|Maggie is like most cats. She likes to hide in bags and chase things. But she has a peculiar fetish as well.|
Maggie, our Tabby, who on most days can do no wrong, is particularly fond of rubbery things. We had a cat named Gumby, also a Tabby, who loved rubbery things so much he would steal my makeup sponges out of my drawer and run away with them.
|Gumby was a great cat. Here, he was dressed as a superhero by one of my kids. He put up with everything.|
She loves rubber bands. She will often come into our room at night, making a guttural, yowl, reserved only for when she has hunted and successfully captured prey, something we recently discovered. She will carry these large red rubber bands into the room and deposit them on our bed, expecting us to rise and admire her catch, then shoot it across the room so that she can hunt it down and kill it once again. There are times that she deposits it in the toilet after she is finished hunting. Other times we have found them in her water dish.
She is also particularly fond of these foam rubber balls we found at the pet store for her. She will chase them, retrieve them and bring them back to us, batting them around and rolling around on the floor with them.
|We returned home one day and found Maggie had used one of her rubber balls to add to our decor.|
What does all this have to do with toads? I'm getting there.
Ever since we moved to Florida, Maggie, an indoor cat, has loved the challenge just outside her reach on the other side of the lanai screens of the dreaded gecko. These tiny things seem to stalk her, taunting her, mocking her, sometimes staring her down as she makes twitchy little movements with her mouth and funny little chirping noises as though she's trying to whisper. She will fly from another room of the house if I say out loud "Maggie, Gecko!" She comes running and assumes the position screen-side, readying to pounce, although her chance seldom comes.
One day, I didn't have any glasses on and saw a leaf under the bed. I got down on my hands and knees and reached under the bed, picking it up. I was already standing back up when I realized what was in my hand was a lifeless, rubbery corpse of a gecko. Of course I did the girlie thing and screamed, dropping it where I stood and running from the room. Why did I do that? It was clearly dead and only about 2 inches long. But it was pretty gross and felt like a fake, well, gecko. Apparently, this is an added attraction for Maggie. Not only does the gecko invite the fun of the hunt, her prize satisfies her rubber fetish as well.
|Maggie squares off with a gecko.|
We have had a lot of rain this past summer and it continues, raining almost every afternoon like clockwork. Apparently, this brings out toads. And we have loads of toads here. The tiniest of ones can fit under that screen door on our lanai, and Maggie is in the ready, lurking and waiting. She has free access to the lanai at night through cat door in our bedroom slider. I am a light sleeper and when I hear the pet door flap, followed by a guttural yowl, I know I have to investigate. She has been bringing tiny toads into our bedroom at the rate of two a night. No larger than my thumbnail, these dark, rubbery, round things are cute outside, but not in the bedroom. Maggie deposits them next to my bed, so far not in it. Usually they have already expired by the time she brings them to me, but not always.
|Eastern Narrowmouth Toads 7/8" to 1 1/2 inches long. Call of the Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad|
|Yuck! The call of the Bufo Toad|
|This is the kind of toad I used to have no problem handling as a kid growing up in Massachusetts|
I turned the light out and eventually fell asleep. A few hours later, I got up to use the bathroom. I looked into the bowl, thank goodness, and there on the inside of the toilet bowl was this little toad. I lost all compassion for this thing and for some reason panicked as though my life were at stake. I repeatedly flushed before he finally disappeared in a swirl down the drain. I still was not sure it wouldn't reappear so I went down to the guest bathroom.
The next evening while we sat with our friends at Happy Hour, Ed told the story of having to save me from yet another toad the night before. I started to add to his story "Oh, Ed, I forgot to tell you, but I got up in the night and..." He then interrupted me, continuing his story, "But what she doesn't know is that when I got up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, that thing was still there, swimming around!" That thing was indestructible! We are not sure which one of us actually caused the toad to stay down once and for all. It's sort of like the firing squad who doesn't know which shooter has a real bullet in their gun.
When-the-Toad-came-home There was panic in the parlours and howling in the halls,
There was crying in the cow-sheds and shrieking in the stalls,
When the Toad- came- home!
When the Toad- came- home!
There was smashing in of window and crashing in of door,
There was chivvying of weasels that fainted on the floor,
When the Toad-came home!
Do you think maybe the reason Maggie likes to put rubbery things in water has to do with some instinct that rubbery amphibious creatures belong in water? Or perhaps if she can't kill her rubber ball or her rubber band, she too attempts to drown it, until it is no longer a threat. I don't know. I wish I could read her mind sometimes. But mostly, I wish she'd stop bringing us her little friends. It's beginning to get old.
Have a great day everyone!