Stripes – Mosquito Day

Yesterday was World Mosquito Day. Can you believe it? I hate those little critters! They go bzzzz around your ears when you’re trying to sleep and you can hardly ever catch them.  How come they get a day? What about a Cat Day? Boy, is this world unfair! Maybe I shouldn’t have started learning about the eco-thing, and then I wouldn’t get so agitated. Now I know why humans say ignorance is bliss.

My Shirley human came to pet me and asked why I was so grumpy.  Me? Grumpy?  Well, maybe a little. So I told her about the mosquito thing and how unfair that is. She laughed and said that Mosquito Day is not meant to celebrate mosquitoes but to warn humans how bad they can be.  Well, that sounded a bit better. She said that mosquitoes can carry nasty little things called parasites and when the mosquito stings a human (or other animal) the little nasty parasites can get into our blood. Really? These parasites must be pretty small if they can live inside a mosquito. Yes, can you believe it?

The mommy mosquito has to drink blood before she can make babies, so she has a mouthpart like a long needle that she sticks into you and then, just to make things worse, she spits into you as well and the little parasites come in with the spit. Shirley said her spit stops the blood from clotting in her needle-mouth when she sucks up the blood. It’s the spit that makes the mosquito bite itch so much. Oh, gross!! No wonder mosquitoes give me the heeby jeebies. Maybe I’ll just hide under the table for a while.

I asked Shirley if we can please get some really poisonous spray to kill the mosquitoes. She said no, she had a better plan, because spraying insecticide is not very eco-friendly and as an Eco Cat, I should remember that.  It’s winter now, so there are no mosquitoes around, but before summer comes, we will put up a bat hotel. A what? Yes, it’s a box with special material inside that bats can cling to when they sleep because they sleep hanging upside down, would you believe.

Will this mean we will get bats to come and live with us? Don’t they fly into your fur and make a nest there?  No, no, you silly cat, she said. Bats never fly into anything because they have echo-location. What’s that, I asked. I’m still learning about the eco-thing, but now we have an echo-thing as well. Enough to confuse any cat.

Shirley poured a cup of tea and sat down to explain patiently.  Yes, she said, bats are really amazing mammals. Hey, they are mammals? I thought they were birds. Now I’ve heard something cool – mammals that fly!  Pay attention, Stripes, Shirley said. Are you listening? Yes, bats send out sounds that we can’t hear and the sounds bounce off things around them and when the sound comes back to them it tells them where everything is. This is really useful if you fly around at night in the dark and you can’t see very well.

That made me feel a lot better to know if I go out at night to check out a few things, the bats won’t ruffle my fur. Maybe I could have a bat friend. How cool is that – Eco Cat and Echo Bat.

Anyway, Shirley continued, the point of my story is that bats love to eat mosquitoes. Even a tiny bat can eat up to 2,000 mosquitoes every night.  Wow, I didn’t know there were so many mosquitoes! Shirley said there are lots and lots of mosquitoes all over Africa, especially in the hot parts, where they carry parasites that can make people very sick with a thing called malaria.  Shame, maybe we can send a whole family of bats to them.

Now I feel much better. No more mosquitoes at night. All I need now is a Cat Day. Oh silly, Shirley said, stop fussing. In China they have a whole Year of the Cat. So tell me, where is China????


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