Linzi & Chris in The Case of the Shirt Destroyer

For the past 6 months we have been living with a surprising, destructive problem. Every once in awhile, we would pull out a shirt or underwear from our drawers only to stare in horror at a rectangular shaped gap on one of the edges. We ignored it for awhile, wistfully taking stabs at what may have caused it, but never followed through on any of our assumptions. That was – until last Sunday.

Chris and I were enjoying a sweetheart lemon tart at Tart to Tart, when I happened to look down and notice that the infamous shirt destroyer had struck again – on my treasured blue Topo Ranch shirt that Laura bought me! Enough was enough. Laura has moved to Portland and I can’t get another one of these shirts anymore – this was the shirt destroyer’s last shirt destroyed!

Clue 01: Rectangular shape missing from fabric.

The clues are as follows:
01 Rectangular shape missing from fabric. In every case, the shape has been exactly the same.
02 It’s only happened to shirts and underwear, no jeans or sweaters.
03 Reptar has been staring at the corner of the wall right next to the closet door a lot.
04 Reptar has been known to have pica for strings and string-like objects (bras & cords).
05 Our laundry machine is awful and constantly breaks.
06 It happens to Chris’s clothing more than mine.
07 It happens in-between taking the shirt off and putting it back on again after cleaning it, never while wearing the shirt.

Our most-likely suspects:
Suspect 01 Mice
Suspect 02 Laundry Machine
Suspect 03 Reptar

– – – Mice – – –

Mouse Trapped Alive by Ken (via Flickr)

Reptar staring at the wall for long periods of time lead us to believe it could be mice, but there were many reasons against the mice theory. There’s no visible holes in the wall outside or in the closet, there are no mouse droppings, and there’s nothing else that would indicate that we have mice. Most importantly – why/how could a mouse or a bunch of mice always make a rectangular shape?

Mice were out of the running.

– – – Laundry Machine – – –

laundry by callincolin (via Flickr)

We believed the laundry machine to be the culprit. We’ve been having problems with the washer since we moved in. If you overload (and by overloading I mean put more than 1 pair of jeans in at a time), the door opens and you need to completely restart your load. On bad days it fills with water and does nothing, so you need to take soaking wet clothes all the way down the street to the public laundry mat. Our rational was, well the washer’s been a bitch for awhile now, maybe the dryer is finally breaking down. Also, the fact that the missing rectangular shape was always the same, lead us to believe it might be mechanical.

After Tart to Tart, we stopped in the basement before heading up to our apartment and inspected the washer and dryer for torn rectangular pieces of fabric. We found none. I decided to take a picture of my shirt and make a poster that read, “Has this happened to any of your shirts? Please contact Linzi in Apartment 9.”

– – – Reptar – – –


Last, but not least, Reptar. Reptar is known to have pica for strings, bras, and cords, but we’ve never seen him eat or try to eat our shirts. Usually if I pick him up and I’m wearing a sweater with cords he goes after them immediately, but he’d never attacked my shirt in that manner. Also, I’m extremely diligent about putting my clothes away immediately after taking them off. I lost a couple bra strings by leaving clothes on the floor, so I learned quickly that they need to be safe in the closet.

When we arrived upstairs after Tart to Tart, I took the shirt off and presented it to Reptar… to test his hunger for shirts.

Not interested.

He didn’t seem to care – at all. I even waved the sleeve in his face… nada. So Chris and I left the shirt on the floor and went in the other room to watch the rest of Party Down: Season 1. When it was time for bed, we came back the room and flopped down on the bed. We were chatting when in the distance we heard a faint…

…om nom nom nom…

– – – The Culprit – – –

Still wet from the noming.

Chris and I jumped up off the bed to find Reptar, the shirt destoryer, noming on the shirt continuing off of the exact place he had previously nomed it! That dang cat! I yelled at him and threw the destroyed shirt away. With that, Chris and I swore to be even more diligent with our clothes. He had most likely gotten to my shirt when I had brought the laundry up and didn’t fold it right away.

The next day. I swear, next day. I was getting ready for work, put on my cardigan and what do I find? A rectangular shaped hole on the bottom. Needless to say, screaming ensued. If anybody -anybody- has a recommendation on how to get a cat with pica to stop eating random, non-edible, things, I would really appreciate it. We’re bringing him to the vet next saturday for his annual check-up and to talk about his strange eating habits.