I awoke to a high-pitched chirping and a cat’s aggressive “Raow!” last night, sure the two cats had caught a mouse and were torturing it. But the “Raow” had me a little baffled: as far as I know, mice are more like toys than hiss-inducing adversaries. Still, once I found a flashlight and tiptoed carefully out of the bedroom, I kept my eyes glued to the floor and any sudden movements. The cats scattered when I got into what we call the red room of our house, which is kind of like a foyer (pardon my French). I turned on the light and combed the area for signs of a crippled rodent. But then something fluttered silently through the air, nearly colliding with my face. I hit the deck. My heart rate shot up about 50 beats per minute. Bat!
Now at the cats’ level, I could see them tracking the movements of the animal like spectators at a tennis match. I opened the front door (which leads to a porch) and then crawled across the floor and closed the bedroom and bathroom doors. The bat circled the red room and then flew into the guest bedroom since I hadn’t yet closed that door.
I racked my brain for methods of directing it toward the porch and remembered the old tennis ball trick. If you’re ever outside at dusk, when the bats are flying around your yard eating bugs (at a very safe height of 30 feet in the air or so), you can throw a ball up there and watch them follow its descent a ways before deciding it’s not edible and fluttering back upwards.
We had several tennis balls on the porch, so I crawled out there and grabbed four of them. Back in the red room, I kept low and tried lobbing some tennis balls just inside the doorway of the guest bedroom. Each ball hit the floor with a thump and bounced to a dead, impotent stop.
I whispered the F word.