That hated bell! Although it provided music for her every move, it stopped her from being sneaky - and being sneaky is very important to a cat. She must be rid of that awful bell! She tried working her jaw around the collar, twisting and turning every which way. A little too clever by half, and not quite clever enough - the bell was attached not to a makeshift ribbon like we tied around her neck before, but to a real collar with a cat-proof snap. She began quietly, a patient prisoner working her way loose of the chafing collar, and had it halfway past her mouth - now only to work it past her nose and off her head! Yet the collar remained firm and unyielding. With the tough collar-strap pressed against the back of her mouth, she lost her composure, yowling and struggling to either restore the collar to its previous position or get it entirely off. From the sounds you'd have imagined her locked in a battle of epic proportions.
Ah, my poor cat! I felt rather than heard her yowl over the quiet after-dinner conversation in the living room. Throwing open the door that separated the sanctum of our rooms from the public part of the house, I found her writhing on the floor in what appeared to be boisterous play but upon closer inspection was sheer panic. I knew I must get that collar off. I plunged in, mumbling soothing words while frantically searching for the buckle that would undo the ill-fated collar. The cat lashed out, all pointy claws and teeth. I grabbed some towels from the linen closet in an attempt to still her enough to remove the collar, but those I had were too small to cover my hands effectively.
Noises from our quarters worried our guests. Distracted by the arduous task of subduing the cat, I was startled to find one of our guests working beside me. More mindful of the scratches he'd receive than my own, I dashed to find a larger towel. Before I got back, however, the collar was off - whether through our guest's efforts or through the cat's luck, I do not know. Unbelled at last, the cat calmly preened herself as if nothing had happened. Life returned to normal - at least, until the numerous little gashes she'd torn on our arms started stinging.
Such hospitality, I thought, to make one of our guests suffer this! I had no time to blush. My mother took charge of the situation, sending me to retrieve some antiseptic from the bathroom cabinet and showing our guest the kitchen sink. I fetched the antiseptic and some cotton buds and offered them to our guest. I was ashamed to see my cat had drawn blood, and mumbled pathetic excuses for my cat's behavior. He cleaned his hands with good nature and grace, assuring me that he was fine. Then it was time to examine the scratches all over my own hands. I was not sure what to do, but he helped me spread the antiseptic over the fresh wounds.
Perhaps it is true that no matter how small a crisis is - like a too-clever cat needing rescuing from an evil collar) - it can still reveal something unexpected and wonderful about a person's character. Times like this test us, and he has shown himself a remarkable friend - quick to aid and good-natured even in suffering. If these moments form the mosaic of friendship, this jagged piece is one that I am happy to have.