Oh Rats!

The reason I’m in New York is to pet-sit three fur babies. My “glamorous New York life” went something like this last night:

Fed the cats dinner. I was happy to see Edison eat, since he didn’t seem hungry at breakfast, and Edgar (the other cat) ended up eating both bowls of breakfast before I could stop him.

The cats were finishing dinner while I fed the dog, Cholula (who scarfed her food down making this sound that I really want to consider “cute”, but I’m too busy gagging…)

Went down to the “dungeon” to put a load of laundry in the dryer, and bring up the clean stuff.

When I walked back in the door, I noticed “Ratsy” on the doormat.

A word about “Ratsy”: Edgar and Edison, like most house cats, have a plethora of toys. They were generally disinterested in them, until a realistic grey rat joined the club. Edgar became obsessed. He would play and pounce and “kill” Ratsy over and over again. Then he would carry the dead rat around in his mouth, triumphantly wailing (loudly) for (very) long periods of time.

This was not conducive to a good night’s sleep, so often Ratsy would be hidden for sanity’s sake.

I’m a sucker and felt so bad for Edgar (who was clearly lost without his Ratsy), that I brought the rodent out of hiding and let him have his feline fun with it.

One of the “fun” things Edgar does is to deposit Ratsy near me while I sleep. Usually right next to my head. Occasionally, in an act of brotherly love, he will leave it next to Cholula. But I seem to be his favorite (lucky me).

Have I mentioned that it’s a very realistic looking rat? In the beginning, I would jump every time I saw it. And waking up next to that thing gave me a shot of adrenaline that made morning coffee practically unnecessary.

Eventually I got used to it.

On this trip, I discovered (with a start) a second rat. Ratsy had a friend! This one was the same as the other, only this one was white. It took me a hot minute to get used to this one. After waking up with not one, but two rats next to my head each morning, I eventually became immune.

So back to my story. Edgar has apparently dragged white Ratsy and deposited him where I would find him upon entering. Lucky me.

As I stepped over it, I did a double take. It seemed to be deflated. It was the same size and color of Ratsy, but somewhat, I don’t know, flatter? I leaned down to get a closer look. It wasn’t Ratsy.

I know what you’re thinking. But it was NOT an actual dead rat. Or a dead mouse. No, it was a rat-sized pile of cat puke. Ugh. I assumed this was the work of Edison, since he had clearly been feeling puny earlier.

With my arms full of laundry, there was nothing I could do at the moment. I walked back to the bedroom, dumped the laundry, quickly folded my clothes, and turned back toward the hall.

The “rat” was gone! Had I imagined it? Had it actually been Ratsy? Or worse, had it been an almost-dead rodent?

As my head was spinning, I walked across the room to pour myself another (don’t judge) gin and soda. Standing in my way was Edgar. Licking his lips and cleaning his face.

Oh no.

I gagged, poured the drink, took a couple long swigs, and tried to put it out of my mind.

I grabbed the keys off the table and walked into the hall to check the mail. An already-opened letter was sitting at the bottom of my door. Annoyed, I picked it up and read it. Then I checked the mail. Then I opened the door…

Déjà vu. There, on the mat (but in a slightly different location) was another slightly-deflated, rodent-size, Ratsy-shaped pile of cat puke. This was actually double-size because Edgar had eaten (gulp) twice. (Barf)

Dear lord.

I put the mail down, took a quick (but much longer) swig of gin, and grabbed the paper towels and a plastic bag. The paper towels were nearly out, so I grabbed a new roll, unwrapped it, threw the wrapper away, and tucked it under my arm to head back toward the nasty task at hand.

I gave you all those details to give you a sense of how long it took to cross the tiny living room floor to the kitchen and back. But in that short amount of time, disaster struck again.

There at the mat stood a gleeful Cholula, inhaling the last bit of this “3rd-time’s-a-charm” meal (sorry, but we’re all in this now).

I would have yelled at her to stop, but the gin had kicked in. I sank into the couch and wept.

Okay, I didn’t weep. But I felt REALLY sorry for myself.

There wasn’t much left for me to do except clean the stain off the mat. I grabbed a bottle of cleaner off the counter and sprayed the nasty spot to saturate it. I began to smell peppermint. Strong peppermint. Then I realized I had grabbed a bottle of peppermint oil my winter roommate had left behind. Ironically, she had used it to spray the baseboards to help repel rodents (it didn’t work).

Oh well, the mat (and the room) now smelled minty-fresh. That’s not a terrible thing.

I called a friend to relay the story, and mid-tale, I heard a weird scraping noise. It was Lula… happily licking the peppermint oil off the mat. She seemed pleased that I had included an after-dinner mint to top off her multi-course dinner.

I yelled at her to stop, grabbed a towel to throw over the mat, and briefly considered the benefits of becoming a homeless person…

This feels like a good place to end my story, doesn’t it?

I wish.

Back on the phone with my friend, I am distracted by a dog who is no longer enjoying a minty palette. She had begun licking the carpet and occasionally the table legs, trying, I suppose, to get the taste out of her mouth.

That’s it. I’ve had enough Animal Kingdom for one night. I end my call, polish off my drink, and head to bed. Lula sleeps with me, so I bring her up on the bed, and in no time, we are all asleep.

This morning I wake up to the sun. I yawn and stretch and I mentally begin to plan my day. I have a walking tour in mind. It’s gonna be a great, uh, wait, what’s that? Uhm… (sits up and looks around), is that bird shit all over the bed?

All three animals are on the bed with me. Sitting straight up and staring at me… perhaps they are enjoying this? They wait for my reaction as I realize I’m looking at a landscape of dog-produced hairballs all over the blanket.

HOW do I know the dog produced them you ask? (Oh come on, you’re wondering…) Mixed in with the fur is…carpet!

So, today starts with laundry…

2 thoughts on “Oh Rats!

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