Saved by the cat

Sometime in the last 24 hours, we’ve inadvertently let a fly into the house.

I am more tolerant of arthropods than most, both inside and outside the house (see posts about spiders and ants). Around here, unwanted bugs are routinely captured and relocated. Just last week, my daughter discovered a small (only about an inch long – must have been a female) common stag beetle (Pseudolucanus sp.) on the upstairs landing. My daughter hollered for me to come get it, unable to decide if she was more afraid of the beetle or for the beetle. (The cat had also taken an interest in the matter.)

Male common staghorn on our porch awning
(close to actual size, which was 2 inches)

Two notable exceptions to this policy of arthropod amnesty are mosquitoes and flies. I am a mosquito magnet; anyone within a quarter mile of me will not be bothered by mosquitoes because they are all biting me. Mosquitoes in the house must be ruthlessly hunted down and destroyed so I will not be covered with huge red welts when I wake up in the morning.

Flies are just plain annoying. They land on your food. They land on you. They buzz around your head and in the corner of windows and drive you BONKERS. Between the sanitation concerns and the annoyance factor, they rub me all wrong. I do try to let them out of the house, but they are incredibly uncooperative: if I open the window, they bash themselves silly on the pane above (or below) the opening. If I open the door, they leave the room. The whole thing soon spirals out of control, and I end up rampaging through the house like a wounded elephant, bellowing and swatting at everything that moves.

Today, however, the cat has gotten into the act, so I don’t have to. She’s been dashing from window to window in pursuit of the fly, clambering over furniture and behind shades. She leaps at it when it zips past; a little while ago she bounded up the stairs after it. I figure she’ll catch it eventually, and in the meantime, she’s kept it too busy to buzz my head or land on me.

Now, if I can only get her to chase mosquitoes…

The cat in action
(not actual size)


4 responses to “Saved by the cat

  1. Spiders. Spiders are wonderful to have around for destroying flies. What you need is to hire at least one spider per window. Have the spider build its web between the screen and the window. Leave the window cracked open a bit. The fly always finds its way in there. To its detriment…it’s only a matter of time before the buzzing, window bashing fly will become a meal. 🙂 Easy-peasy. But I hear ya…flies I HATE. Mosquitoes I LOATHE. We have this ‘new’ variety around the house…teeny tiny mosquitoes that defy death by swat with potent venom. One little poke and you’re in misery… But the stag beetle? Um… way too big to do anything but relocate. Ugh!

    • I have lots of spiders, but they tend to build where they will, not where I assign them. I never thought of hiring them, though…perhaps if they were under contract they would be more likely to locate their webs as directed. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. We’ve had a lot of big spiders lately. I do not allow them in my territory. Period. Will your cat chase and eat spiders? If so, I would like to hire your cat.

    • I’ve never seen her with a spider; the indoor spiders around here tend to stay near the ceiling. (Maybe she eats them before we see them.) They also tend to be pretty small; the top arthropod predators in our little ecosystem seem to be the centipedes (which we call “eyebrows”). I’ve seen her chase them, though I’ve not seen her catch them. I’ll ask her if she’s interested in a spider-chasing gig. 😉

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