It reminded me of a crazy housesitting experience I had one summer when I was home from college. Some good friends of my parents were going out of town and needed someone to housesit, to watch their cat and dog. Being a poor college student, housesitting was a great way for me to supplement my meager income, and to get a little bit of private time when I was staying with my parents for the summer, so I agreed to do it.
The first day I was there, I went out the front door for a second...and discovered it's one of those doors that opens from the inside even if it's locked from the outside. I guess they forgot to tell me that. A neighbor helped me remove a screen from one of the windows, which thankfully wasn't locked from the inside or outside, and I got back in.
Later, I started noticing a couple of very odd things. There were drops of blood on the tile floor. There were also thin, little streaks of blood on the wall of the hallway. Ew.
After puzzling for awhile, I discovered the source. The cat had this big, bleeding thing on her side. With wide eyes, I resisted my gag reflex and called the owners.
"Oh," they said, "We forgot to tell you. The cat has a bleeding mole." Now, calling it a "mole" is like calling a tumor a "pimple," but...okay. I'd deal with the blood.
I figured that somehow the cat was rubbing along the wall in the hall, too, though the blood there seemed a bit high. A couple of days later I discovered the true source. The dog, a large labrador puppy, had a little scratch on his tail. As he happily lumbered down the hall, his wagging tail would hit the walls on either side, knocking off the scab and painting the wall with small, distinct brushstrokes...uh, tailstrokes. I'll give the owners a pass on this one; I don't think they were aware of it.
On my last night there, I was in the living room when I heard the distinct sound of the front doorknob turning. It was locked, but my heart stopped. For some reason my first call was to my dad, who of course said, "I'm coming over; call 9-1-1."
I explained to the 9-1-1 dispatcher what had happened, and she immediately sent over a couple of police officers. I warned her that they might find my dad outside--being a good daughter, I wanted to prevent him from being tackled and arrested.
When the officers arrived, they searched the premises and found no one. Not having heard anything since that first doorknob rattle, I became convinced maybe I'd imagined it. Embarrassed, I told them and my dad I'd be okay.
A couple of days later, after the owners had gotten home, I stopped by to give them their key. "So," Mr. Homeowner said, having talked to my parents, "I hear you had an issue your last night here."
"Um, oh, yeah," I stammered. "I don't know what happened."
"Well," he said with a smile, "We forgot to tell you, sometimes the cat puts his paws on either side of the doorknob and rattles it."
Oh. I felt vindicated that I'd indeed heard something, even if that "something" was an attempted feline burglary.
Remembering this story, I'm given some insight into the ridiculously-detailed, typed instructions I leave for our housesitters. I really don't want to forget to tell them anything.