‘I heard a long, drawn out me-o-o-o-w’

From our February 2013 issue

By Ruth TowillFort MacLeod, Alta.

It was going to be a busy morning as I planned my day: vacuum the house, do the laundry, make lunch for my family, as well as getting things ready for their supper, all before I left for my 3 to 11 p.m. nursing shift in the emergency department at the local hospital.

The first load of laundry was in the washing machine and I rushed upstairs, took the bag out of the vacuum (that was before there were disposable bags) and ran outside to empty it in the garbage can.

Back into the house, on the run, jammed the bag into the machine, slammed the end shut and turned on the vacuum, all in one quick movement.

I vacuumed four bedrooms, shutting dresser drawers and closing cupboard doors, all without once turning the vacuum off, until I came back to the end of the hallway where I shut it off and ran downstairs to the basement to put the first load of laundry into the dryer and start the second load of washing.

As I came back upstairs, I heard a long, drawn out “me-o-o-o-ow” and then another one. “I must have shut the kitten in one of the drawers or cupboards,” I thought, and frantically checked them all. No kitten and the “me-o-o-o-ows” continued.

Then down to the basement to check the furnace pipes as the strangled cries seemed to be coming from the hall floor. No kitten on any pipes.

I came back upstairs, and in utter disbelief, looked at the vacuum that I had been stepping over in my search for the kitten. There was another” me-o-o-o-ow” and I leaned down and undid the latch.

The end of the vacuum burst open and out shot the kitten, every hair on its body pointing in a different direction.

It had crawled inside to investigate while I had the bag out and because I had replaced the bag, locked the end and turned it on so quickly, it had had no time to escape.

The vacuum didn’t work very well after that and when the repairman came to investigate the problem (they made house calls in those days) as he was squatting by the machine testing it, I told him it hadn’t worked well since I vacuumed the bedrooms with the cat inside.

He did a double take, as he looked up at me. “Since you did what?” he asked, then fell over on the floor laughing and laughing. He said I should never sell that machine!