Austin, United States

I have spent most of my career as a French professor and a research librarian, and have been reinventing myself as a writer. I’m...

Flies, Cats, and Coons

For the past few days, I have been having a war of the flies. They have gathered around the cat food, so I’m not putting as much of it out. In fact, things might get a bit rough for the cats since I’m tired of breeding flies. But I am certainly NOT Lord of the Flies!

Here’s the thing about flies. They are stalkers. And not only stalkers, but they are annoying. They follow you into the apartment and all around the apartment. Wherever you go, they go also. Wherever you are, they buzz your head. This cheeky fly in here right now was actually hitting my hand yesterday. I figured he wanted me to feed him, so I put out just a bit of food to see what he would do. HE IGNORED IT! So why was the fly hitting my hand? Was this imitated behavior?

You see, one of the kittens has a cute habit, which I find adorable. When I’m putting the food out, he will hit my hand with his paw, kind of gently, no claws, but as you might pat a friend. It’s such a sweet, affectionate, fiesty act. Now the flies have been watching all of this. So I figured this fly thought if he knocked my hand, he’d automatically get some CAT FOOD, which is what he really wanted. He had no interest in the salad I was eating last night. What surprised me the most was the force with which the fly knocked my hand. It was about the same as what the cat does, but for a tiny fly, that had to HURT! Stupid fly! I thought maybe he had kind of stupefied himself with the blow, but no. He came back buzzing over my head again! GRRRRRRRR! I began feeling as though I wanted him to suffer, and somehow, this did not match up with my Christian perspective. However, we are not required to love flies, as far as I know. And frankly, my dear, I don’t….love flies. Forgive me Lord! So why do flies buzz over peoples’ heads and drive them crazy night after night?

Here’s the WORST part. I fix up a swatter out of newspaper and look around, but the fly is nowhere to be seen. So I take it with me to the computer and lay it down on the computer desk while I work. Then comes a buzzing blitz flyby. I cannot get to the swatter fast enough, but the minute it’s in my hand, he has disappeared again. As soon as I put it down, he is buzzing me again. I think I’m going crazy.

So today, I went to the store and bought this fancy fly roll and put it up near the computer. Fly has shown NO INTEREST in it, avoids it, and generally looks at it with disgust. As for the outdoor flies, I put up some fly paper. After a few hours, I went out to check if I had caught any. Not a single one, so as I was trying to reposition the paper, I dropped it into the cat food bowl, and caught about 4 flies! I thought, HEY! That might WORK! So I began dipping it at them, and they just avoided it with ease. But I did enjoy the frantic buzzing of those that were stuck to the paper…. It was certainly an angry, frantic sound. Though I do feel a tad guilty about it now…not really.

Nothing works.

What I have found is that the fly does get tired and goes off somewhere and takes a little nap. He likes to go to bed early, so he takes a NAP! As soon as I start moving around after watching a show, HE’S BACK UP! I have more fly paper. Maybe I need to put some cat food on top of it and then I’ll catch every ONE OF THEM!

A change is gonna come. I’ve been thinking about calling the pound to take me away. Meow. I’d get free room and board and someone to clean my cage. Besides, they might spray me with a hose, which would be very nice. The only problem would be being stuck in a cage. But wait! I forgot about the vet……… YEOW! I think I’ll just move to Arkansas. “Arkansas, Arkansas, I just love old Arkansas. Love my Maw, love my Paw, but I just love old Arkansas.” Remember that one from “Big River”? I know there are those who are trying to “do something about” me. But I swear, it’s not me. My only Mea Culpa is feeding the cats, and I’m about to end that. I could not let little kittens die. They are about 5 months old now, and doing fairly well. They’re very cute and sweet. I’m not the only neighbor feeding them. Someone else will take it up when I let it go.

Here’s another problem. The cat food attracts the raccoons. The raccoons are messy and leave paw prints and such all over. I had fun taking photos of them, but after having to clean off the cement a number of times, they’re no longer charming. It’s time for them to go to the neighbor’s apartment, along with the cats and the flies. I can’t believe how this has exploded this way in a few days time. I was told that about 4 other apartments feed the wild cats, so they’re about to get MORE. I’m letting go. No more feeding. I’m going to wind down slowly and let them start foraging elsewhere. They already do. I’ve been cutting back, bit by bit. It’s obvious when I come home at the end of my day that they have had a big feast, and they didn’t even touch their food in my bowl. So I think I’m onto something.

So in the end, the flies win.

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