Mouse Tales from a Country Gal
Silver, our thousand dollar cat, (its a long story involving new kitten, attack by wild animal, and BIG vet bills) has a king’s view of hunting–it isn’t really to feed his royal belly. It is to amuse him. Like Caesar, he brings the poor shivering beasties in through our open bathroom window and, in the enclosed mini Colosseum, he subjects them to combat–which they always lose in some particularly dreadful way and then are eviscerated or decapitated at his whim. Last night however, he met the grandson of the mouse that is a legend in our house….
A couple of years ago before Silver was a gleam in his Daddy’s eyes….
Shutting the bathroom door behind him sharply, my husband marched into the living room and plucked our respected mouser from his seat by the door. Sleeker, as this cat was dubbed, gaped dumbfounded at being picked up so abruptly. Shy and claustrophobic, he generally flees if startled. He dithers in doorways fearing the enclosure of walls but hating the rain. We have to force him to choose. Still he’s a great hunter and, living in the country as we do, his skills are in high demand.
This time though, his fear of confinement be damned, my husband put him inside the tiny bathroom, closed the door, and gazed back at family and visitor with an air of having done nothing worthy of comment.
Tersely, he explained, “A mouse.”
Despair. I knew the cat. It hated being boxed in and the bathroom is smaller than some refrigerators. That cat was in trauma land. It wasn’t going to be hunting any critters. It’s palms were probably sweating and it was probably having trouble breathing.
Despair. I know my husband. That cat had better catch the mouse or it wasn’t coming out.
After a discreet moment, I peered in to determine whether the cat had hung himself with his shoelaces or slit its wrists with its sharp claws.
“Meow.” Desperation dripped like drool from his mouth.
I looked at my husband. Nope, “meow” wasn’t cutting it. That cat was doomed.
Unless perhaps…I slipped in under the pretext of peeing. The cat eyed me hopefully. I looked for the mouse.
Rodent stared at me from behind the handsome new wastebasket. Having fought the enemy for years I had no mercy and removed his shield. The cat stared glassy eyed at the mouse then piteously at me. The mouse ran up the wall—literally—like an acrobat, he placed his left feet against the door jamb and his right feet against the other wall only a scant half inch away and raced up the corner.
Holy sugar plum fairies! How high could he get? Answer: halfway—at which point he fell…plop on the back of Sleeker—smack onto the back of the already traumatized cat. For a moment, he hung on like a bull rider at a rodeo. But Sleek’s horrified stiff legged hop sent him sprawling across the floor.
After this ignominious moment, the feline was almost catatonic. His eyes, the only thing that twitched on him, pendulated from side to side in a maniacal fashion.
Meanwhile, this shocking escapade convinced me. I accepted that the cat wasn’t catching the rodent but I knew my husband hadn’t. Apparently, I would have to catch the critter myself. I scooped up a jar from the kitchen. In and out quickly, I closed the bathroom door behind me. “Sorry, Cat, the mouse isn’t caught. You’ll have to suffer for a few more seconds.” (Optimistically, I choose seconds as the unit of time most appropriate for the task. Sadly, seconds failed to capture the enormity of the task I had set myself.)
Behind the toilet, in the shower, around the wastebasket, over my leg, the choices for frustrating me seemed endless. In fact, as minutes crept towards hour, I felt they were endless. But, eventually, Rodent rose to the occasion and making a dash for it, simply ran right up the bathroom door. I failed to see that this was going to get him anywhere and gleefully neared my prey.
Launch—that’s right—launch. The critter launched himself off the door and down, down down the neck of my sweater onto my flinching flesh.
Scrabbling, he swirled around and around like a marble in a wash-machine under my shirt. I’m afraid I shrieked. And, as the little dervish planned, I opened the door screaming for help. Unfortunately for him but much more unfortunately for me (at least in my opinion) my silk undershirt was tucked in so he couldn’t simply slip away. Around and around he went, then for a change raced part way up one arm then down the other.
“Quinn, help!” My teenager rushed over but when he discovered the problem began laughing so hard he couldn’t…or wouldn’t help. Husband, other sons, even the female visitor (who might be expected to sympathize, thank you very much) laughed and hollered rude suggestions.
Somehow the mouse escaped and somehow we were still in the bathroom. My son slammed the door still sniggering. The mouse and I stared at each other. I briefly contemplated joining my cat panting and looking for high places to tie my shoelaces but eventually, at least five minutes later, with a clever sideways swoop managed to catch the whirling dervish unaware and thrust him into the jar.
I exited triumphant with my prey on display.
My husband, now finally willing to be helpful, offered his handkerchief as a lid. I photographed the felon then marched him down to the meadow. As I tipped him over, (I swear on my mother’s blue eyes that this is not hyperbole), he somehow grabbed the kerchief and parachuted down, down down onto the grass into the night. I heard a rustle of tiny leaves and then he vanished leaving his parachute spread on the hillside.
Could he have been Super Mouse?
…Last night, I think Silver and I met his grandson. I came into the bathroom and found Silver displaying his hunting prowess by chasing a small rodent around the now much less handsome, much older wastebasket. I quickly closed the door to prevent the little creature infesting the rest of my house. In that second, the small one disappeared. Both Silver and I hunted high and low. At last I spotted him, perched triumphantly atop our scepter, the toilet plunger. I picked up the plunger and arranged it on top the toilet. Went back, got my camera (carefully closing the door each time) and photographed Sir Edmund Hillary Mouse atop his Mount Everest gazing proudly down at the mighty mountain he had just climbed. Then, in memory of his heroic grandfather, and the many laughs our family had had because of him, I gently extended the scepter out the window towards the bush beneath and let the little guy escape.
Silver whipped his tail in displeasure and should cats ever have opposable thumbs, I suspect my Caesar will throw me into the Colosseum and turn his downwards to indicate my fate for such treason.