…Or perhaps that should be, ‘The Cat that Failed to Eat the Rat that She Brought Inside, (nay, Welcomed), Inviting the Beastie to Set Up its Wee Hoosie in the Washing Machine, Which it Verily Ated’.
But that’s a bit wordy. So we’ll stick with the other title for now. Because that’s the upshot of these shenanigans, my friends.
T’was a night around Chrimbly, that this saga begins. Upon hearing a great kerfuffle in the laundry, and knowing immediately that there are felines involved, (because the laundry is their den of iniquity and there’s a cat-flap too), I go to investigate. Gingerly, of course, because I am a seasoned survivor of cats.
Sure enough, I see The Moo lurking, and ready to pounce on something stirring in the corner where our painting gear is stashed. I investigate, and a large black rat ambushes me from beneath a pile of drop-sheets.
Well, when I say ambush, it runs across my feet. I may have yelped at this point, but it did have a very long tail of large circumference. And I had bare feet. And beeeyyyaaahhhh!
Both The Moo and myself fail utterly to seize the rat. Well, she just sat there whilst I flapped my hands around a bit. There was not a hope in helvetica of me attempting to seize – with my actual hands – a black rat. A native rat, yes. But not this enormous, bitey, disease-carrying f***er.
By this stage, The Moo has completely lost interest, and reverts to her usual bovine demeanour, staring vacantly at me, as if to say, “there’s a special squeaky toy for you. Now feed me some cat biccies”.
But I figure, if I just withdraw quietly, shut the door and leave her to it, the Migg-missile will eventually catch that greasy, bristling rodent; and head straight back out the cat-flap with the thing.
Because I do love me a fairytale ending, (as dark as they can be).
But, non. Since when did any cat ever do what you want it to do?
And where is Merlin in all this? Don’t even. He likes to watch. But he doesn’t catch things, as he has mummy to open his cans for him. Merlin deems it appropriate that most things in life are dealt with by the tradespeople, (us).
The next day, all was quiet on the laundry front, and having conducted a final (feeble) search-and-rescue, I made the mistake of kidding myself and assuming that the special-live-squeaky-toy-present had been despatched, or simply vacated the laundry under its own steam.
It would appear, not.
Special-live-squeaky-toy-present is magnanimously indulged by the Moo for days – nay, weeks – to come, because feline is too well-fed. And we don’t call her “Nursie” (as in the character from Blackadder) for nothing. Refer to my bovine comment above.
Ratty, (who is decidedly not a toy, but certainly squeaky in an eye-watering way) proceeds to set up house in the laundry. And Ratty alights upon the most prime piece of laundry real estate – the washing machine – as an idyllic Brambly Hedge-like, post-millennial crib.
But in order to titivate this moste venerable of white goods, (circa 2002), Ratty chews through various plastic attachments, wires, and whatnots. I half expected to find a stack of World of Interiors stashed beneath said white good, instead of the pile of unmentionable merde and dog biscuits (how???) that lurked there.
Needless to say, washing machine is duly ated.
But before we cottoned on to the presence of the rat actually inside the washing machine, ye olde machine managed to dramatically alert us to the fact of its brokenness by offering its final swansong in the form of a mighty laundry flood.
Yet, still – the rat prevailed. Somehow, that bloody rat survived the catastrophe, (pun intended), when most everything around it moste spectacularly didn’t. And yes, I admit to some grudging admiration, along with my resentment. Like a slumlord, that rat continued to dwell in that washing machine, no doubt fingering its gold medallion, and applying hair oil to its greasy quiff, whilst we pondered what on earth we were going to do about the situation.
As an aside – we don’t do rat poison here. There are too many protected owls nesting around here, and so it’s out of the question. Also, just…no.
Instead, we sacrifice washing machines! Because that’s such a pretty solution.
Anyway, as ridiculous as it is, we ended up heaving the ated machine, (with rat inside…somewhere in its bowels), down the laundry steps and into to the courtyard. Effectively evicting the rat from the laundry.
Yes. Ridiculous and extreme measures r us.
The machine now squats outside like some post-apocalyptic monolith. A tribute to the god of White Goods. Mainly because this now useless piece of machinery needs at least one of us to be a lot stronger to move it any further, let alone down to the garage where it can wait for hard rubbish collection in March.
Needless to say, it’s spoiling my courtyard.
Just when I thought that was the end of the sordid tale, I stepped outside the other morning, and lying beside the washing machine was the body of that giant rat. It was completely unmarked, as though it had just decided to take a nap in the sun, and promptly left the building. Miggins sat nearby, with not a little insouciance.
She looked at me, with that expression of which cats are the true masters: that mixture of bored, unimpressed, and contemptuous that just says, “fool”. She completely ignored the rat.
The Moo is not so bovine after all.
Today is Lammas here, and I wish you all Lammas/Imbolc blessings. Most years, I don’t bother with Lammas, and often feel quite put-out by it all. Simply because, by this time of the year, we’ve usually been fried to a frizzle with the heat, and everything is looking dead and drab. But this year, it’s still lush and gorgeous, and today is mercifully cool. So I’ll be cooking up some food, slurping some strawberry and hibiscus kombucha, and enjoying this gentle season while it lasts.