Friday, August 20, 2010

The Mystery of the Body in My Crawlspace

Tonight I went into the crawlspace under our house to see if I can figure out how the mice are getting into the cupboard under our kitchen sink. While I was down there, I was greeted with this grisly visage:

Before discovering this skull, I found some bones that were too big for rodents (at least I'd hope so). I assumed they were chicken bones that some mouse had dragged in. From a distance and from a different angle, this skull looked like a wadded up sack from a fast food restaurant. As I approached I could read that the sack was Purina Dog Chow bag that had mostly rotted away and revealed the remains of this critter inside.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but the skull is about the size of a human fist. I guessed it was a cat skull (despite the dog food bag) and a search for "cat skull" on Google Images seems to confirm this:

How did it get there? I first considered the possibility that the cat got trapped under there and died. There was no entry point big enough for a cat, but perhaps while workers were installing the water heater or remodeling the bathroom, a cat sneaked in while no one was paying attention.

But how to explain the dog food bag? I saw that mice were able to drag some small bits of trash down (I found a bottle cap, a bit of tinfoil, and a sprung snap trap), but it didn't seem feasible for a mouse to drag something as big as that dog food bag through any of the tiny holes I found.

It seems more likely that the cat died, and his body was placed in a dog food bag for disposal. But did somebody think it was a good idea to dispose of it in the crawlspace? It must have smelled horrible for awhile. Perhaps it was left in the trash or elsewhere initially and some other critter (or human prankster) moved it to the crawlspace.

Whatever happened must have happened a long time ago judging from the decay and the fact that neither we nor the prior owners owned a dog. Since then, there has been work done that required going under the house (the kitchen and bathroom were remodeled and the water heater was replaced), so it's surprising that this wasn't found earlier.

I left it where I found it; I didn't want to touch it. When I go back to plug the mouse entry hole, I'll bring rubber gloves and a trash sack and clean it up then.


Chris Bogart said...

Yikes. Maybe the dogfood bag was there first, and the cat crawled into it. Maybe there was some dog food left in it.

I dearly hope the cat wasn't Kinky. But I doubt we opened the crawlspace door anytime around when she disappeared.

(BTW, if I start a satanic heavy metal band, I'll name it "Grisly Visage")

akrizman said...

Naturally Kinky crossed my mind, too. She disappeared only 20 months ago, and I think there's too much decay (I'm no CSI expert, though). I also found no entry point large enough for her.

No doubt you remember the something-crawled-in-and-died odor in our workshop last winter, and you might suspect this is the source. But I found the source of that odor when I cleaned out the workshop last month - a mouse fell into the tall trash can and couldn't get out.

I was quite pleased with 'grisly visage' myself. I had to Google it after I wrote it to see how often the particular adjective+noun combo occurs. For some reason it made me think of 'hirsute lothario' - another adj+noun combo I've liked.

Teresa said...

That's grim bro!!! I do not like crawl spaces