14 October 2011

Predators in the House

Years ago when one of our cats brought a dead mouse up to us from the basement, we were a bit put off, but we knew enough to tell her she was a good girl. The next few times, when she brought up mice that were still very much alive and set them free in our bedrooms, we weren’t quite as welcoming.

Now we have two young male cats that never leave a mouse alive. Not only that, they exhibit carnage, the likes of which I’ve never seen nor imagined seeing in my own home.

I want to spare you the details. But then, that would defeat the purpose of bringing it up, right?

Consider yourself warned.

Ok, remember we lock our two boy cats in the basement at night. Have no fear for there is furniture in the basement. And carpet. And heat. They love it down there. There is much to do, much to explore, and… of course there are the mice. Understand, we don’t lock them up for THEIR benefit. We lock them up because they are terrorists that love nothing more than sprinting across our faces in the middle of the night, wrestling across our bodies, and then meowing loudly and pushing things off our dressers when they get bored or hungry.

We need our sleep.

So, the boys sleep in the basement.

One morning last fall, upon letting them out of the basement, I found a mouse they had killed and it grieved me, as it always does. But this time the mouse was covered in cat saliva and its face was gone. I’m sure they had played with it until it was dead, but what about that face? Did they just gnaw on it, or were they hungry? NO – they are well fed. Either way, it was hideous.

Many other times, there is no apparent damage to the mouse.

One time, a couple of months ago, I found half a mouse. I searched and searched for the other half, but I can only assume they ate it.

Two weeks ago, I found the Queen Mother of mouse carnage. I was actually running down the basement steps, heading for the treadmill, and as soon as I rounded the corner from the stairs, I saw it. I can’t even say now that I’m positive it was only one mouse. There was a head. And a back end with the tail still attached. Then there was a bunch of other bloody stuff that must have been the rest of the mouse. Or a second mouse. In pieces. There were actually blood stains on our dark blue carpet.

Until that day, I thought cleaning up the dog diarrhea from all over our kitchen four years ago, was the worst thing ever. Ok, that still wins, but this was a close second. After picking up all the ... parts, I scrubbed the carpet – in several different places. By the time I finished, I had killed much of my exercise hour, and I wasn’t much up for the treadmill anyway.

I went back upstairs to sit down for a few minutes, when one of the mouse-killers jumped into my lap, purring and affectionate. Later, I told my husband it freaks me out that these violent predators live in our house; that they can impose such destruction on another being, yet then climb into my lap like a baby and seem perfectly harmless.

My husband’s response? Be glad we’re bigger than they are.


Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

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