Oh, my mother.
Long-time readers of this blog have heard some good stories about her and the nutball things she comes up with sometimes: Mexican cats that don't understand English, tires that are only flat on the bottom, and mice that only eat white bread. She came up with a new gem this week.
Once every two weeks, I have to change Scout's litterbox. The cat hasn't lived with me for a year and a half, but somehow I am still the designated litterbox changer.
In warm months, I clean the box outside. I was doing this on Monday afternoon beside Mom's back patio, using the garden hose. When the water hit a certain spot in the grass, a large-and-ugly-but-not-quite-ginormous grass spider rustled up and gave chase across the patio.
I, of course, screamed a little. Spiders ain't my thing.
Mom has never minded them, so she began doing the spider stomp dance to try to help me kill it. Within minutes, three more (oh, yes, three) grass spiders skittered out of the same basic area, each a little bigger than the first one we rustled. The thought that I disturbed a nest (do ground spiders in the wolf spider family nest?) gave me a sincerely bad case of the heebie jeebies and I started getting the shivers.
My mom was a trooper. I sprayed them, she stomped them, and we thought we got them all.
But then one we hadn't seen before (a fourth large spider! Dear God!) crawled out of a little crack in mom's patio concrete where it had been huddling for safety while its brethren were being annihilated. This one was fast; mom had to practically do the Cotton Eye Joe to stomp him before he could hide again.
When she stomped him, she looked down to make sure he was dead (he had played dead a few times by rolling into a ball and then running for it when he thought we had forgotten about him) and then made a face.
"He was full of blood," she said. (Which I guess means it was a she.)
I threw up into my mouth a little bit. When I looked over, even from a safe distance, sure enough: he had a surprisingly large, fresh, bright-red blood splatter. The CSI characters would be in awe.
"You know what that means, don't you?" Mom asked.
Gee, mom, no. I have no idea wherefrom arachnids get their nutrition. It's not like Charlotte's Web was annual viewing in our house or anything.
"Yeah, mom. It means it had just sucked something's blood."
Cue the shivers.
"Yeah," Mom said, "I wonder what it was eating. Probably a cat."
Probably a cat.
She was serious.
I had a horrifying image of an itty bitty kitty wrapped up in a big ol' wolf spider's web, mewing piteously, getting all of its blood sucked out.
But I know (and I assured mom) that spiders don't eat cats, that they're not ticks, hanging out and sucking blood and then dropping off. It would have had to have been an insect, or perhaps an earthworm, that had gotten stuck in the ground-dwelling spider's web. Or nest.