Friday, January 26, 2007

Détente in the House of Mouse

Check out, a blog by a friend of ours. She has some good, funny pieces on there.

Her latest is about some field mice that taunt her cats. That reminded me of some of our mouse adventures of yore.

Many years ago my wife and I rented a farm house. We're pretty big suckers for animals. (Ya' think? Maybe that has something to do with us having had four cats and a dog for a several years.) Anyway, we took in a couple a few no more than five of the begging farm cats that roamed the area.

Being an old farmhouse, the structure was not as tight as modern houses, and we were lucky it was impervious to possums, forget about mice. The cats, no doubt, kept the house relatively free of rodent scat while the mice kept the cats fit and entertained. When these events took place while we were asleep or gone, no problem.

However, when they caught mice in our midst, this was another story. Yes, I know about the balance of nature, the circle of life, and several other ecological clichés. I know the predator-prey thing is going on all around us every hour of every day.

I'm just too damn Disneyfied to watch the little mice's hearts beat in terror as our friends scoop them up in their fangs. Moreover, I have some little hang-ups about watching anything being disemboweled in our kitchen, mouse entrails on our living room carpet, etc. The dead pigeon that one cat brought home was quite enough, thank you. Ten years later it's still hard to forget Nighthawk straining her neck to carry its heavy, plump, juicy body across the barnyard, her plopping it down on the breezeway floor. I remember its wings splayed out like perfect charcoal-grey fallen-angel wings, the dripping stigmata on its breast. Yeechhh.

So at least once, when the cats were having their fun catching-and-releasing one particular victim before making the kill, I couldn't stop myself from intervening. I neither cared for the notion of the mouse (cuteness aside) relieving itself in our cupboards, nor in the cat's finding the critter later and leaving its gushy remains on the bedroom threshold for our bare feet to discover in the morning.

When one of the cats, between teasing releases, had the horrified thing in its teeth, I grabbed the cat ran to the door, threw it open and started yelling, "Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!" Finally, I put my finger in the cat's mouth, and against the force of all nature, pried his mouth open until finally the mouse leapt farther than I've ever seen something so small jump and rocketed off into the shrubs.

Crazy? Maybe. But our "marriage" to these half-tame, half-tiger lap-warmers is an open relationship. They pretend to be civilized and eat by-product-crunchy-O's. We pretend to respect all their hunting, scratching, licking, hairball-horking instincts. But really, we fawn over Mickey Mouse and Stuart Little, and they kill stuff. As long as each of us keeps our "improprieties" to ourselves, no one gets hurt … that we know of …


Lauren said...

I just cruised to your blog via a bloggingbaby link -

Great material!! My husband is also a stay at home Dad, so I love passing on links to him about other Dad's working in the trenches.

By the way, I love your post about Bill OReilly. That guy is a world class ass clown.

Hot(M)BC said...

hehehe Yes, we cats and humans have to put up wif each ofur's weirdnesses :)