If you were walking on the sidewalk and came across an average-sized cat with enchanting snake-green eyes but with white fur as dirty as the insides of a garbage can, would you stop and gaze at it, let alone pet or feed it? No? Well that is exactly what Janine was trying to convey to Toby.
His fur had become grey from the dirt he was gathering while playing around, who knows where. It was summer too so the heat made it easier to stick everything on to his fur. But, it was embarrassing having a cat follow you around that was so dirty. It was as if she was homeless and this was her pity victim. Janine would have none of it. Toby would get cleaned up today.
There was only one problem. Toby hated water.
Toby was the kind of cat that wanted its independence – so you would pet him only if he allowed you to, would eat only if he wanted to etc. But at times, he would follow Janine around everywhere. Even to the supermarket, where he would wait patiently outside for her to emerge with the shopping bags so they could continue their walk. It was funny really. But at least he could be presentable as an escort.
Today Janine was going to the laundry mat. Toby, unfortunately for his sake, decided to tag along.
As she was loading the laundry into the machine, Toby opted to play around, hiding in the load, then peeking out and hiding deeper. But when Janine was almost done, he came up with the silly idea of jumping in the machine with the clothes to scare her when he popped out. But Janine did not see him and simply shut the door and hit “start”.
Toby was in the washing machine. Loaded.
As the water began to fill up, he began to gulp. And as the motion began, he began to yell as loudly as a cat can screech. It took Janine a minute or two before she realized where that hair-raising sound came from. When she saw Toby’s eyes staring at her as they revolved among the clothes in the washing machine, she nearly fainted. White as a ghost and in an unprecedented state of panic, she was pressing all the buttons on the machine at once in a desperate attempt to get it to stop. But how do you stop this machine?? Could she unplug it? But where was the plug anyway? Not knowing what to do, she quickly dialed 911.
The fire fighters were there in less than three minutes (their station was two blocks down from the laundry mat).
Their first reaction was naturally a giggle. It was kind of funny seeing a shrieking cat turning 360 degrees in a load of whites. But they quickly got to work: one of them tugged the machine forward and the other managed to unplug it. Then they used five different tools to get the door open and let the water rush out.
Toby sprang out with all the energy he had left. He was a poor sight – a wretched, soaking wet cat. He shook off the water from his fur and jumped into Janine’s lap. At least both now could relax.
The firemen were still laughing as they departed.
But Toby’s adventure had two outcomes: his fur was now clean and silky white as snow again; he stopped following Janine everywhere and instead spent more time inside the house – you know, to avoid getting too dirty and be mechanically washed like that again!