Les araignées de la nuit


The autumn equinox is here, and this time of year always fills me with deep, deep joy. The one thing I don’t like about it, however, is the fact that it’s spider season.

I know, I know, they help us out by catching flies. But still … *shudder* …

Despite living opposite a park, we don’t seem to have encountered too many of the little critters as yet. I can’t help hoping that the summer heatwave dried them all to a crisp but, in reality, it’s probably because it’s uncharacteristically warm. So they must still think it’s summer and just haven’t thought to creep into our houses as yet.

Although I spent much of my childhood and early adulthood with crippling arachnophobia, these days I don’t mind sharing my space with a spider. Given the choice, I would obviously rather not. But I can cope, as long as it’s small and it stays the hell away from me. Plus we have a cat who kills and eats creepy crawlies. So, all is good, oui?

Not quite.

Of course this is Louis Catorze we’re talking about, so there’s a little twist to the tale.

Catorze is the Happy Gilmore of spider hunters. In case you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a baseball-player-turned-golfer who can manage a hole in one from miles away, but not a short, easy putt of a few centimetres. This is the perfect analogy for Catorze and spiders. He is great at spotting faraway spiders who are just minding their own business at the other end of the room, and he will happily leap off laps to eat said beasties straight off the wall or the floor, even in the dark. But a spider that is right in front of him: nope. If I place him next to a spider he just looks straight through it, then looks gormlessly at me and pitter-patters off.

I hope that the spider population will keep a respectable distance this autumn. And, if not, I hope that I will have some success with my arachno-tutelage of Catorze. The picture below shows my ingenious scientific spider-eating training in action, and naturellement it takes into account the cat’s innate predisposition towards doing the opposite of whatever is expected or wanted:

Yes, those big spider eyes are cat biscuits.

*EDIT: I’ve just been told that Happy Gilmore played baseball, not golf. Serves me right for getting drunk during the film!

23 thoughts on “Les araignées de la nuit

  1. Cats can’t see what is literally under their noses, so maybe that explains Catorze’s long focus on spiders. ( I have a big nose too so I can understand the shortcomings of this.) Or not. given his purrsonality…

    That spider drawing is pretty realistic, actually !

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Sa Maj: Fine. *sigh* I’ll just play with them until they get tired, then I’ll carry them to your bed so that they can rest. Then you can play with them. You know… the game where you jump when you see them then run. Tag, you’re it! 😺

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s a pretty good drawing! But yes, cats can’t see what is under their noses, so you may have to, erm, move the spider to where he can see it 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! Another reader has commented and said the same thing. Goodness knows how many more times I would have tried had I not been told!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Is His Maj actually obeying the rules laid out on that piece of paper? Or is he just lulling you into a false sense of his obeyment?

    Trigger warning: potentially over-dramatised story about a sizeable spider. No pictures, but I’m not going to underestimate how phobic you or your readers are so, fair warning.

    I, too, once had crippling arachnophobia, pre-cat. (Who am I kidding, it’s still pretty crippling. It’s not helped by the fact that I’m bed-bound and my legs actually don’t work as intended, so it’s not like I can flee into the night screaming, or return to the house briefly to burn the whole thing down…) I once spent four hours watching a large (for the British definition of “large”) spider circling my bedroom carpet just because I could.not.look.AWAY. What if it climbed into my bed once I turned my back? What if it tried to eat me? What if it tried to make ME eat IT? What if it LAID ITS EGGS IN MEEEEEEE.

    (This was pre-cat, of course. Now I see a spider wandering about on the floor and I laugh and call my cat.)

    So of course this sizeable bloody spider disappears UNDER MY BED. Reminder: I cannot flee into the night screaming. It is still several hours before my carers arrive for my breakfast call and I live alone so there’s no one to dash to my rescue. I have HOURS to somehow survive the sheer terror and discomfort of knowing there’s a sizeable bloody spider under my bed.

    And, well, I’m a writer. I like telling stories. I once made up a new version of This Little Piggy to entertain my at-the-time-around-five nephew because I was bored of the original. (I was then incredibly flattered when he repeated it back to me almost verbatim, having heard it only once, the next time I saw him over a month later.)

    And what do writers do when confronted with their worst nightmares? (Well, not worst, exactly. That involves way more spider egg-laying. The Mist got nothing on me.)

    I made up a story about this sizeable bloody spider. (I’m resisting calling it HUGE because I’ve seen those pictures from Australia, thank you very much, and the last thing I need is to send off 2020 with one of THOSE. Tempt the fates, I do not.)

    I called this sizeable bloody spider “Shelob” (yes, after the one in The Lord of the Rings). I decided she was a General gathering and training an army, preparing to take over the world at some far, far… far far far distant point in the future. (I was trying to make myself feel safe, not even more anxious.)

    Every spider I’ve seen since then, especially the ones that have disappeared under or around the bed, have “joined” her army. To my knowledge, they’re all still under there several years later, preparing for the day that humanity turns its back, preoccupied with something else. (Bloody hell. This year would be the most awfullest, perfectest time.) It’s doubtful, because I once had the pleasure of hearing KitKat chow down on another sizeable spider that made the mistake of drawing her attention, and she spends a lot of time in Shelob’s domain so she’s probably taken care of the entire army at this point.

    But in telling myself (and anyone who’ll listen) this awful tale of Shelob and her Many-Legged Army, I’ve grown somewhat fond of her. Not enough to hope she’s still under there, of course, but certainly enough to hope she’s off out in the Great Wide Yonder, having given up her dreams of world domination in favour of… well, that’s as far as I ever get because I wouldn’t wish a spider on my worst enemy.

    If the Tale of Shelob wasn’t too disturbing, remind me to tell you the Tale of Mum the Spider Rescuer. That’s less upsetting than this one. Probably.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have an insect eating cat too. Sometimes she eats imaginary insects and enjoys them just as much. I don’t mind spiders as long as they aren’t in the shower with me and I’m naked. I also am not fond of large hairy ones. Reminds me of a guy I used to date.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’;s not the spiders that freak out our Human, she can handle those multi-legged little critters. It’s anything without legs….like snakes ..that throw her into a panic mode that has to be seen to be believed. The decision of where to move was made, first and foremost, according to where the least amount of snakes would be found. We have little garter snakes here (no poisonous ones here) and you should hear the screaming and shrieking that happens on the rare occasion her path crosses one. It’s quite embarrassing. Fortunately, there are no snakes in the house so we are spared from the snake Kabuki Theater.
    Purrs & Head Bonks,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @ Emma: Love Shelobs’ story 😱 You spin a tale very well …”return to the house briefly to burn it down” 🤣 Hopefully none of her spawn have successfully evaded KitKat!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Creepy coincidence I just realized the timing…

    Chatting with sister in law last night about fauna sightings near her house upstate
    (Florida), showed us photos of fully grown Wolf Spider in her dining room 🤪 She & daughter managed to kill it. I woulda beat Usain Bolt outta the house! (& I regularly kill flying roaches the size of Maine without batting an eye)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shouldn’t it really be “defense de tuer?” (Sorry, I am too lazy/technically challenged to do accents on my phone.) I’m just worried that Louis may get so full after gorging himself on a poor fisherman’s feast that he may have no room left for a nice, juicy, hairy spider..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, that’s a very good point! Or maybe “Défense de suivre les instructions” covers it all?


  10. As a Canadian, I’m obligated to point out that Happy Gilmore was a hockey player, not a baseball player 🙂

    I have a phobia of bees, but my cats are no help there. If a bee gets inside the house (at least once a year– ugh) I only panic that they’ll get stung if they go after it. I like your reverse psychology ploy, though– I suspect he’ll be hunting down spiders in no time!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We had a cat who would respond to a call of “bug!” by appearing and dispatching the critter. These two don’t seem to get the connection between the word and the creature.

    Liked by 1 person

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