Monday, June 21, 2010

When the Baby's Away the Cat Will Play

This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none
This little piggy cried weeeeee all the way home


This little family took a train to visit friends in the Philadelphia area this weekend. There we thoroughly enjoyed exotic suburban luxuries such as central air, washer and dryer, finished basement, SUV, and a big back yard with a kiddie pool. We didn't take Doodle cat with us.

Since we left late Friday afternoon and were scheduled to return early on Sunday morning, I didn't think I'd need to get a friend to come over to check on Doodle. I always worry about her when I'm away, but I reminded myself that one day by herself isn't a big deal. She's a former alley cat for cryin' out loud, she can handle it. Plus, it generally takes two full days of being alone and bored before she freaks out, and she had more than enough food and water to cover one full day by herself. Before I left for work, I gave John's Daddy (I'll call him JD) a Doodle Checklist, which he followed to a T:

  • Put up the step ladder (for her enjoyment)

  • Close the bedroom door (to discourage a rogue turd expedition)

  • Open a window (for ventilation)

  • Close the drapes (to keep it cool)

  • Keep the closet door open (she likes to sleep in there)
Remember that JD was not only preparing Doodle for our departure, but also packing up Baby John for his first visit to Philly. Anyone who knows anything about babies understands that getting out of the house with a baby is challenging no matter what. Because they can't pack for themselves. Or walk. And they require a lot of odds and ends and bits and pieces and you have to anticipate which ones will be required during your stay. Diapers, formula, burp cloths, clothing, extra clothing for barfed-on outfits, toy, white noise machine, car seat, etc. And since we don't have a car, travelling with a baby is extra complicated and obstacle course-y, because we must carry everything we're bringing with us on our backs.

Lucikly we travel well together and are getting good at it. The journey out was smooth, the journey back even smoother, and a great time was had by all. John got to "swim" in his first swimming pool, sleep in his first Pack 'n' Play, and JD got to celebrate his first Father's Day. My only regret was not eating breakfast at the house before we left because by the time we got back to the apartment, I was ravenous. And of course, curious how Doodle fared in our absence.

As I put the key in the door, JD said, "I wonder if there are 50 million turds in the house."

"I don't know," I said as I turned the key. "Maybe she surprised us."

She surprised us, alright. The smell in the house was not good. Sure, it was hot and humid, and presumably the cat had done at least some of her business in the toilet, but it had only been the one full day. Soon Doodle appeared, content and relaxed, which is a nice change from most cases after I return from a weekend away wherein she greets me at the door frantic and meowing. Now John, no longer distracted from the taxi ride, made it clear that he was hungry, so I had to get it together for him. I pulled a bottle out of the diaper bag, and as JD brought in the rest of the stuff, I went to the bathroom to flush the toilet and eliminate the stench so that John --and eventually we--could eat lunch in a pleasant setting.

At the bathroom's entrance, I was stopped dead in my tracks. Doodle played her own version of the World Cup this weekend. Not with a ball, but with a substantial mouse. And evidently, the mouse lost. Big time.

Look closely at this picture--as hard as it may be--because there's a lot going on. Exhibit A, obviously, is the mouse, taking front and center stage apparently having died a thousand violent deaths. The toilet in the back is chock full of waste, compliments of Doodle. Good girl! Mid-ground is a jingle ball, which may have been a part of the World Cup Game or found itself on the field later. Assorted spots on the ground are fur: mouse, cat, or both. The picture which had been sitting against the wall to be ultimately hung up (and then I went into labor) is askew from the scuffle. Doodle herself is on the side of the tub, so stoked to show off her kill that she can't get out of her own way.

I did a 180 degree turn when I saw this cat and mousy show and screamed for help. JD cleaned up the crime scene (and took this picture) because I couldn't handle it. Suddenly, I wasn't so hungry anymore. I ran to the kitchen to get the paper towels and bleach, and lo and behold, the kitchen door was wide open! In JD's haste to remember everything for Doodle and John, he had forgotten to bolt the back door. Thus, the wind blew it open at some point over the weekend, and Doodle had her run of the place, inside and out. For hours. Approximately 48 hours. Nope, she hadn't found that mouse in my house, she went down 8 flights to the laundry room and out the window to get it, and bring it back up for a good time.

No wonder she was so calm and collected when we got home. She didn't miss us one bit. In fact, she's definitely wondering why the hell we lock the back door at all when life is so much more interesting when her square footage of living space is increased and she can roam as she pleases. Had Doodle not found a mouse, she'd without a doubt have the " Gone Huntin' " sign up when we returned. And had she caught more than one, this joint would've turned into full-on Apocalypse Nimh.

Now back to the photograph for more fun facts. In the tub you can see John's blue playmat, which Doodle peed on earlier in the week and turned into a pissmat. I washed it, and it was hanging on the side of the tub to dry when we left for Philadelphia. But in the mouse melee, it must have ended up in the tub. I pictured the trembling mouse hiding in the mat's folds, Doodle with her paw placed firmly on top. When I went to tidy up the bathroom after JD disposed of Doodle's prize, I whisked up the mat to find approximately 50 million mouse turds flanked by a mega bonus of what I can describe only as a trio of organ meats, delightfully stewing in their own sauce which had coagulated and rendered the gizzards so stuck to the tub that I couldn't pick them up with a dry paper towel. There was also something resembling a tendon in the mix that was particularly stubborn to remove, resisting my grip with the stretchiness of a rubber band. Ahhhhhh eeeeeeeeeee yahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

When did the disemboweling happen? Before or after Mr. Mouse found himself on the tile floor? Was he so scared of Doodle the Ripper that he literally crapped himself to death in the tub? What's more thrilling, the chase or the kill? What's tastier, the heart or the liver? Was there mouse roux in the pile of Doodle's barf on the carpet this morning? I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know if I want to know. What I do know is that everyone had an amazing weekend. Well, almost everyone.


glittergirl said...

oh my gosh. i read this at work on my lunch break and actually gasped out loud at my desk when i clicked on the photo.

horrible. well done!

anne altman said...

sorry you read it at lunch, gg!

Abbi Crutchfield said...

Oh holy YUCK. That's a kitty for you though. Glad she had fun. My cat's aren't adventurous. If there was a feline equivalent of a judge show, they'd be watching.

Can you PLEASE link to the post where you explain how you potty-trained Doodle?

Del-V said...

Way to teach that stinking mouse a lesson! Good work Doodle!

Nina Paley said...

Wow. Doodle is a true cat.

RooOOoo said...

Happy homecoming.

Jenn Hyjack said...

This is the craziest post I've ever read ever.