Monday, November 06, 2006

Of Mice and (Wo)men

So there I was, sitting on the deck on one of those perfect, sunny fall afternoons, knitting when I should have been writing, when Squeaky the still-somewhat-feral cat paid me a call. Unfortunately, Squeaky didn't come alone. She had a mouse with her. I was so freaked out, I couldn't tell whether the mouse that was dangling out of both sides of her mouth was dead or alive. All I knew was that I wanted it gone ... PRONTO!

Good sense prevailed. Rather than scream and scare Squeaky and her trophy mouse away, I encouraged her to come closer, thinking maybe she'd drop her her little gray companion at my feet. And miracle of miracles, that's exactly what she did. The mouse just laid there, limp as the dishcloth I'd been knitting, while Squeaky sat on her haunches and squinted proudly up at me. I praised her, wondering all the while how I was going to get rid of the mouse, when the mouse solved the problem for me. Up it jumped and off it ran.

It's hard to say who was more surprised - me or Squeaky. I started and almost dropped my knitting while Squeaky started running after the mouse. But once it got off the deck, the mouse had size on its side. It ran under the fence gate and into the wooded area behind the house, leaving Squeaky yowling in frustration and and me smiling a very relieved smile.

Which makes me wonder: What do you do with your pets' "special" gifts?


Blogger georg said...

The current cats are all indoor only.

How they managed to snag a sparrow, I don't know. But we buried it in the backyard.

7:29 PM  
Blogger loribird said...

When I was a kid, our cats used to leave "presents" for my mom on the driveway next to the driver's side car door. Lizards, mice, moles, and sometimes particularly feisty "helicopter" seed pods they'd been chasing...
One of the first places I lived on my own was a house that had been vacant for some years. There was evidence of a mouse living there, but my food was never bothered, so I didn't worry about it. I came home one night to find my cat playing with something in the kitchen corner; it was a little grey field mouse, comatose with fear, though still alive and unhurt. It was a cold winter, and I thought it would be unfair to save him from the cat only to throw him out to freeze, so I put him in a shoebox loosely wrapped in a washcloth, with a cap of water, some cheese, and a cracker. In the morning, I opened the box and found a very happy and friendly mouse! He took up residence under the sink, and since he brought his own food from outdoors I didn't have the heart to trap him. I named him Crumb, and he would sometimes come out to "visit" when I was alone and the cat was sleeping or outside - he would eat from my hand and tolerate being petted. In the spring, he left. True story, and very strange, to have both a pet cat and mouse at the same time!

8:13 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

We share our lives with three parrots (one is 32; one is 19; one is 12) and it took awhile for us to accept the fact that when a parrot truly loves you and has accepted you into their flock the parrot regurgitates its food and presents it to you. What they're doing, obviously, is trying to feed you the same way they'd feed a nestling and it's the highest compliment a parrot can pay to its person. It takes awhile to adjust to it and accept the "love token" in the same spirit in which it's presented. (No recoiling in horror or running to get a paper towel. You have to stay calm and serene and appropriately honored.)

It's not half as gross as what you're imagining, just some seeds etc., but still an exercise in learning how to communicate with animals.

8:28 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Our cats are indoor cats as well. Once a bird got in the house and Chubby's response was to dive under the couch. Later, after Zoe moved in we got a cute chipmunk in the house....between the fridge and dishwasher. Zoe thought it was a friend to play with and made no attempt to catch it. (After all, the other cat won't play with him!) *sigh*

We had to call animal control to get rid of the chipmunk as I couldn't stand the thought of killing it. They came and caught it in a net and released it at the park 6 blocks away.

Big *tough* cats at our house.....


9:55 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Ah, yes, those special presents...Fran, I have to admire the spunk of the ones like your mouse that recognize the opportunity and make their escape.

The current dogs have a designated area near the barn for 'gifts' and 'treasures'. (It takes a while to train newcomers, so any gifts appearing on the doormat take a shovel ride to the designated area.) Fortunately we keep collie types, which tend to be pleasers. They try to cooperate with our strange and inexplicable demands.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Patty said...

We have an old farm cat. He was a hunter long before he came to live with us. His favorite meals were chipmunks. He rarely left anything behind. He honored his catch by eating it. However, once, he caught a grey squirrel. He brought it into our courtyard and layed it out. Then he spent the remainder of his day proudly lounging next to his kill, just like a lion in the wild. In the end, we threw the squirrel into the woods. Obviously, the cat was proud but didn't have the taste for squirrel.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Our gifts came in two forms: body parts strewn around the den which we removed with much scrunching up of our noses, and live escapees which we attempted to nurse and/or raise, depending on their age and injuries. Some survived and were set free and some sadly were buried under the front shrubbery.

4:23 PM  

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