Friday, August 15, 2008


If you'd asked me what my exotic pet of choice would be any day prior to today, my answer would have been "platypus." Whose wouldn't be? But that was before the ants tried to take over my life.

At any given point, there are 10 or 20 wandering around the bathroom...or the hallway...or the kitchen counter "like drunks," as AK described it. I watched one walk in small tight circles on the TV-with-a-tablecloth-over-it that is our living room "end table" (side note: If you need a small, functional TV that just happens to turn everyone's lips orange, email me). So yes, they're drunk. Drunk on power.

The 10-to-20 groups are the ones we've started ignoring in order to conserve our energy for the armies that march in whenever one of the drunken scouts stumbles on a morsel of cat food, which is often, because we haven't successfully taught the cats to eat with bibs. In fact, between paragraphs one and two of this post, I stopped to wipe up a cluster of ants that had just found such a crumb.

As AK has pointed out during my scary anti-ant tirades, I take it all very personally. It's as if they're saying, "Hey, Cheryl, we believe you have nothing better to do with your time than stand next to the cat food bowls with a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels. All day. Because you're a loser, and your valiant attempts to keep your house OCD-clean mean nothing to us. We are here to make you realize that it is, in fact, your destiny to live in squalor."

But AK will be happy to know that I've finally found a solution. And no, it's not chalk, talcum powder, hermetically sealing every food item in our house, Combat Ant Killing Gel or any of the other things our friends have recommended to us. (All I can say is they must live next to more docile colonies. Our ants are guerrilla warriors used to years of jungle combat, and killing their brethren only makes them scrappier and more determined. They are the suicide bombers of the insect kingdom, without the suicide part.)

The solution, which I'm having trouble linking to (on or posting a picture of because I'm on AK's Mac and I'm a Mac moron, is a PYGMY ANTEATER. Words won't do him justice, but let's just say he's about the length of your forearm, covered in fuzzy white down, has a gentle, benevolent smile and, most importantly EATS ANTS.

We've been trying to get Team Gato to earn their keep for years, but, as I mentioned above, they're part of the ant problem, not the ant solution. But our new pygmy anteater will quickly shame them.

Okay, it's pretty impossible to shame cats (Me: "Ferdinand, you've been sleeping in this exact spot on the bed for six hours." Ferdinand: "Fuck you"). But Antsy, as I've named him, will weave in between Team Gato while they eat, slurping up ants, being adorable, and reminding them that it wouldn't kill them to get out and audition for a cat food commercial once in a while. Just audition, that's all I'm asking.


Laura and the family said...

Yeah I learned that if you also use baking soda on the floor, sidewalk, or else you name it. In a few minutes it will explode their stomach. The only problem I was annoyed when I see the "hopeful" living ants carried their loved/dead ones-- I image myself as if they were carry a coffin.

One day, Dylan told me, "Don't kill the ants. They helped to the soils for the plants." What could I say to a seven and a half year old son? Perhaps, I should have scared him, "How do you feel if the ants coming in your food from the soil?" Am I being mean?

Tell AK, "Sorry you are stuck with Cheryl with OCD. She and I have OCD in our family!" I don't like messy either, including letting ants run in our lives.

Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, you need to employ a scorched earth policy. I used eco friendly Spray Of Doom. It smelled like hot cinnamon and killed EVERYTHING.

Damn ants. They fill me with rage and hate.

Claire said...

I hate ants too.

My parents were once much frustrated by them being in our front stairs when I was in the 3rd grade. In commiseration, I yelled out such a long string of curse words that my parents could only laugh. Mom loves retelling that one.

Cheryl said...

L: If the ants stayed in the soil, I'd be charmed by them too. But once they come through the door (and every window and invisible crack in our house), all tactics are fair game.

TL: The name sounds promising. Where can I buy it?

C: The curse words are in full bloom. It's just not as cute coming from a 31-year-old mouth.

Jesi said...

you may want to try this:

Cheryl said...

We've made our own DIY ant moats for the cat dishes, but maybe the professionals know something we don't.

Anonymous said...

The ants in our house are very tiny and the exact same color as the cat food. It's quite trippy when they go to work. The cat food appears to be moving.

(And, unrelated to ants, thanks for the link to my site.)

Don Cummings said...

Get a pangolin.

Cheryl said...

C: Creepy! As if cat food weren't weird enough already.

DC: I had to Google "pangolin," and I was excited to learn that the name comes from a Malay word meaning "something that roles up," and the animal is often compared to a walking pine cone. That's a pet for me.

Peter Varvel said...

I am a bleeding heart ant lover and try to avoid killing them, but we have the same problem with our outdoor cat food dishes.
I now apply ant spray on the bottom of the food dish, or directly on to the dirt underneath the dish. It hasn't hurt the cats and the ants stay away almost 100% (reapplications of ant spray are necessary).
I've read that cinnamon is a humane way to discourage ants but I haven't tried that - I'm worried it will discourage the felines, too.