Last weekend, I was parked on my quasi-couch with the cat in my lap when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. When I glanced over, I spotted a house spider zooming across the floor - a sizeable one. Legs included, he was probably two inches across. It was almost under the couch when I realized that one of its little legs was crooked - it was George! And George has grown significantly.
I'm not sure when our adventures with George actually started, since I have always had a catch and release spider policy. Maybe I've only ever had one spider and he keeps coming back? In the summer, I shoo them outside, and in the winter I release them in the water heater room in my apartment building. (I've mentioned how much my neighbors love me, right?)
At any rate, late last summer, I noticed a spider behaving quite strangely. The cat was sprawled across the floor with her fuzzy little feet sticking up in the air, and this little spider was running up to within an inch of her and then doing this weird little bowing thing and then running away again.
This happened several times, with the cat remaining completely oblivious. (I have a PERFECT Garfield cartoon, if I can only remember to bring it in and scan it.) The cat looked over at me when I started laughing, and noticed the spider. That woke her up. She rolled over and kinda batted at the spider, which darted backwards out of reach and then immediately forward again. This continued for a while until finally Sophia rolled onto her feet and started following the spider. She wasn't really chasing it, per say, she just put her nose very close to it and followed it along the floor. This is not normal behavior for my cat, who usually considers spiders to be crunchy kitty yum-yums.
As I watched, fascinated, the spider scurried under a bookshelf. The cat stayed right there where the spider had disappeared, while the spider snuck out another side, circled around, and started that bowing thing behind her. Finally Sophia noticed and she whacked him - which is how his leg got all crooked to begin with. At that point, I intervened, scooped up George and dumped him outside.
A couple of weeks later, he was back challenging the cat. She's never whacked him again - she just follows him around. It's the weirdest damn thing.
I hadn't seen George in several weeks and I wondered what happened to him. What is the lifespan of a common house spider, anyway? I hope that somewhere in his little spider brain he realizes that not everyone is as open-minded about spider visitors as I am. I'd hate to think of George scurrying up to a neighbor, bowing away, and getting squashed like... well, like a bug.
But for right now, I know where he is. He's under my couch, waiting to take on my cat.