A Guest Author with an Argument Against Pet Doors

I'm going to interrupt the "house" posts to bring you story by a guest author. My friend Gay wrote this down yesterday after the events of the night before:

"Last night at 12:15 exactly (because I glanced at the clock), David and I woke up to a loud thud followed by silence. We lay perfectly still waiting for any further sound assuming one of our cats had attempted to perch somewhere and accidentally knocked something off but still a little concerned. Minutes later we hear the bells on the collars of Jinger and Juno ringing mixed with a low crying hissing sound as they storm into our room.

It is a flurry of sound and commotion and as we jump upright in the bed and try to see in the dark. We see Jinger dragging something in her mouth that looks half her size. David turns on the light but I remain in bed because I hate to see the cats play with their catch and I was also appalled at the size of whatever it was she had.

Amid growls and that pitiful crying hiss, the cats head for our dressing room and David solemnly announces, “ Jinger dropped it. It got away.”

I’m sitting in bed thinking “What “ got away? A mouse? A frog? A large bird? Please not a tree rat! The tree rats in our neighborhood can grow as long as 12 inches (tails included). We know this because we had to fish one out of our pool one time when it accidentally fell in and drown.

Now David is on the hunt with the cats. He’s looking behind the laundry basket, under the dressing table, and in the bathroom. It’s a mission now…it must be found! David has become a mighty hunter along with Jinger and Juno. The 3 brave warriors hunt, while I pull up the blankets as I sit up in bed and ask hopefully, “Are the closet doors closed?” To which David replies “ All of them except yours.”

Now my mind is going crazy with scenarios. Is it crawling around in my shoes? Yuck, what if it hides in there and dies. It could start to smell. As I’m running these options through my mind David proudly announces. “ Its not in your closet. Its somewhere around the file boxes under the dressing table, because the cats keep hovering over there.”

What a relief! But know I realize that the file boxes are next to my underwear drawers and I know for a fact that there is space under the built in dresser for “ things to hide” because I’ve had items fall behind the drawer only to be rescued when I pulled the drawers out. Now I’m imagining the critter getting up under the drawers and crawling into one of them and finding a safe refuge among my unmentionables. I advise David of this fact so he dons his flashlight, and begins to pull the drawers out one by one. After an exhaustive search he solemnly announces, “ It’s a rat!”

Worst-case scenario! A rat! A big, long tailed, obviously brave and determined rat! I feel hopeless and a bit saddened for this poor creature that was probably going about his/her usual nightly search for food only to be snatched by some ambitious adolescent cat that brings him/her into the house as a “gift” for her masters. Maybe she has babies she is trying to feed. The animal lover in me begins to take over. Our sons had pet rats when they were growing up and they proved to be smart, clean and affectionate pets. What is happening to me? Am I losing my mind? There’s a large wild tree rat loose in my house and I’m thinking about its "babies"?

Now, I’m feeling rather hopeless. How do you catch a tree rat? They are too big and wild to pick up (like a frog or bird) and are too big to set a trap for (like a mouse). Now do we just wait for it to curl up somewhere and die of starvation? Or even worse, What if it decides our house is a nice place to live? What do tree rats eat? Will it get in my pantry? Do they eat clothes and paper? Are they vegetarians? Will I have a brood of tree rats in my house as a result of this one nights love offering? As I’m brooding about my life with a resident rat David is not to be daunted. I hear him rummaging in his closet and poking and prying at something. He’s down on the floor getting into a box in a desperate search for something… “What are you doing?” I ask. He hesitates to answer, then with a low murmur mumbles, “ I can’t believe I don’t have any pellets!” Any WHAT! I say. PELLETS? You’re going to shoot that poor defenseless rat? Suddenly we are overcome with the humor in the whole situation. We both start laughing. In the whole scope of life it really is pretty funny. One of those stories you can look back on and tell to your children and grandchildren. I will always see David standing in the dressing room donned only with his underwear, pellet gun in hand, ready to save us from home invasion, and remember me sitting in bed wrapped in blankets thankful I had a brave husband willing to face the unknown.

So, how does the story end? Well for now there is no ending. I spent the night in the guest room with the door closed securely. David slept on the couch ready to spring into action if need be. The rat somehow escaped the dresser and the cats continued the search in our bedroom. David went to work early this morning and I am typing this story in the den always cautiously looking down the hall with my peripheral vision waiting and wondering when the next chapter will unfold hoping that the rat will escape safely outside to return to her babies, the cats will stop bringing us love offerings, and we can all sleep happily ever after."

At last report, Gay and David's son was volunteering his own stockpile of pellets, and a rat-safari was being planned.  If you ask me, if nothing else, this is a strong argument against having a pet door.

by TranceMist (Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial)
Open on Flickr

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