Before I had Lou, Leo and Chevy, I had another multi-pet, multi-species household.
In other words, I had Duncan, a tri-color Rough Collie; I also had Boo, a big gray cat.
Well, at that point in time I had just moved into a fixer-upper house in the middle of winter. I was so thrilled to have a big pantry (amongst other things) that I didn’t mind having to remodel the place, not at all.
So, until the time came to remodel the joint right, I threw down some self-adhesive floor tiles on the chipboard subfloor (to keep the splinters down) to hold me until Spring, and applied Great Stuff (expandable spray foam insulation) to some open cracks near the pantry door to the outside to keep the heat in better to this unheated pantry, and from there wandered back through the kitchen and called it a night. I didn’t think anything of this at the time. I was tired from remodeling & just wanted to go to bed.
Well..I had forgotten that Duncan (my Collie) could open doors. Guess who picked that night to open the pantry door, meaning to open the next pantry door, to outside? Fortunately, I had the pantry door to outside locked, but, Duncan didn’t shut the kitchen side pantry door behind him when he came back into the kitchen (because that would have been just too well-mannered or something).
Anyway, at some point in this equation, Boo (the cat) not only wandered into the pantry, but got the kitchen side door shut behind him, and from there managed somehow to get the cap off of the spray foam insulation, God knows how.
I only found this out when Duncan came to get me at oh-dark-thirty, all doggy concern. If you know dogs at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The cold nose treatment. Over and over and over and over again. with those soft little whining sounds..
I got up to investigate, and made it about half way to the living room before I heard the great howls of catly protest coming from behind the closed pantry door.
I flew into the kitchen, opened up the pantry door, and just about died. The first thing I saw was great misshapen yellow globs of frozen expandable spray foam insulation from one end of the pantry to the other. Most of it on my freshly laid pantry floor. With a bright yellow cat shaped lump in the middle of it all.
I don’t know how he did it, but Boo the cat, had covered himself, the floor, and the walls, in Great Stuff (expandable spray foam insulation). But that’s not all. He glued himself to the floor so thoroughly he couldn’t move, and the whole shebang had frozen. Not that it takes long in an unheated pantry in New Hampshire in January.
Complicating matters, was the fact that I lived alone, and had just started dating a man that I desperately wanted to impress. And my father , from whom I am estranged, was on the small town fire department in the town I lived in, and the closest veterinary hospital was over an hour away and it was bloody unlikely that anyone was doing a house call.
Long story short, playing helpless diva girly girl and shouting for help was not an option.
After a stream of heartfelt muttered obscenities, and tapping the floor to make sure the sucker was dry enough to walk on (you didn’t think I was going to glue my expensive LL Bean slippers to the floor in the middle of winter, did you?!), I went in, thinking I was just going to peel Boo off of the floor, wash him off in the sink, and call it a day.
What I thought was going to happen..did not happen.
Boo didn’t come up off of the floor. The whole sticky tile floor came up off of the subfloor. So, the floor, still covered in expandable spray foam insulation, and the cat, came up in my hands, all at once.
There was no muttering of obscenities this time. I think I swore creatively enough, with f-bombs a-plenty enough to make a sailor blush and make the trucker standing next to him take notes.
There was nothing else to do but haul the whole frozen stiff shebang out back through the pantry door into the kitchen, and ponder what to do next, while letting the cat and everything defrost. Which is what I did, thinking that this was one hell of a way to wake up in the morning!
Now, fortunately for me, I still had my grooming kit from when I was a groomer.. and I’d mostly unpacked the house. So I not only had skills..but dammit, I was a woman with a mission and a toolkit.
I grabbed my Oster clippers with the #50 surgical blade and went to town, thinking that I’d shave the cat off the vinyl floor from the top down. Nope. Nothing doing. Was not happening.
Sterner stuff was required. So, being me, and being more than a bit worried and pissed off, I grabbed a hammer and a steak knife. Thinking I was going to pry that sonofabitching floor off of the cat. Nope. Nothing doing. Expandable spray foam insulation is tougher than it looks. Who knew? Not me..this was my first rodeo with the stuff.
One hearty flurry of F-bombs later, I’d broken most of the floor off around Boo using nothing more than every single leverage and energetic transfer trick I’d learned in massage therapy school.
From there I was able to put Boo in the sink to hold him still..and very carefully (I do NOT recommend doing this unless you’re DAMN sure of what you’re doing) breaking into the crust of spray foam insulation encapsulating Boo. I opened up just enough of a hole so that wonder of wonders, I could get the clippers down in there and start making progress..such as it was, towards getting that crap off of him.
Great Stuff expandable spray foam insulation, medium haired cat fur, and Oster #50 clipper blades are not exactly compatible materials. It took me over an hour to free the cat from his spray foam insulation and sticky tile prison..but free him I did!
My next problem, however, was chemical residue. I was going to have to wash this cat off. Boo was pushing 30 pounds and I’d never washed him before.
Boo was a mellow spirit, thank God, and I had a nice deep hairdressers’ sink down in the back part of the house, put in by the previous owner who had turned the back of the house into a hair salon.
So I threw this bald, stressed out, chemical-stinking cat over my shoulder and wandered on down to the back of the house, stopping by the bathroom on the way to grab shampoo, and plunked the cat in the hairdresser’s sink.
From there I turned the water on and not a drop came out.
I got pissed off all over again because I knew that damn sink worked because I’d just seen it work during the house inspection and I thought I was going to have to call the guy I desperately wanted to impress, and…oh! I found the water shutoff and it’s in the off position.
So I knocked that sucker on without any further ado and I was back in business. I washed that cat off in record time (and he was an angel about it, too!), wrapped him in a towel, and got him into a carrier and set the cage dryer (because of course I still had one of those too) on it, while I rolled up that failure of a pantry floor, stuffed it into a garbage bag and hauled it out to the curb for trash day..
When the guy I’d so much wanted to impress heard the story, he wasn’t proud of me at all. He laughed like hell.
The moral to this story: Hide the Great Stuff in a place where your cat can’t get to it–like in another building or something. Might want to hide the sticky tiles there too.
and a word to the wise? Sticky tiles don’t stick worth a hill of beans on a raw chipboard subfloor in an unheated pantry in January. Trust me. I know.