Another midnight crisis and still no emergency plans

sleep deprived-pixgoodI am a deep sleeper. My mother said I could sleep through a war. The only sound that can bring me out of a deep sleep is the sound of a sick cat. That is it. (This post is not about sick cats. You’re welcome.)

It’s not unusual for the beloved husband to comment on a particularly bad storm we had overnight and I say, “What storm?”

Over the weekend I woke up to something. I had to strain to hear it. It was a soft whiny whirring. Like a screechy fan.

I lay in bed for ten minutes listening. I was worried. Maybe something was going to blow or start a fire. I should check it out but I didn’t want to leave my soft, warm bed.

There was no way I was going back to sleep. The cats were all up. They heard it but weren’t concerned. I depend on them to react if we have a real crisis. (I have read articles about this so don’t burst my bubble!)

That didn’t stop me from getting up and checking it out. I was all over the house. Do you know how many noises a house makes in the middle of the night?

The heat pump was going full speed. (Surprisingly loud. The unit is outside the house.)

The water softener was back washing. (This sounded like major flooding. I have the plans for an ark but what’s a cubit?)

The stairs creak when you walk on them (like something from a Stephen King novel). They don’t creak during the day.

Toilet flushing takes forever. (More flooding.)

Fans, motors, water – all things you don’t hear during the day.

I checked out the basement only to have one of the cats sneak into the work area. I had to chase her out. Now I am super wide awake (like Starbucks extra shot awake!).

The beloved husband, who wakes up when a fish farts in the outdoor pond, was still sleeping. Or was he? Maybe this was his (sinister) way of having me do all the checking.

As I crawled into bed, he crawled out with his Kindle. He was going to read. (Seriously? How can you read when the house might blow up?) 

I asked if he heard the noise.

He did. That was all I needed to resume sleeping. It was his turn to worry.

I heard switches going on and off and finally the noise stopped but I didn’t need to know why. Tomorrow would be soon enough.

Turns out that our radon system which has a fan in the attic above our bedroom went out. What we heard was the motor’s dying breath. Another thing to replace.

This is similar to our fire alarm fiasco we had in the spring.

We still don’t have an emergency plan for exiting with four cats. This is how I see it playing out.

Jake: “Yo cupcake, what’s happening? Can you get me some kibble? No, I’m not going outside. It’s too cold. My package will get cold.”

Mollie: “Ewwww, what smells bad. My fur needs combing. I can’t go out without a nice comb out. How does my tail look?”

Hazel: “I’m going under the bed. Get me out when it’s over and have some extra tuna on hand.”

Morgan: “Hey, there are some cute firemen at the front door. I’ll show them where the beer is. Let’s party!”

Any suggestions for planning an emergency exit with these four cats are welcome.


 If you are interested in knowing what happened to the fire alarm system  you can click here. Truly it’s one of my favorites!



41 thoughts on “Another midnight crisis and still no emergency plans

  1. Now, here’s a crisis I have not planned for. Thanks for giving me something else to lose sleep over. You’re welcome. Funny post, Kate. I also was a dead-to-the-world sleeper when I was a kid. The image that crops up, though, is from the sitcom, “Soap,” when one of the characters fell asleep in their soup. 😉


  2. I sleep like the dead, too, so I know what you are describing when there is something that really needs your attention. We have had emergency vehicles on our street, even right in front of our house, and I’ve slept through the entire thing. I am no good in an emergency exit of any kind. I’ve had experience during earthquakes, and I do everything wrong. So I don’t think I should give any advice. Maybe your cats will surprise you and take the lead!


  3. I’m glad everything was ok, Kate. If you find out any great exit strategy with cats, please share. We always worry about that, too. During Hurricane Sandy, as we heard chunks of siding coming loose, slamming against the house and then ripping off the house, it dawned on us that we only had one cat carrier and two large cats. We figured we could always put the most cooperative of our boys in a pillowcase if we were desperate and had to evacuate. Once power was restored, we bought a second carrier. Now, if we could only figure out how we’d actually capture both boys and get them in their carrier during an emergency…


  4. I too am like you and generally can sleep through just about anything and my husband wakes up to the slightest noise (problematic because I talk in my sleep). But, like you, if something wakes me up, I worry and have to investigate and struggle with settling. Because if it woke me up, it must be terrible (usually it is the fire alarm because someone in our building burnt something).
    We have had a few fire alarms at our place and we can barely get the two of us out with the one cat (he turns into Houdini when that alarm goes off). I can’t imagine the four cats minus keeping them herded all the time just in case.


    • My husband has a shower brush hanging on a suction hook in the shower. That things falls down always in the middle of the night with a big crash. The first few times I thought there was an intruder and it took a while to figure it out. (Who looks inside the shower when you hear a crash?) Now I just assume every noise is that brush! No helpful hints for the cat.


  5. I’m with Patricia…I have full faith in the feline instincts of getting out alive. If they’re not bothered well, what the hell.
    I love your little dialogue between them. I can truly hear it as they make their way outside.


  6. “a fish fart”.. dying! I am the see all, hear all in our little family of two. I smiled when I read about the heat pump, the water softener(which IS a flood of water sound and loud, and the radon fan. We have ignored our probable radon problem and know we need to test for it. Ugh. I don’t know about escaping FROM a house with four cats, carriers sound good. We once had to round up 4 cats and take refuge in a closet when a tornado went through our apartment complex in Louisiana. We stuffed each cat in a pillow case and held on tight.


  7. Pretty hard to vacate from cats in a big house, Kate. Make sure, though, that you have at least two cages and two back packs. I have to carry Maurice once in a back pack to vacate the apartment.


  8. I always look to the cats if I hear something out of the ordinary. If they are bothered by it I will investigate but if they just nod off again so do I. I have no plans for an emergency exit with my two cats. But then I have no plans for an emergency.


    • Cats are sensitive to things. I can tell we have visitors by the way they jump down and run upstairs like the devil is after them. It’s long before I hear the car in the driveway! I am expecting them to alert me to a real emergency.


  9. I was up the other night at 3am trying to figure out why our furnace was squeaking, Kate 😀 (Mystery still unsolved as it stopped making that sound an hour later) I am a very light sleeper so any ‘odd’ noise wakes me up.


  10. Why do these things always happen in the early a.m.? For awhile, my husband and I slept with industrial-grade ear protectors by our bed because our fire alarm was going off randomly (but always at night). I envy your normally sound sleeping… just about any fish fart will wake me up.


  11. I have no emergency plans for my three… I’ve thought about it but each one is so different I am afraid I would be spending all the time rounding them up with the house collapsing around me.


  12. Kate, Have your cat carriers nearby. Seriously. I had cats. Shove them in. If this happens again. As far as your husband is concerned, that is a husband thing—–to let us do all the work. He was awake. But faking it. It is not a bad thing, just a husband thing! Hope it wasn’t anything serious!


  13. Great post, Kate . . . but no suggestions.

    Tigger usually comes running when we shake a bag of treats. So that’s our emergency evacuation plan. Grab the treats and wait for Tigger to follow us.


    • They can ‘right themselves’ in a fall but they don’t like exiting burning houses preferring to hide under a bed until everyone goes. I had a friend whose house burned. They had a dog and cat. The dog got out but they never knew what happened to the cat. The local shelter advised them to go back to the house several times a day because sometimes a cat can survive and will come looking for home. It worked and she got her cat back uninjured. She was lucky. There are many stories of people who lose animals in a fire especially is no one was home at the time.


  14. At least you know your subconscious mind is aware of what’s happening in your house! Here’s a suggestion. You will have to put up with a lot of noise. But train your cats to come to (say) the bedroom, front hall, or wherever by giving them a treat when they hear the alarm sound. It just might work.


    • Since they don’t really like to be close to each other, I don’t hold out much hope. Hazel goes directly under the bed when the doorbell rings and no amount of treats gets her out until she knows that everyone is gone. When we have house guests she eats at night or early morning when everyone is in bed.


  15. Sooo funny. It’s true, all true. Last night I commented, “Listen to the wind blow outside.” “Grandma,” grandson corrected. (I can tell when he’s going to let me down easy when he prefaces his comments like that.) “It’s the dryer in the laundry room.”
    So glad we only have T-Bob to evacuate in our one story home. I’m no expert on herding cats…but I did teach high school for 30+ years and I never lost a student during a fire drill.


  16. Sorry, have to do it. First paragraph, I think, it’s You’re welcome. Not Your welcome. I think you also want to correct cubit to singular rather than plural. I read posts on Facebook and cringe. Sorry, you are much better than anything on FB.


    • I caught the your/you’re this morning (isn’t it amazing how it jumps out at you AFTER you publish? I understand contractions) but I didn’t google cubit to check. I just remembered that from the old Bill Cosby joke. That’s for your help. I always appreciate suggestions.


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