Critter in the Attic

So, January was a very rough month. One of the very difficult weeks was when Big Rabbit helped Grandma drive back up to New York. Almost every day brought a new problem: The SUV had a warning light go off on the way home from Little Girl’s Jiu Jitsu class, the HOA (whatever that is) told Mimi and Grampy our motorhome can’t live at L.L. anymore (what?! We live on a big hill, which is why all of our campers have always lived at L.L.), one night I was jealous, because Mama was trying to give the cat some attention after she tucked me in. I could hear his jingle, jingle, jingle and her soothing voice cooing to him. I’m still not sure if I was more nauseous or angry. Then, a few minutes later, I heard exclamations, then crying. Alarmed, I strained to hear, but all that came to me were sounds of cleaning and sobbing. The next morning, when Mama went to wake Little Girl up, she looked exhausted. She told Little Girl that Oreo had to stay in the master bathroom, and they would have to take him to the vet because…he had worms. Worms! Little Girl shrieked, “Ewww!” My sentiments exactly. So as soon as the vet opened, Mama called and got an appointment. She had just gotten over ringworm (a fungus, not real worms), which the cat had given her. He had it twice. He’s the gift that keeps on giving apparently. 

Then, there was the noise in the attic that Mama and Little Girl finally heard while Mama was tucking her in. A scratching, above the ceiling, that I had started hearing that long day when they left me to go buy the motorhome. At first it was hard to notice, because Oreo was howling. Eventually when he shut up, it became clear: there was something in the attic! So I was relieved when Mama and Little Girl heard it. Unfortunately, they agreed it just couldn’t be something in the attic and must have been Little Girl’s moon sticker that was starting to peel off the ceiling. In their defense, they moved the sticker and the critter became quiet, so it was a somewhat logical, albeit wishful, conclusion that there was nothing up there. 

Fast forward to the COVID shutdown, and the critter in the attic became a greater nuisance all around. Mama heard it early one morning while working in the den and ran outside with her flashlight, but she didn’t find anything. Several times my humans went outside, inspecting the soffit and looking for signs of an animal break-in. Mama and Big Rabbit even walked all over the roof a couple of times, but found nothing. I hated that. It’s unnerving to hear big, loud footsteps above you. Poor Little Girl had spent quite a while organizing her closet, when the adults decided they should inspect the attic (again). Unfortunately for Little Girl, the attic access from inside the house is in the ceiling of her closet. So they had to take down all her stuffed animals she had just put up, and cover her clothes with plastic wrap…And Big Rabbit still saw nothing. That weekend they took down part of the soffit, and saw some wood had been chewed, but that was the only evidence that something had ever been up there. 

As the noise got more frequent, Mama started losing her mind. They had tried, after all, to find the entry point, or even what it was, to no avail. Mama’s research told her it was probably a squirrel, which made sense, because we have trees in the front yard and the back neighbor has trees, and every day several squirrels run up and over our roof. Defeated, Mama called an animal trapper. Now, the nature of that phrase strikes fear into my heart…However, I prefer my house to be a one animal house, specifically a bunny, precisely me. Forced to submit, we have a cat. I draw the line there though. I do not want nor need another animal inside my residence. I’m happy to have the squirrels running around like the nutsos they are on the live oak out front. They’re not welcome in my house, though, even the attic. The scratching at night was starting to make my eye twitch like Mama’s. 

Oh, the joys of being stuck home and not allowed to camp. You not only find all the problems with your house, but you’re forced to deal with them since you have to live with them. Big Rabbit was constantly fixing things, like the den fan light and garbage disposal switch. On a Monday morning, the animal trapper came. Normally Mama asks people to take their shoes off at the door, but since this guy was going into the attic to hopefully retrieve an animal, that wasn’t going to be possible. When they were talking at the door, which is only about twenty feet from my palace, he said they do their best to trap and release and not harm the animal – perfect. So there was a long towel runway laid down to get to Little Girl’s room. At least my humans weren’t crazy. The trapper didn’t see the animal either, and agreed it was probably a squirrel. He thought he had found the entry point, under the peak of the roof above the garage, and put a one way trap on it. I was pleased. The squirrel could leave in peace, but wouldn’t be able to get back into our attic. A perfect solution. 

Days later, we still heard scratching. Mama called the trapper. He said normally squirrels get out the first day. One week since his first visit, out came the towel runway again. Man, that makes a lot of laundry. The trapper had bad news: now he suspected it to be a rat. A rat! Not cool, not cool! When he left, Mama and Big Rabbit told Little Girl there were now seven traps in our attic…kill traps. They explained that it had had the opportunity to leave peaceably for an entire week, and the company that tries so hard to not harm animals, well, this is what they have to do now. The rat became very active…and then the next day, it was quiet above us. When Big Rabbit went into the garage, he said it smelled. The trapper came and retrieved a male (good news – no babies) rat from one of the traps above the garage. The traps were to stay the remainder of the week, just to make sure he didn’t have any buddies visiting up there. 

May first hit, Florida lifted its lockdown (with restrictions), so we headed to L.L. for the night. While there, Big Rabbit discovered a county campground with full hookup was open, and booked it for a few days later, which meant we continued to stay at L.L. It also meant rushed craziness, but I was already settled in my amazing bunk, so my only stress was Mama’s buzz of hyper, trying to gather everything for a week long trip on such short notice. Big Rabbit had to work from home that Monday so someone was there when the trapper came back to retrieve his traps (no more critters – yay!), and the plastic runway Mama ordered showed up so there wasn’t another mountain of towel laundry! Things are looking up!

Can we go camping yet?