In one corner, we have the maintenance man, standing 6-feet-tall and weighing in at 200 pounds. In the opposite corner, we have the world-reigning catnapping champion, Furball, standing 10 inches high at the shoulder and weighing a formidable 12 pounds. Who will reign supreme?
As I watched the two opponents sizing each other up in the foyer of my apartment, I debated whether I should intervene. In the end, I decided the Maintenance Man was capable of fending for himself. As the showdown played out, I began to wonder whether I had made the right decision ÔÇª
It all began rather innocuously. I placed a call to the building management and asked them to fix a small leak in the bathroom. Since I would be at work during the day, I gave the maintenance men permission to enter my apartment while I was out.
That evening, I returned home to find my cat, Furball, slightly perturbed. When I felt his back, I noticed a strange clump of matted fur. It was about the size of a dime, and felt like some glue had dried into his fur.
That’s when I noticed the ominous red glow of the light on the answering machine. Hesitantly, I pressed play. "We sent maintenance to your apartment, but they were unable to complete the work because your cat attacked them. Please call us back." The words hung in the air like smog over L.A.
I looked down at Furball. He stared up at me with his big green eyes and proceeded to purr as I dialed the number for the building management. "Hi, Carla, it’s Holly from apartment 22. I just got your message. What happened?"
"Well, apparently one of the maintenance guys picked up your cat and it attacked him, so the work didn’t get done,” she told me. “We’ll have to reschedule."
Suddenly, everything became very clear. Furball was sporting an innocent "Who, me?" expression. As friendly and sweet as he was, there was one thing he did not like ÔÇö and that was to be picked up.
Several weeks later, after the bathroom leak had been fixed, the smoke detector started beeping intermittently. I disconnected the battery and left the detector hanging from the ceiling. As a renter, I had no clue what was wrong so I called the building management and told them that the smoke detector was beeping. They suspected that the batteries were dead and told me that they would send someone by the next day to replace them.
When I returned home from work the next day, I noticed a small packet leaning against the base of the door. Curious, I reached down to pick it up. It was a 9-volt battery with a note attached.
This is a true story, and here is what the note said, word for word:
"Maintenance was here. Cat wouldn’t let us enter."
After laughing out loud, I opened the door with some trepidation. What chaos would meet my eyes? I was greeted by a little black cat, purring to his heart’s content. Nothing was amiss. If anything, Furball seemed extra loving and cuddly.
How could this sweet little cat keep two burly maintenance guys from entering my apartment?
Once again, something needed to be fixed in my apartment. This time it was the garbage disposal. I decided to stick around when maintenance came to look at it. I had to see with my own eyes what was going on with my cat.
The doorbell rang, and I opened the door. In stepped the maintenance man. Furball headed to the foyer. The final showdown was about to begin.
A bead of sweat appeared on the maintenance man’s forehead. I positioned myself on red alert, ready to grab Furball in an instant in case a melee ensued. Furball walked up to the maintenance man’s toolbox, paused, and then rubbed up against it.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Stand down. I flopped onto the sofa. Furball lay down on the floor and stretched out to his full length, right in the middle of the foyer.
What happened next was completely unexpected and it took all of my strength to suppress the laughter welling up inside me. The 6-foot-tall, 200-pound maintenance man pressed himself closely to the wall as he walked around Furball, giving the cat as wide a berth as possible. The scene was ridiculous. It looked like a cartoon elephant standing on a stepstool to avoid a mouse.
Furball twitched an ear and then proceeded to groom himself. After the maintenance man left, I gave Furball a pat on the head and nicknamed him my "Guard Cat."
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