Zhoop, there he is!
Lest you don’t believe that when you have children you are imbued with a certain set of superpowers automatically, let me submit the following for evidence:
I was having an extraordinarily rare relaxing moment with my husband. We were watching Better Things on our iPad in bed. Eero, our youngest, was snuggled up, sleeping on my chest. The other two had been asleep for a while in their shared room.
If you’ve read this column at all, you have by now noticed the utter lack of relaxing moments. That’s because I write what I know. So if it’s quiet, and we’re all home, something is terribly wrong. Or, maybe more accurately, something terribly wrong is in progress.
Let me backtrack now.
We got our cat, Zhoop (pronounced like “zhuzh” of the original Queer Eye fame, with “oop” at the end instead) when we moved into this house. Initially, the kitten was a bribe for our oldest, Ruby. But after my husband, William, got a gander at the mouse-poop situation, let’s just say he was increasingly on board with another pet — one with claws, night vision and a natural hunting instinct.
For the first six months, all Zhoop was interested in were my daughter’s smaller stuffed animals, which he would carry around the house, and increasingly, use to engage me in games of fetch.
None of my dogs have capably or reliably fetched, but this cat loves it, dropping the toy politely in my hand each time, awaiting another toss. And if I don’t move fast enough? He drops it again on my face.
Little did I realize he was honing his hunting skills.
On this particular evening, at dusk, we had been treated to a view of six deer, milling about in our front yard, scooping up leftover acorns. I crowed on and on about how much I love wildlife, nature, et cetera, as I took photos of our hooved visitors.
About three hours later, the cat came into our bedroom. I couldn’t really see him with the dim light, and the baby in the way. It’s common for him to come in and try to disrupt the peace right as we are winding down.
William looked up from the screen and said, “That’s not a toy.” And before I knew it, there it was — a bat. On my lap. Next to my baby. All I could see was the unmistakable leathery wing sticking up over the baby’s head.
I mean. I had just said how much I love nature. And I do actually love bats. They eat a lot of mosquitos. OUTSIDE.
But I don’t love when my cat catches a bat and puts it in my lap so much.
Every single cell in my body was screaming to jump up, whip the duvet off my lap and primal scream. But the baby was sleeeeeeping.
So instead, I stage-whisper chastised my poor husband for not moving faster, while he got up to find something to dispose of the body. I laid there, body stiff, while I imagined a wing beginning to flap as it reanimated, waking from a kitty TKO. (It didn’t; it was deader than a doornail.)
My thigh bones went to Jell-O and I itched all over, and I had to take a bath. But my husband removed the bat from the room, securing it in a trash bag.
I didn’t scream.
And the BABY STAYED ASLEEP.
My poor cat, thinking he’s sharing his bounty with me, gets booted out of the room, doors shut on his big blinking moon eyes.
Good Zhoop. Sorry, Zhoop.
He did his job. The job we hoped he would do. But I jump every time he comes in the room now.
I’m really never sleeping again, am I?
Katie Dohman is currently living in the midst of a total full-house renovation with her family of five. Follow her adventures at instagram.com/dohmicile.