My Barn Cat Barbara is a Dark Goddess

How a stray cat brought a very real solution to my sleep problem.

Sean Kernan
Nov 14, 2020 · 5 min read
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pic via istock photos

Those who challenged her would die.

Those who dared be small were marked to die. Those who were small, and dared come near her, were already dead.

Her worldview was not clouded; it had purity. It was unadulterated.

She cared nothing of movies, nothing of gossip.

Friends, love, compassion, kindness — all weak, offensively petty notions.

Mercy, merely a roadblock to her brutal whims.

Patience, only to prolong death, a luxury that came at the time of her choosing.

Where violence necessitates intelligence, she stood above all others. Where mercy demands judgment, she was jury and executioner.

Within the chaos, she brought purpose.

She — who extends daggers from her paws.

She — who naps beside her victims — not of symbolism, not of power, not of posturing, but merely of convenience.

Barbara existed as the very thing that defined her: a distilled, pure confluence of laziness, comfort, and violence.

And for that, Barbara was grateful. For that Barbara was — that which she was always meant to be.

She licked her paws. It was steady and methodical, the first of many baths.

Below her, a bird twitched with one wing extended. It lingered, lost in the nightmarish haze between life and death.

Barbara paused her licking. She gazed down at the bird.

With wide, beautiful, angular eyes, whiskers carving out and upward, Barbara stared in mild curiosity.

She wondered, for a very brief moment, “What happened to this bird?” forgetting that it was her who had mauled it only moments prior.

She resumed her bath.

It started around 3 AM

It was a faint scratching noise. And then it was gone.

Initially, I’d thought it was a dream. I live near the water in a heavily wooded area in Florida. We are prone to lots of critters. If they find a way into your walls or attic, they generally plan to stay.

It was one of those cross-your-fingers and hope it doesn’t come back moments.

However, my finger crossing brought no favors. The following night, I woke to the vivid and cutting sound of a rat climbing vertically inside my bedroom wall.

I should have called pest control immediately. But I’m not very smart.

It rapidly escalated. Faint scratching became this loud, muffled chewing on wood. Then I heard simultaneous chewing on opposite sides of my bedroom. Another night, I heard the unmistakable sound of a rat squealing in my attic, following by lots of scurrying feet. I think they were throwing a parade.

I eventually learned that they were roof rats. These critters grow more than an inch of teeth every year. They chew on wood for the same reasons we clip our nails. Consequently, they cause very real damage to your infrastructure.

Eventually, I took action, painfully late. I bought huge, catapult-like rat traps. I placed them in the attic, very carefully, and per the instructions.

I woke up to the boom of a trap one night. I flew out of bed and climbed into the attic.


The rat had dodged it. It sniped the food out of the trap. These rats weren’t suckers; they were students of the game.

I bought better traps and loaded them up with slim-jim beef jerky. Nothing. They were too good. Half the treats were stolen. No dead bodies.

The rat problem exploded. Rats become sexually mature at two months and can have five sets of six litters per year. The math isn’t pretty.

They left at night to eat and returned before dawn to sleep in my attic. And, they made babies on the way in.

There was a city of rats in my attic. They were chewing, screeching, and fighting all night long. I was ready to torch the entire house and start over.

A natural remedy to vermin chaos arrives

I was leaving for work one morning.

I locked the door behind me and walked to my car. Just as I stepped off the front porch, I saw a dark cat fly by my front lawn. It turned the corner onto the brick sidewalk leading to my backyard.

However, something was off.

It appeared this black cat was carrying one of its kittens in its mouth. At first, I thought she was moving her young to a new location, one by one, as feline mothers sometimes do.

I walked around the corner of my house. She was pointed towards the backyard, tail whipping back and forth. She looked back at me. She had a nonchalant stare, with her kitten in her mouth.

Only, it wasn’t a kitten.

This was a rat. Its legs were twitching in its mouth. In my warmest voice, I said, “Hey sweetie! Stay right there!”

I jogged inside my house. A moment later, I reappeared, walking softly, and with an idiotic grin plastered across my face.

“Hey, cutie!”

She gazed at me as I gently kneeled down, smiling, saying sweet nothings to the pretty, witty, kitty cat. I set the bowl of milk down while maintaining eye contact. Then I said,

“Stick around? Please? Pretty, kitty cat? Can I call you Barbara, pretty kitty?”

The manling came to her.

He pleaded his case. He was weak and desperate for her help. He was at the mercy of vile, simple beasts.

He was pathetic. Barbara contemplated destroying him. But she listened to his eager pleas.

After mulling it over, she demanded his loyalty and regular tribute, a sacrifice to continually reaffirm his unreciprocated love for her. Wisely, he agreed.

So in her infinite grace and wisdom, she ruled over his kingdom.

The beasts surely came. In the darkness, they chose to feed.

And in the darkness, so did she.

Her fur blacker than her heart, she slid through the night, ink among the shadows.

They could not flee from what they could not see. And in their blindness, their flesh was turned cold beneath glowing eyes.

She lept from the darkness. She ran through the shadows. Pointed fangs sprang from her mouth. Sharp daggers descended from her paws.

It was methodical. It was precise. It was easy.

Once there were many. And then there were none.

For this, the pathetic manling was grateful.

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How to be your best self.

Sean Kernan

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Make tomorrow better today.

Sean Kernan

Written by

Quality over quantity. That guy from Quora. Enjoy? Follow for more. Open to gigs


Make tomorrow better today.

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