Hanging By A Moment is one of my top favorite songs. Seeing my cat Mortimor hanging by the tail comes in 2nd on the list of the worst things I’ve seen in my life. While hard to get the images of that night out of my mind, I’m grateful for how the events unfolded so that I can prevent a potentially tragic situation from happening in the future. And also to show you how to prevent adding a scene like this to your life list.
This is what happened to my beloved, sweet, fluffernutter Mortimor. He’s my eldest- adopted 7 years ago and who has been with me through the most profoundly awesome and painful events of my life up to this point. He was there to catch my tears on his fur during a heart shattering breakup with my college boyfriend. He sat quietly under the airplane seat when we moved to France and was a champ during our 8 other moves thus far. He provided lifesaving comfort after the loss of my Mom and continues to snuggle by my side when I curl up into a crying blob ball. He’s accepted with grace his brother Atticus and baby sister Adeline. Mortimor is my angel without a doubt. For the events that transpired that terrible night, no being deserved it less than Mortimor.
I had been sleeping with blackout curtains because for the past year, I’ve been having night terrors nearly every night. If you don’t know what they are or haven’t experienced one before, it’s basically a panic attack while you’re sleeping. I’ll wake up (kinda sorta) with an instant feeling of overwhelming fear of something that is about to happen in a second if I move (such as the ceiling caving in, a bomb going off, a spider landing on my face, a snake in the sheets, etc.), my heart will start pounding like it’s going to burst from my chest and I’ll bolt from my room to get away from whatever it was. After my heart slows down, still half asleep, I’ll stumble back to bed and hope that was it for the night. It usually happens within the first hour after falling asleep (during the REM sleep stage).
I used to have nightmares/night terrors and sleepwalk growing up even through my teenaged years. It would always freak my Mom out. I’d wake up screaming and running from my room and she’d be awake in an instant chasing after me. Thankfully this never happened in college except a close call once freshmen year- I was sleeping on the top bunk, half awake feeling my heart starting to race and the fight or flight adrenaline coursing through my veins but luckily something in my brain was sensible enough to calm down quick lest I fall off the top bunk. I thought maybe too much light from outside had been triggering the night terrors recently so I tried blackout curtains.
Atticus had been bullying and attacking Mortimor for about a year at this point. It went from oh it’s just Atticus being a kitten and playing to aggressive territorial bullying. This activity would ramp up before bedtime (mine) and then several times during the wee hours I’d wake up to Mortimor screaming and running upstairs to escape Atticus’ lion grip. This particular night in July, around 4am, I woke up as usual to Mortimor screaming. Initially in my drowsy stupor in the pitch black, I assumed it was Atticus causing the screaming so I threw some pillows at the noise which usually will get Atticus to knock it off. But this time, the screaming continued and was the blood curdling kind. I jumped out of bed towards the noise coming from the windows and saw a silhouette of Mortimor flailing upside down. I turned on the lights and it was my turn to start screaming when I saw my cat hanging by his tail with the blinds cord wrapped around it. It was insane. I had no idea what to do so at first in my panic I was pulling the cord as if I could break it the way you break off a clothing tag. Realizing that I was tightening it, I wrapped him in my arms to take the pressure of the cord off and somehow the cord unraveled itself and he got set loose.
As horrible as this all was, I will say I am thankful for many things that night: that I was home, that I was in the same room and could respond quickly, and that the cord wasn’t around his neck. I’ve had this cat 7 years and nothing near tragic has ever happened. I kitty proof the heck out of my homes. Even these blinds cords- they were not knotted together, they weren’t even long enough to hang past the window sill. The only logical way I can figure out how this happened was he was sitting on the window sill and while batting his tail around, the single cord loosely wrapped around his tail and tightened as he jumped off the window sill. Very final destination-ey.
Because I was there and the cord wasn’t wrapped long, he sustained no damage. That early Monday morning, I preceded to comfort him, frantically searched for Adeline who was hiding under the stairs terrified, and took all of the blinds down. Now I understand those warning tags on blinds about the risk of strangulation for kids but if you have pets, this applies to you too. The idea of buying all new 100% cordless blinds (which isn’t cheap) for 5 windows was daunting but I found a perfect solution for $8.97.
I wasn’t sure if these paper accordion shades would look cheap so I started with 2. The reviews were great with the only “downside” being you have to clip the ends of the shades to raise or lower them. Really not that much more effort than pulling blind strings and I can deal with some clips if it means never having to see one of my cats strangled by cords again. No hardware required, they have a sticky top that you pop in your window. They look fantastic both from the inside and outside. Even when they are pulled down, they let in more light than standard slatted blinds do. You would never guess that they cost less than $10. It was a fantastic, affordable solution for all of my windows and worth the peace of mind. So take a look at your curtains and blinds and think about how a random sequence of events could lead to something as tragic as I almost experienced. It’s impossible to keep our human and furry babies 100% safe but this is something completely preventable. Here are the blinds I ordered, as a starting point to make sure the only hanging in your life is by the moment and not by anything else: Cordless Blinds.