Yesterday was a difficult day at work and by the time I came home, I was mentally exhausted and just wanted to put on my jammies and park my ass on my couch for the rest of the night. I climbed the stairs to my bedroom with my head down, and I noticed some small, strange spots on the carpeting on the landing and also in my bedroom. I fleetingly wondered what they were, as I had just vacuumed the carpet a few days earlier – but I shrugged it off and stripped out of my clothes, sighing in relief as the bra came off and my silky jammies went on.
Then, tying up my hair, I headed for the bathroom to wash off my makeup…and I stopped in horror.
My bathroom looked like a murder scene! There was blood on the white countertop of the vanity and larger splotches of blood in the tub. The small pool of water I had run into the tub that morning so my cats could have a fresh drink was colored pink. The beginning of a macabre Jackson Pollock-like painting decorated the white wooden blinds. A few perfectly round drops of blood were dotting the floor. Then, a small brown feather caught my eye, and another, and another.
Damn it! I knew immediately what had happened.
My cats are indoor cats – there are just too many coyotes, feral cats, and unattended dogs in my neighborhood to allow them to roam free outside. This disappoints my cats – deeply. As a compromise, I installed a pet door in the sliding glass door that leads from my bedroom to the second-floor deck. Every morning, as soon as I open my bedroom door, they practically knock me over in their haste to rush through the pet door and explore the deck. They like to lay on my outdoor furniture to soak up the sun, or sit on the half-walls that surround the deck, looking down on their imagined domain.
My next door neighbor has a bird feeder on the wall that separates our property and we have a pool in the backyard, so the area is an oasis in the desert for a plethora of birds. As a result, every once in a while, a foolish bird will venture onto the deck and if one of the cats happens to be out there enjoying the sun or if they are just inside the pet door, cooling off in my bedroom – chaos ensues. The cat will rocket from where they are lounging towards the bird with surprising, nearly supernatural speed. The bird, sensing danger, will attempt to take flight – but as the deck is covered, they sometimes become confused on which way to go. There is much flapping of wings, shedding of feathers, pawing, and pouncing. If the cat succeeds in their quest, he or she will come back through the cat door, into my bedroom and onto the bathroom (or what I sometimes call “the killing room”) with the bird grasped in their mouth. I guess they’ve figured out that if they can contain the bird in the bathroom, since it is small with only one entrance, they have a better chance of finishing off their prey.
Usually, the bird gets away and flies to the top of the blinds, perching on the valance and mocking the cats with his very presence. Occasionally, the bird will fly back into the bedroom, and then off the stair landing and into the foyer, and then a merry chase ensues – not by the cats, who have lost interest by this time, but by me and my son, as we climb ladders and balance precariously on plant ledges in our attempt to capture the bird and release it back outside. Every so often, the cats will carry out their dastardly plans – and I’ll find a murder scene like this one – and a pathetic little bird body that I have to dispose of. The worst was the morning I got into the shower – and while I was nude, wet, and soaping up, I noticed…something…in the far corner of the shower. It blended so well with the earth-toned tiles that I had overlooked it before. I didn’t have my glasses on (obviously – because I was showering), so I leaned closer…and closer…and then I finally made it out – a small, bloody, dead bird. I was showering with a bloody, dead BIRD!!! I let out a terrible shriek and nearly killed myself with all the slipping and sliding as I attempted to exit the shower. As I shivered near the vanity, cold and dripping, I realized that I would have to deal with this myself, as no one had come running to assist me when I had screamed. It’s always comforting to know that your adult children would rather let you be murdered by an unknown intruder rather than risk the permanent emotional scar of seeing their middle-aged mother naked in the shower. I get it – I really do – you can’t unsee that shit…just like I can’t ever unsee that soaked, bloody, pathetic, dead bird in the shower with me. So, I forgive my kids – and I’ll just hope that if I’m ever attacked by an unknown intruder it happens when I’m fully clothed.
But yesterday, when I stepped into my bathroom and saw the carnage, I didn’t see a body. Certainly, with that much blood, the bird was dead – so where was he? The first place I looked was the shower, but there was nothing there. At that moment, I realized that the spots I had seen on the carpet earlier were blood smears – perhaps from bloody cat paws – had they taken the bird somewhere and stashed him? Was I going to wake up in four or five days to an odor of decomp and not know where it was coming from? I started to get a little frantic – getting down on my hands and knees to peer under the vanity…and then I saw him…alive and motionless in the corner (probably attempting to blend in with the brown tile and avoid further bloodshed).
I spoke to the bird in a gentle, soothing voice, letting him know that everything was fine and I was going to take him outside. He was having none of it – as my cupped hands descended towards him, he burst into motion – losing another feather as he fluttered behind the toilet. I tried again and this time he managed a small flight, into the tub. He also attracted the attention of both cats, who had been sitting outside the bathroom door (probably knowing full well I would flush their prey out of hiding – they look innocent, but they are cunning bastards).
Both cats sprang into action, leaping into the tub after the bird, who beat his wings madly, darting to and fro in his panicked attempt to escape. I began screaming at the cats, trying to get between them and the bird, which only served to frighten it even more. I finally picked up the cats, threw them out the door, and closed it behind them – and then got a hand towel, which I tossed over the bird when it finally came to rest, trapping him long enough for me to scoop him up, cushioned by the towel. Cradling the bird gently, I took him downstairs, out the back door, and I released him into my garden, thinking that it would be a good place for him to hide while he recovered.
The bird was apparently not all that wounded after all, as he immediately flew to the top of my neighbor’s house – and then after giving me the eye for a moment, he flew out of sight. Not even a thank you.
I sighed and headed back upstairs – I had been meaning to clean my bathroom anyway.