn’t sure if “1” meant first floor with the manager and others hanging out or if there was also a “g” for ground floor and this is the floor where the manager’s office was located. I opened the door and was still confused. I felt I couldn’t risk running the length of the floor and bumping into people and having the cat mew.
When my mom lived here I used to spend a good 20 to 30 minutes each time I came over chatting with whoever was hanging out in the front entry. Since I was feeling guilty I also felt like I didn’t want to be recognized, get into trouble (abetting a rouge cat and having its owner cry tears of sadness) or diminish my mom’s chances to re-apply which she would be doing in the near future.
I saw two doors. I opened the first one and it lead to a hallway so I closed it. I then ran over to the exit door and pushed it open. It lead to the back side of the building. I ran out hoping that I wouldn’t get locked into a courtyard, At moment past my ability to shift gears I realized I should have left the door propped until I knew if I could actually get to the street, but it was too late and the door closed with me starring at it.
I shifted the carrier into my arms like a box and continued to whisper nervous sweet nothings to Rogue Kitty which were similar to the ones I’d whisper to my son when he was an infant and would begin to get uneasy in public. “Hey sweet pea, you’re doing a good job. We’re almost there.” Thankfully Rogue Kitty was either comfortable enough not to mew or totally distraught and couldn’t get it out, although I like to think the first choice was true.
I turned the next corner and found myself in the larger courtyard. I now recognized where I was from when mom lived in the building. I also knew that the windows to my left were from the great room next to the manager’s office. I continued to hold Rogue Kitty like a box and walked slowly but purposefully because I realized it would be kind of odd for a strange person to have come in the building and now be outside alone carrying something with no Senior in site. My heart was still racing and I was actually sweating. I realized I only potentially looked guilty of something because I felt very, very guilty. Then I reminded myself of my true purpose.
The next corner put me in the front of the building and big glass doors. I didn’t want to be there very long as I knew someone could open them up to check in with my location and actions. So I put kitty on the ledge, jumped the wall and picked her up to continue my trail around the block to the garage.
I came around to the garage and as my luck would have it the door to the building was wide open and multiple people were there hosing down the ground and moving things. Unfortunately the drop off car was 20 feet from said location and I decided it was not a good idea to take Rogue Kitty to her car due to potentially being found out with a loud mew.
I turned and carried her to my car. Once we were safely inside I thought. OK, Kitty we now have the day to kill and I can’t let you out. I drove to the local drug store my original intention was to stop there on the way home before heading into my home office.
I was in the store long enough to have about 8 items in my hand basket when the phone rang. It was Eva and there was a problem. She forgot to ask me to move the litter box and she wasn’t able to do it herself. I’d need to immediately come back as the inspection was due to start in the next 10 minutes and she wasn’t sure when they would be at her place and was very nervous they’d learn about Rogue Kitty.
I of course thought it was more possible that they’d notice the smell of lingering and prevalent cigarette smoke (which also isn’t allowed), but at this point only Rogue Kitty was my worry. So I had made sure I sprayed a little extra glade before initially leaving.
I quickly paid for my items. As I drove back I thought do I go through the front door again or use her key for the garage and go up the stairwell? I parked around the corner of the block and jogged over to the garage. The outside door was closed which was a good sign, but the hallway door was open from the inner building and 8 feet in front of the door which I was now standing with the key in hand was Sam the manager and a few other people. Crap again. I withdrew my key and arm and quickly walked away because only residents are suppose to have keys.
I called Eva again so that she could more quickly buzz me in at the front door. It still took her a few minutes to negotiate her own movements to the buzzer. Although we had hung up, during my waiting time I kept my head down and stayed on the phone pretending to talk to Eva so that none of the multiple people including the manager would engage me. From past experiences with my mom I knew that they would often open the door and greet faces they recognized or ask questions confirming that you were legit.
The buzzer rang, I opened the door, kept my head down, as I continued to talk to my phantom caller I walked past numerous people and directly to the elevator and pushed the button. Although I seemed like an eternity it was less than a minute before it arrived.
Back at Eva’s I hid the litter box evidence and vacuumed the corner. I couldn’t get all the litter up so I rearranged some furniture to disguise the very visible evidence. I asked if I could have some of her recycling so that I had an excuse to check out my escape route. We said our goodbye’s again. I had to assure Eva that Rogue Kitty was just fine, picked up my recycling and left.
I went down the hallway and found the other stairwell which did lead to the garage, her car and where the garbage and recycling go. I then went back upstairs and retraced my steps back to the elevator so that all saw me leave through the front door. I don’t know why, but I figured it made my visit appear legit and my next appearance scheduled for later that day wouldn’t seem odd.
I drove home and thought after 6 years Eva definitely doesn’t know her building because “that” stairway did not lead to the garage and laughed at my earlier actions. I’m so glad that all went well, although I wasn’t looking forward to my afternoon adventures.
One home I gently unwrapped Rogue Kitty’s bag, thanked her for a job well done and placed her in my son’s room closing the door so that our dog wouldn’t create a stink.
She had a quiet day and somehow flipped her cushion so that she was underneath it. I did try to give her some water but she wanted nothing to do with me. I also knew not to take her out as Eva told me she hated her carrier and hoped that Rogue Kitty would forgive her for putting her in a pillow case to get her in it.
At 5:20 pm with a safe entry through the garage using Eva’s key I re-entered the building and brought Rogue Kitty to her loving and waiting momma. I put everything back in place from litter box to scratching post. It was a happy reunion with Eva thanking me about 17 times in the 10 minutes I was there, and even though I know Rogue Kitty would be grateful if she fully understood our adventures she wanted nothing to do with me and promptly hid behind the couch.
What would you have done? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
PS. I did have a conversation with Eva about applying to a building that accepts cats. She wasn’t aware that other buildings accepted them. She is concerned about “how” she would move, although I am not that excited about being the “one” I told her that when she gets accepted I’ll help her figure it out even if I have to rope a few neighbors into it.