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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters

The cat.

One of them, anyways. Mine is the only lap in sight, despite it being 90% covered by my computer as I tap away, so she's moved in for the sit. She's a real cat, calling the shots on where and when there will be affection. She's even gone so far as to rest her head on my wrist, so now one arm is pinned while the other bends extraordinarily around her body on the other side. This I find quite endearing. She's a sweet little cat, so patient with the kids in this house. But I know that as the weather warms up here, she has a lot of winter coat to shed, and when she and I move from this little nest she has made me into...I will have her imprint on my lap. Ugh. On the weekend just passed, however, she earned her keep and enough points to get away with this behaviour.

I sat at the end of the dining table, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a shadow on the door where there shouldn't be. It caught my eye, which I half closed, and mouth grimacing, peeked around with a feeling of dread building in my stomach and my heart ramping up the beats. Ooooohhhhh noooooo. Just as I feared. A spider. Not the biggest I've come across, about the size of my 11-year-olds hand. We don't grow cute little jumpy spiders here in Australia. We are all about bulging bodies and long legs, sometimes hairy, always sending yuck-shivers down my spine. Just a huntsman, so nothing that'll kill anyone, but along with my realisation that indeed there was a spider to be managed came the realisation the other responsible adult in the house had just set out on a bike ride...expected to take about three hours. My eldest would be no help to me - her great triumph the previous week was to pick up a dead fly in a paper towel and put it in the bin. (Credit where credit it due here, that was a mighty effort for her.) The boy would have a go, but likely miss and the thing would go running all around the place, and that is no fun for me. The youngest would be a very supportive onlooker, at best. So it was up to me. Sigh.

I took a closer look and realised the offending spider was between the flyscreen door and the glass, not actually able to get in the house so long as the door remained closed. At that moment I saw our cat stalking towards the door, looking to come in. She gave me the eyes - me to the door handle, back to me and the door handle again. Her eyes followed mine as I checked back in on our eight-legged friend. The reaction was immediate. Ears pricked, into a pouncing position, she readied herself to leap, bottom flat to the ground and slowly twitching side to side. As soon as she took off, she realised her mistake, but it was too late. Her claws stuck fast into the flyscreen, causing spider to scamper off on all those legs to the edge of the door, and her to be dangling on the screen, trying desperately to retract the stuck claws. She managed it, without too much damage to the door thankfully, and began to jab her paw and nose around the spider. It reacted as quickly as she, dashing in all directions behind the shield of the screen, while she repeated the same manouvres, seemingly not getting that it just wasn't working. Until it did. Just as the spider scuttled along the edge of the frame, the cat caught a claw around and swept the spider out, connected to her claw for a moment before catching a moment of air and landing on the deck. In one swift movement, it was gone. Gobbled up, wriggly legs and all. We spectators stumbled back in horrified glee, equal parts impressed by the talent of the cat and repulsed by the fate of the spider at the claws of the cat. How such a wriggly dinner couldn't upset the stomach is beyond me. We left her outside a while longer, just in case.

I try to remember this moment when the cat actually earned her keep. I guess I can let her rest here a little longer.

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