If you have a sensitive stomach or a clinical mollusk phobia like I happen to have, you may not want to read this story. But, having lived through this sordid nightmare myself, it would really make me feel better if you would read it. I cannot stand to suffer this kind of thing alone.
I’ve had a wee bit of a “slug problem” going on lately. I’ve caught one or two banana slugs** creeping ickily along the baseboards in my kitchen, and I’ve had to remove them from my house in what can best be described as a heightened state of shrieky hysteria.
And then I started to notice the telltale disgusting slime trail of slug traffic on my cat food mat every morning.
Not a straight trail from point A to point B which might have indicated the slug(s)’(?) M.O. and itinerary, but a veritable disco dance of slime trails all helter-skelter around the mat.
(Banana slug romances actual banana, by Maynard De la Paz )
I’ve been pretty sure that slugs are getting into my cat food. But, I’ve been choosing to remain in denial about this because I cannot now and have never been able to stand invertebrates. No offense to those of you without spines, but they are really pretty revolting. I don’t have this problem with spiders—even big ones—or any other type of creature. I’ve handled alive, dead, and half-dead rodents and wild birds of all caliber in my long career as a cat owner. I’ve had to eject three cat-caught snakes from my house in the last six months. (Very funny, guys.) But banana slugs are the one of God’s creatures that I just cannot abide by.
Which brings us to tonight. I drank a gang of green tea late in the day today (technically yesterday) and ended up engrossed in a book until almost 3 in the morning, at which point I realized that this was probably going to be one of those rare insomniac nights and there was no point in fighting it. So, I got up and turned the lights on in the kitchen.
And there he was. That fucking asshole banana slug. Sprinting in his slow, methodical way across my kitchen floor in a direct line to the cat food dish with maniacal focus. He was hugging the baseboard by the stove, and I can only assume that his entry into my house was under that very appliance. The hole in the wall where the gas line goes out, perhaps? Or does a family of slugs actually LIVE UNDER MY STOVE? Oh, god.
I tried to stay calm, since, by my expert calculations, I had at least four hours before he would make it to the food bowl two feet away, which gave me plenty of time to make a decision about how to proceed. Just in case, I removed the cat food from the floor, at which point I suddenly remembered the subtle thought that has been crossing my mind every time I’ve cleaned the cat food dish lately: Why is this dish so extraordinary slimy? Is it because the cats lick it? (No.) Does it have something to do with the cheap Japanese porcelain? (No.) Does this very dry-seeming cat food somehow soften to an invisible muculent residue? (No.)
Next thought: I’ll have to have my hands amputated.
I’ll deal with that later. Meanwhile, why is this happening? In the absence of any sensible action item, I did what comes naturally to me in emergencies: I got on the Internet. I googled banana slugs.
And that’s when I found out that banana slugs love yeast. In the words of the expert forum I stumbled across (which was actually advising that one drown their slugs in beer—as if I want to deal with a dead, flaccid, beer-engorged slug any more than I want to deal with this alive and increasingly angry one) I learned that “yeasty smell and flavor are irresistible to slugs” and that slugs consider yeast to be a veritable aphrodisiac, a “siren call,” in fact.
The next thing you need to know is that one of my two cats, Budapest, has a little bit of a yeast flake addiction going on. Don’t ask me how I managed to get her hooked on this in the first place, but it’s at the point where she will sit at the base of her full dish of fresh, expensive raw organic food and mewl at me petulantly until I acquiesce and sprinkle a dash of yeast on her meal. Until now I’ve considered it a peculiar and eccentric cat trait that was not such a big deal to pander to. After all, I want her to get fat. I’ve never had a fat cat and I’ve always wanted to.
However, armed with this new knowledge, I will be discontinuing the yeast seasoning on all cat food in these parts. And possibly moving. Just as soon as I can figure out how to eject this douchebag slug from my kitchen. He’s sprinted a whole five inches since I started this story. Don’t think I will be turning my back on him tonight.
Oh wait, oh god! He is heading straight for me! Okay bye, I’m moving to Antarctica now…
** If you have the fortune of not knowing what a banana slug is, let me shatter your blissful naivette: they are slugs that look like and are as big as bananas, and are known to have intelligence rivaled only by man, which they use for nefarious purposes.