We have, without a doubt, the worlds most worthless cat. If there were a contest for that sort of thing I wouldn’t even bother to enter him in it because he would absolutely lose, even in that venue. The only reason that he still lives at our house is because of the interceding’s of a certain 15 year old girl who he has somehow managed to deceive into believing he is worth keeping around. His latest idiotic episode, however, has all of his 9 lives hanging in the balance.
A few weeks ago I was awakened from a dead sleep by a loud crash in the living room. Startled, Hubby and I sat straight up in bed convinced we were being burgled. He stumbled down the hall like a geriatric ninja, joints popping, limping through plantar fasciitis while I guarded the bedroom, sheet pulled up to my chin and falsetto whispering, “What is it? Do you see anything? Is someone there?” Thirty seconds later, he was back in bed. “I don’t know what that was. Probably the stupid cat. Go to sleep.”
Except I couldn’t. I lie there imagining a relative of Charles Manson lurking somewhere in my house. Finally I couldn’t take it. I got out of bed, leaving Hubby snoring on his side. “He’ll be sorry when he wakes up and discovers I’ve been brutally murdered.” I mumbled to myself. Consoling myself with the fact that in my untimely demise he’d have to make dinners that no one will eat and then spend every day from then on forward searching for and washing random school uniform pieces, I crept down the hall and peeked around the corner into the living room. I was greeted by the sight of a certain stupid cat, perched precariously on the mantel of our fireplace. He was visibly annoyed by my presence but not as annoyed as I was when I saw the cause of the commotion. He’d knocked my large wooden framed Texas flag off the mantel and onto the floor. Luckily for him, it had somehow not broken so I had no excuse to fast forward his lives to end of the ninth. Although relieved that there were no lurking marauders in my house, I was mildly annoyed that Hubby had gotten off the hook and that I was still stuck with this worthless cat. I shooed him off the mantel and went to bed, taking care to make as much noise and commotion as possible so as to disturb my sleeping husband.
I thought the incident was over and chalked it up to another nocturnal disturbance by the idiot…er I mean cat. Until the following evening. It was Friday and we had friends over for dinner. As we sat engaged in pleasant after dinner conversation in my living room, one of my friends jumped up off the couch and pointing to my mantel screamed, “A rat!!” Looking in the direction she was pointing I indeed saw a huge rodent eagerly listening in on our conversation about church ministry. Sensing he’d been discovered, his apparent lack of faith sent him scurrying back behind my prized Texas flag and down behind the mantle where he’d been hiding.
Having been escorted in from out of doors the night before.
By a certain worthless cat.
I could feel my blood boiling as our now acquaintances-who-used-to-be-our-friends tripped over themselves as they rushed for the exit. Closing the door behind their expeditious and questionable departure complete with fake coughs and fabricated certain Covid symptoms, I turned my attention to the living room. Here stood the 15 year old defender of idiotic cats, trying to convince Hubby that it was somehow not the worthless cats fault that a Rodent of Unusual Size (if you know where this came from, we are definitely friends) had taken up residency in our fireplace mantel. Luckily the subject of her intercession was no where to be found or I would have shoved his worthless rear end up the fireplace flue.
For 3 days we put out traps and avoided the area. No action. It was like the beast had vanished into thin area. I couldn’t sleep at night. I lay in a constant state of alertness, praying the Lord would deliver me and waiting to hear a trap snap and the nightmare over. All I got was dark circles under my eyes and a nervous tic by imagining I could hear his giant rodent claws climbing up the side of my bed night after night. Little did I know how close I was to the truth. On the morning of day 4, I reached into my bedroom closet to pull out my boots. From behind them, under my hanging clothes, chaos ensued. Flip flops went flying, a box of pictures was knocked over as if by an unseen hand and several of my skirts began swinging wildly on their hangers before finally collapsing into a heap on the floor while the rodent from hell, startled from his hidey hole, began his ascent to the top of the closet. Uttering exclamations under my breath that can not be repeated, I slammed the door shut and yelled, “Bring the traps!” Like a crazed executioner during the dark ages about to ply his torturous trade. For another 4 days no one was allowed to open the closet door, save for me or Hubby who would venture a peek in to see if justice had been served. Alas, no rat.
By the end of day four I was convinced I was dealing with Houdini in rat form and the escape artist had managed to find some other way out. I cautiously searched the closet to no avail. He had simply disappeared. I spent another week searching the house for clues like chewed up pieces of paper or poop pellets. I even followed the cat around hoping some sort of wild instinct would kicked in, he’d pick up the scent of his quarry and point me in the right direction. Nope. He really is that worthless.
A couple of days after that and I had almost convinced myself that the Lord had miraculously translated our rodent fiend to a rat paradise in the sky.
Until one morning when I awoke to a terrible yet distinct odor wafting from the closet. Yes, our rat friend was dead and rotting away amongst our clothes. We pulled everything out looking for his carcass. Nothing. But the smell just kept getting stronger. I had to find him.
I was convinced that somehow he’d managed to make it to the top of the closet and had expired in one of the suitcases. So I climbed up on the step stool and gingerly pulled down every piece of luggage, cringing at the thought of his dead body plopping down on my head. Yet still, no rat. As I stood on that step stool, covered in nervous sweat, half expecting a rat zombie to appear from behind my husbands suit jacket and trying to decide where else to look, I noticed my fuzzy robe hanging innocently off to the side. One it it’s arms had gotten pulled inside of itself. Absentmindedly I reached my hand down in the sleeve to pull it out and grabbed a long, scaly rat tail attached to a furry rat body that had somehow gotten stuck and expired.
I’m pretty sure the screams were heard three streets away.
“I touched it I touched it I touched it!” Was all the explanation my family could get from me as I ran screaming from the bedroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen plowing through small children and kicking a traumatized dog. I wish it had been the cat.
I dumped Lysol, bleach, and hand sanitizer over my hand and arm yet I still could not remove the feel of dead rodent.
Hubby walked into the kitchen, gingerly carrying the instrument of death and politely asked if I wanted to keep the robe. “Burn it!” I exclaimed. “Where’s the gas? Torch it!”
“Wait….” I stopped. “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s make a funeral pyre and sacrifice the cat!! We can dance around the flames and sing songs to the Greek god of rats or cats.” I manically exclaimed gathering wood and tinder with the 15 year old wailing and pleading behind me.
“Honey,” came the Hubby’s voice of reason. “We can not sacrifice the cat.” He admonished. “Why? Why can’t we? Give me one good reason.” I asked.
“Because we’re not pagans.” Was his reasoned response.
“I can be for tonight!” I gleefully replied. But as I turned around with the fireplace lighter in one hand and lighter fluid in the other, I caught sight of her. The 15 year old champion of cats. Determination in her eyes, courageous heart burning over the thought of the abuse of her beloved pet. Looking at her, I felt the crazy leave my heart because, well, I love her and burning the cat suddenly seemed extreme.
So. Lessons learned:
- Don’t complain about the nuisances in your life that you’ve let in. Either through an open door or someone else in your life.
- Compassion can talk crazy back from the edge and soften the hardest heart. Don’t neglect it.
- Never underestimate the persuasion and courage of a teenager with a cause. We would do well to learn from it.
- Those individuals in our lives that cause us the most problems, from bringing in unwanted pests to creating chaos in our lives, can be the relationships that are the most meaningful.
And the silver lining? Hubby bought me a brand new, even softer and fuzzier, robe from Costco.
The cat and I have an uneasy truce. Our friends may never come back for dinner though.