too many words by laura lemay

rodent adventure

A couple evenings ago I was sitting on the couch with the laptop when I heard Fierce Cat push her way into the house through the hole in the screen door. She’s not supposed to do that, but we sort of tolerate it because if we fixed the screen door then she would be howling at the door to be let in and then howling two minutes later to be let out again. Leaving the hole there lets her be indecisive on her own. And Elsa, the indoor cat, doesn’t seem to notice that the hole is there, so it works out OK.

But this time as Fierce Cat came in through the screen door I looked up and she had a mouse in her mouth. I’ve seen Fierce Cat with mice before; she catches them live and then brings them home still wiggling so she can play with them. Ack. As I leapt up from the couch and tried to herd her back through the door (“No! No! No! No! No!”) she dropped the mouse and then chased it happily through the kitchen, around the hall, back through the living room, and then as I followed them both, waving my arms, aghast, the mouse vanished behind the entertainment center.

The entertainment center is 150 pounds. There’s a 250 pound TV on top of it. Arrggh!!!

I stormed around for a while, pitched the cat back outside (“bad cat! stupid cat! horrid cat!”), ranted at Eric when he came home (“YOUR CAT was really bad this afternoon”) but eventually resigned myself that there was a mouse under the entertainment center and that it was going to die there and that we would find it when we moved, like thirty years from now. On the other hand we would probably not actually live that long, of course, given that the mouse would spread hantavirus throughout our household and we would die of respiratory failure in a matter of weeks. Yay.

Last night I was again sitting on the couch watching TV when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. “Oh its the mouse!” I exclaimed. Fierce Cat saw it at the same time I did and shot off the couch at the other end of the room but the mouse saw her first and streaked back across the room and back behind the entertainment center. Darn.

And then we went to bed but there was noise and some scrabbling and we turned on the light and there was the mouse in the bedroom and Fierce Cat chasing it. We got up to help but being that people are effectively are giant naked mole rats and not optimized for catching small critters we sort of lumbered around clumsily and contributed nothing whatsoever to the goal of actually catching the mouse. Fierce Cat was not really being helpful either; it became very obvious after we had flushed the mouse out of a number of corners with a stick and Fierce Cat had chased it into another corner that she just thought this was a really fun game. Flush it out again, giant naked mole rat, wheee!

Finally the mouse got under the claw-foot tub in the bathroom and crawled up under one of the hollow claws and just sat there. It resisted all efforts to be prodded out with the stick. And here was an interesting moment: Fierce Cat knew the mouse was somewhere nearby, but she couldn’t figure out where it was. You know that part in Jurassic Park where the family is being menaced by the T Rex but they sit really really still and the dinosaur is inches away but they’re not moving so it can’t see them? It was just like that. The mouse was right there, Fierce Cat’s nose was right next to it, but she just couldn’t see it, no matter how much we insisted “its right there! right! there! arrrggghhh!”

And then finally I noticed that the mouse was perched there with its tail sticking out. Fierce Cat: not helpful. Man with stick: just enabling unhelpful cat. I went and got my leather work gloves, reached under the tub, and snagged the mouse by the tail. Dangling the wiggling, squeaking menace at arm’s length, I ejected the rodent back out the door from whence it came, and all was once again right with the world.

Definitely have to fix the damn screen door.