All day they lie around luxuriating, inviting you to walk over and rub their heads and bellies to get them to purr and writhe in pleasure. They fix their loving eyes on yours and demand even more, sometimes reaching out to hold your fingers or delivering a flick of sandpaper tongue in appreciation. So cute. So affectionate. Sit in your lap. Melt your heart.
Ever wonder what your adorable, purring love-kitties find their way outside to spend the night?
Here’s what’s left of the rodent which they were kind enough to deposit on the welcome mat outside the front door. Part of the head, and most of the tail. I assume the in-between area was somebody’s media noche. Keep your boxed kitty-treats, Dad — we got red meat! Still twitchin’!
Five of our six cats have outdoor privileges, and we have observed all five in pursuit of everything that flies, hops, leaps, and scurries. It’s a trial. We hope they have the sense to avoid raccoons — so far, so good — and even cats are disgusted by Muscovy ducks. Fortunately, they don’t chase cars.
Our part of Hollywood is Rodent Haven, but their annual destruction of some of our landscaping has been significantly reduced since we let the cats out overnight. The small price we pay is the occasional crime scene clean-up. No biggie. Just a baggy. The flies follow me all the way to the dumpster.
I can hear my mom: For this I sent you to college?
Meanwhile, in other rodent-related news, how about this for a headline?
Fungus-Carrying European Tourists Killing Millions of North American Bats
No, it’s not a baseball story. Rat on. I mean, Read on.
The mysterious deaths of millions of bats in the United States and Canada over the past several years were caused by a fungus from Europe, scientists reported Monday. Experts had suspected that an invasive species was to blame for the deaths, which were caused by white nose syndrome. Now there is direct evidence that the culprit was not native to North America. More than 5.7 million bats have died since 2006 when white nose syndrome was first detected in a cave in upstate New York. The disease does not pose a threat to humans, but people can carry fungal spores. The fungus may have accidentally been introduced by tourists from Europe. — NYTimes
Had “white nose syndrome” been the answer in a Jeopardy game, I would have ventured, “What do lifeguards develop from using zinc oxide sunscreen?” See, this is why I read the New York Times.
Bats give me the willies. Remember, I’m part Hungarian, and the years growing up watching Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula of Transylvania chilled my spine. He was good. A human blood-sucking bat.
But Guido, whose affection for animals of all stinks and sizes makes Dr Doolittle look like Son of Sam, once proposed that we look into establishing a bat sanctuary in the back yard. (Welcome to Guanoville! Please wipe your feet.) A house full of cats is just one reason this wouldn’t be a good idea, and I imagine neighbors infuriated about populating the neighborhood with winged rodents would be another. If it’s even a feasible idea — we didn’t get that far.
(Ed. Note: There is a very funny and well-written novel by Tom McGuane about establishing a bat colony in the Florida Keys, called The Bushwhacked Piano. I read it a long time ago, and as I recall, the experiment failed miserably. Bats have a homing instinct, and the moment the imported flock was turned loose, they all flew the hell home to Michigan or someplace. Think: Snowbirds with fangs.)
Anyway, had we gone through with it I suspect the ones who survived capture and consumption by our felines, or gunshots from our neighbors, would perish these days from white nose syndrome. It’s hard to see the upside of this adventure. Of course, I feel the same way about golf.
Actually, I would prefer bats to some of my neighbors, but that’s another tail. Tale.