Cats like to climb.
A gray, long-haired cat in Conover also likes to descend, and his journeys recently placed him a tight spot.
Sox the cat has lived with June Pittman since her son found him during a thunderstorm behind the Adrian V. Shuford branch of the YMCA about five years ago. Pittman says Sox likes to cross the street in front of her house and visit the house of her neighbor, Jean Connor.
Connor and Pittman, who are both widows, say Sox shimmies up a holly tree next to Connor’s brick house, steps onto the house and sits on the roof.
“He kind of adopted our roof,” Connor said. “I had no idea he was making a house here.”
Turns out, Sox hasn’t just been sitting on the roof. He’s also been making visits inside the house.
Connor said her son-in-law, Jeff Keever, cleaned the leaves off her roof on a recent Monday afternoon. While Keever was on the roof, he discovered a sizable hole of about a foot in an eave near a chimney.
The family believes Charter Communications originally created the hole when running cable lines at the home.
Keever, a contractor, offered to plug the hole and he returned on a Tuesday to patch up the roof. He noticed cat hair on the sides of the hole as he started the roof work.
“All the time, he said ‘I sure hope there’s not a cat in there in the attic,’” Connor said.
Connor said she has long heard noises in her attic and dealt with a cat odor in her house. She has two dogs but no cats. She thought squirrels had gone through small openings in the roof, and she has had professionals check for squirrels in the attic. No squirrels have been found.
Two days after the roof hole was patched, Pittman called Connor about 10 a.m. on a Thursday. Pittman hadn’t seen Sox since Tuesday.
That’s because Sox had been stuck in Connor’s attic for two days after Keever closed his escape hole in the roof.
“I’ve been hearing squirrels in my attic for a long time,” Connor said.
“Now I realize the squirrels were cats.”
Connor and Pittman said that at their age they didn’t want to climb the pull-down stairs and into Connor’s attic. So Connor called her daughter, Janet, to come to the house to try to get the cat to crawl out of the attic.
Pittman called to Sox, who meowed, and the women lured Sox out of the attic with cat food.
“I made sure it had salmon in it so he could smell it,” Pittman said.
“I hugged Janet for getting my cat down and took him home to feed him.
He ate for 30-40 minutes.”
Pittman said she thought she “was seeing things” the first time she spotted Sox on Connor’s roof. She said she hasn’t seen Sox on the roof since he was freed from the closed attic.
Connor and Pittman have lived in their current homes since the 1970s, and they say they have looked after each other. Now they look after each other’s animals, too.