So we’ve been here in our new home, in our new city, for about four months now, and we’ve begun the process of putting together our new support network of grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors, and other service providers.
Today I met our new cat sitter; she in turn met Pip, our tiny grey cat who loves everyone, and was hidden from by Emma who, as far as we can tell, spends her nights alone in my office in the dark, writing angsty teenage poetry and trying on various shades of black lipstick. (We think she’s “going through a phase”, which so far has lasted for…let’s see…5 times 6…carry the 2…um, yeah, the entire 379 days she has lived with us so far.)
I had to fill out some paperwork, including instructions for what to do if one of the cats needs to go to the vet when we’re on a trip. Since last week was the one-year anniversary of having to send our sweet Tigger boy to heaven, and the whole saga of his illness began with our having to rush home from a vacation after an emergency phone call from our previous cat sitter, that part was a little hard. But the cat sitter assured me that she’d never personally had to do that.
Then she contradicted herself. “Oh, well, I guess I did have that one time when a cat was bitten by a snake.”
Snakes. Of course. Only the thing I fear most in the whole entire world. Well, that, and somehow ending up a disembodied consciousness trapped in endless time.
Just keep breathing, I told myself.
“So,” I asked, bracing for the answer, “what happened?”
“Oh, the cat was fine,” she said. Although the snake was a copperhead…”
“…and apparently they’re really…”
“POISONOUS?!” I confess, I was actually shrieking by this point.
“…common around here,” she finished,”so all the vets are prepared for this kind of thing.”
Dammit. I really like it here, and now we’re gonna have to move again. Or get one of those snake hunters, those mongooses. Mongooses? Mongeese? OK, FOCUS PLEASE.
She continued. “Our cats are indoor/outdoor, and for a long time they kept bringing me baby copperheads.”
Whimpering softly I asked, “So what did you do?”
“Well they were mostly dead by that time.” I honestly don’t know if that’s better, or worse. “But that all stopped once we got the chickens.”
I perked up at this news. “Chickens can kill a snake?” This sounded promising, especially since we live in the country now. Chickens would be much easier for us to acquire than a mongoose.
“Oh yeah. If anything comes into their territory they just peck and claw it to a pulp.”
Alrighty then. While I do try very hard not to actively wish harm onto another being, I confess that this tidbit did make me breathe a bit easier. Because while for now I’m sticking with my tried-and-true Snake Avoidance Plan of never leaving the house, it’s good to know I have a backup plan, should I ever need one.