Housesitting Diaries: An Intruder


I adored them. Shy and introverted upon first encounter, yet full of personality once they warmed up. It was a house full of pets yet the quietest housesit we’d experienced. It was in line with the way I lived my life on a daily — minus the furry friends.

One of the pets we cared for was a former street cat

We’ll call her Roxy. Roxy was like a rebellious teenager: she'd hardly respond when we called her and pretty much purred to the beat of her own drum. I loved it.

Sneaking into the night through the window after dinner and climbing the yard fence right before breakfast in the morning, she reminded me of a 19-year-old whose main priorities were eating meals and sleeping all day. Her furry siblings ignored her antics for the most part, shooting me eyes that whispered “Olivia, relax. She’ll come back. She aways does.”

Every once in a while the side door would be closed before her morning return and we could hear her softly meowing a request to enter. And every once in a while she’d leave later than usual or return earlier than expected, through our bedroom window.

But one night was much more unusual than the others

As our dreams floated above our extra-wide king mattress, we heard a bang, frantic scurrying, light snarls… and an uncomfortable silence. An investigative silence. It was about 4:00 am and we weren’t sure what just gave us the fright, but a quick inventory confirmed all pets accounted for. 

“Maybe she just came back through the window and startled the others,” I reassured Alex — trying to convince myself. No one was convinced. Not even I.

But we were exhausted and after a failed attempt at locating the source of the commotion, we reattempted sleep. 

It was difficult, sleeping. No one was ready to doze off yet. Not until the case was solved. Not us. Not the rest of the pets. And not Roxy.

“Wait — where did Roxy go?” Roxy was apparently satisfied with whatever went down and already moved along, slipping out the bedroom door and snuggling in her favorite spot in the house for a much needed late-night cat nap.

“Did she bring another cat in? No, that’s ridiculous…” I finally pondered myself to sleep.

The next morning came quickly and I could hear that the pets never left the source of the commotion. Sniffing. Searching. Pushing. They wanted to know even more than I did.

Alex finally rolled out of bed and moved the bedroom furniture, guarded by the curious furries 

“What is back there, guys? What do you smell —” his inquisitive words were quickly replaced with a loud groan. He found it. Our furry family protected us that night from an intruding rat.

And there he was, dead. 

Glad to have solved the mystery and equally shocked (this house was as clean as ever and really well-cared for), we couldn’t help but wonder if Roxy saved us from an intruder or brought home an unusual souvenir from her late night escapades. 

I guess we’ll never know. 

We’d still housesit there again. We loved the home, owners, and furry family. It was clearly a freak occurrence (and a hilarious story to later share).


Housesitting Diaries is a new series on the blog, sharing humorous recollections of my experiences housesitting.