Charley the Cat channels Tippi Hedren in The Birds | Jane Boursaw Photo
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(The continuing adventures of Charley, the little black cat that Tim sent me the day after he passed. Read all about her shenanigans here. -jb)

This week’s installment of The Adventures of Charley finds our little black cat very concerned when a bat somehow found his way into the house two nights ago. I have no idea WHEN the bat came into the house, but we discovered him at 3 a.m. If you’ve been reading the Gazette for a while, you know that we’re usually awake at this hour because we’re night owls (and thank goodness for that, in this case).

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It wasn’t a huge bat – about as big as my hand – and he was flying around the upstairs hallway, flapping methodically into the rooms and back out into the hallway. I sheltered in place in one room, peering out the door as my son Will and I devised a plan to get the little creature back outside.

The bat kept landing on the window screen at the end of the hallway. It’s like he knew freedom was just a few centimeters away. So we decided to put a small trash can over him, slide a piece of cardboard over the end, and take him down the stairs and out the door.

My job was to hold the trash can over the bat. While I was doing that and waiting for Will to find a suitable piece of cardboard, the bat was flopping around in there, trying his best to free himself by sliding his feet out from under the trash can onto the screen. He was squealing a little while this was going on. It was all I could do not to cut and run.

But I held my ground until Will arrived with the cardboard. He then took our surprise guest down the stairs, out the front door, and basically threw everything into the driveway.

While all this was going on, Charley crouched down on my bed with a look of sheer terror as the bat swooped in and out of the room. Picture that scene in “The Birds” where Tippi Hedren waits on a bench outside the Bodega Bay School, smoking a cigarette as she suddenly notices that the jungle gym on the playground is filling up with birds. Charley is Tippi Hedren in this scenario.

Charley channels Tippi Hedren in the iconic school scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"; The Great Bat Incident of 2023
Tippi Hedren in the iconic school scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”

Then, just like how Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette herd the kids outside and tell them to be as quiet as possible until they’re told to run as fast as they can, Charley slinks off the bed in panther mode, crawls on her belly through the hallway, and runs down the stairs at top speed. Fortunately (VERY fortunately), she did not get pecked by the bat, as some of the kids did by the birds on their way down the hill from the schoolhouse.

I did not have my wits about me enough to retrieve my phone from the other room during the Great Bat Incident of 2023 (and wanted to avoid being in the hallway with the bat as much as possible). But as I was writing this story, Charley heard a woodpecker pecking the side of the house and went behind my computer screen to investigate. You can see the resemblance.

Charley and Tippi Hedren in "The Birds"; The Great Bat Incident of 2023 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley and Tippi Hedren in “The Birds” | Jane Boursaw Photo

Now, I’m just wondering HOW the bat got into the house. Is there a hole somewhere I need to deal with? Did he fly inside when a door was open? Will has a tendancy to wander around outside at night talking on his phone, so it’s very possible the bat could have come in when he opened the door.

I also wonder if he might have come through the woodstove chimney at the roofline. I have a call out to my chimney guy to come check the flashing and seal there, because water trickles through there during heavy rains.

Either way, I’m hoping to avoid another unwanted bat guest appearance in the house. I know Charley is, too.

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

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  1. Love the story ! We too had a bat, no idea how it got in !Good ole Figaro was trying to bring the blind and curtain down trying to reach the critter. I grabbed the longest kitchen tongs and Jon got him down. Do not like those bats. Seem to be lots of them this year !

  2. Very entertaining story. Reminds me of the second house I owned. The attic was full of bat guano 3 inches or more thick. House was 200 years old. I wore a mask and spent weeks cleaning it out. I can now go in a house and can tell immediately whether there are bats there. The smell has stayed with me for 30+ years. I like you was scared of bats and once when one got in I used a vacuum cleaner hose end to suck it off the curtain. We used to stand outside at dawn and watch the bats leave.
    The bat folks told me they could get in a hole the size of a quarter!


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