Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Caught - The Story

Cat #2
Originally uploaded by Arsmor
Last night, when Mr K got home from work, we collected all our various cat accessories - the cat carrier, a little toy, some tuna to lure them out with - and set out to give catching them another try, though we were fairly pessimistic about our chances of success.

Once we arrived at the church, I put a spoonful of tuna on a little plate and slipped it inside the gate. The smell instantly lured the kittens out of the underbrush in the garden, but wasn't quite enough to get them outside the gate. It might have been, given enough time, however it was at this point a small mob began to assemble. First came a woman who ran a small restaurant directly across the street - we'll call her Madame Restaurant. We communicated mostly through gestures and the occasional snippet of French. Gesturing wildly, she drug Mr K around the side of the building, insisting he climb the fence and showing him the best place to get over it. Within two minute he was inside and the kittens were so far back in the underbrush, we couldn't even see them.

Mr K gingerly stomped around in the brush for a little bit and Madame Restaurant eventually wandered back to her restaurant. At this point, a very stern looking older woman showed up (we'll call her the Stern Madame) and starting speaking in rapid Swiss German, which of course we don't understand at all. The scary thing about German is - and I know this is cliche - from tone alone you can't get much of an idea whether someone is cheering you on or about to call the police on you. Mr K hopped back over the fence and we returned to our original tactic of waiting outside the gate. Stern Madame slipped back and forth from French to German, speaking so quickly I could barely pick up a single word. She kept repeating something about needing to talk to "monsieur" and don't take kitties without talking to "monsieur". When I name-dropped the nice woman I had met before, the stern one visibly relaxed and nodded her approval - this neighborhood has an impressive grapevine!

As this was going on, an old man smoking a hand-rolled cigarette showed up to watch in silence and smile, nodding at me and Stern Madame both in equal measure. Then came another older woman, walking her dog - we'll call her Madame Avec le Chien. The crowd must have gotten the attention of Madame Restaurant, because she and two of her staff came back over. Just as all this was beginning to be way too much to follow for us, the man who I talked to before showed up - and it turns out that he's "monsieur." He assured Madame Avec le Chien and Stern Madame I was the one who he said could take the kittens. With this, Stern Madame walked off, only to appear a moment later with a key to the gate of the church!

Our hunt now had the necessary air of legitimacy. Mr K and I and Stern Madame walked back around the church, this time entering by the gate. It was back up into the shrubbery for Mr K and Stern Madame and I gave directions around the most dangerous obstacle to our hunt - the very angry maman chat who had returned a few moments before. Madame Stern, now very involved in the proceedings, kept shouting out the current location of maman et les chatons for Mr K as I translated. To the left! To the left! The white, by the wall! To the back! Attention la mere! It was exhilarating and exhausting. The first to be caught was the small striped one featured in my previous blog post. The kitten was passed from hand to hand (bucket-brigade style) out of the garden and, after a brief field trip across the street with Madame Restaurant (she took him inside long enough to show him off to the whole dining room) he was safely in the carrier.

At this point, we lost track of the little gray kitten who had been our second choice. Mr K was able to capture one of the white kittens and, as la mere had begun jumping out of the bushes at us, we decided that was close enough and quickly walked back out the way we came, the growls of mama cat loud behind us.

When we got back around to the front of the church, we were greeted by a mini-mob of jubilant locals and a carrier of two very scared kittens - no doubt nervous at the dogs nosing at the carrier - eek! We quickly lifted the kittens to safety and, after spending another 10 minutes thanking everyone and exchanging handshakes, we were on our way home with our new kittens!


Katie said...

lol sounds like an adventure!!! the kity is precious!! more pix on flickr?

Miz K said...

There will be soon - no one escapes the camera in this household!

Jacquelyn said...

hey! your blog is great, it's so nice to know that there are others like me who love CH but also can't comprehend it's inconveniences (ie, no mexican food). I briefly saw you were at CERN, I was there on the same day. I'll check back more often! Drop me a line if you are ever in Geneva and want to do something American (watch college football at Pickwick) or Swiss (go for big hike and fondue). A+!

Orionmoon said...

This is the best kitty story EVER!
I can almost hear stern madame telling Chris to schwaben die lederhosen krankheit sturm und drang vernussen und klingeld verstehen
(None of which, of course, means anything, but you should shout it out next time you have this type of thing occur)

Orionmoon said...

BY the way, google translates my gibberish as
schwaben the lederhosen Disease sturm and drang vernussen and small monetary understand

Miz K said...

Hah! The other day one of my friends used Babelfish to try and say "Babelfish is screwed up" and the French translation is gave her said, roughly, "Babelfish aims high." So close and yet...