Honestly, I wasn’t looking for adventure on Sunday. I have a sore throat and only wanted to hang out under the covers. Sometimes, though, Life is fired at you point blank and all you can do is respond.
I am talking about the All-Day-Sunday Mouse-in-the-House Darn-that-Cat adventure, in which Ace of Kittens, a.k.a. “Mighty-Hunter-Who-You-Callin’-Tabby,” insisted on being let in the house just after I’d let him out by the dawn’s early light. Last night, I had seen him silhouetted by my neighbor’s security lamp, pouncing and missing, pouncing and missing something that I thought might be either a mouse or a frog. Since it’s a little early for frogs, my bets were on mouse, and indeed, as I got closer, he had a little fur-ball cornered and was about to dispatch of it.
I scooped Ace up and said, “You’ll be back to fight another day, Zorro.” Evidently he took me quite seriously because as soon as the sun started pinkening the sky, Ace had to go outside, and within 20 minutes, was scratching to get back in. I should have known we had an issue when I opened the door and he didn’t instantly dart inside chirping and whirring as he usually does (cats so rarely actually say “Meow”), but instead darted away for a moment and then dashed in past me and into the living room. Immediately I saw that he had gone back and finished what he’d started. There was the mouse, in my living room, and as Ace looked up to say, “Cool, huh? Who’s your hunter, who’s your hunter?” the mouse saw his or her opportunity and made a break for it.
I chased the mouse into my office, followed by Ace, who was followed by my older Dog Bob, who might be blind and deaf but is a terrier to the bitter end and knew in whatever terrier way they do that a mouse needed catching in his territory. The mouse, of course, had other plans and instantly went under my bookcases. So Ace and Bob staked out the bookcases and I went back to bed, where a perfectly rational CockerPoodle, CP, was still sleeping soundly over his cache of my socks that he had cadged from the laundry basket, an obsession that’s fodder for another story altogether.
I fell back asleep and when I woke up, I tossed all the boys out – CP, Ace and Bob – to play in the sunshine while I visited with my cousin Janet out in California over coffee. As we were a few minutes into our phone conversation, I whispered, “Janet, I have to go right now. The mouse in my house has come out and I have to capture him.” I grabbed a nearby towel, sneaked up on the mouse, tossed the towel in my best wildlife roundup fashion and was just getting ready to yell, “Crikey!” when the mouse slipped from the towel, jumped to the floor, landed on my foot and scurried quickly up my sock, where he dug in his little paws and held on for what must have been a very wild ride. I hopped around my living room, trying to dislodge the mouse, then worried that if I did, I’d step on him. So then I stood in the middle of my rug shaking my pant leg and my ankle in a very bizarre hiphop turn. And even as I was doing it, I was ROFLMAO at how completely idiotic I would have looked if anyone other than me and the mouse had been present.
Finally, I resumed jumping, which dislodged the mouse and sent him scurrying into the kitchen, where I imagine there is enough spilled cat kibble behind the chest of drawers that he could grow to a comfortable old age without ever even having to forage. So I let the animals in and called Janet back. We had resumed our conversation when the mouse decided to make a run for it, came out from behind the dresser and headed for the patio door. The cat sprang, Bob tried to spring, which isn’t easy since his back legs barely work, and CP sat on a pillow on the couch looking mildly interested, but determined to guard my blue sock, which he had nabbed as soon as I sat down to change clothes a few minutes earlier.
This time, I calmly finished my conversation with Janet and decided to let the animals help with the roundup. The mouse had run into my laundry room and with Bob on one side of the door and Ace on the other, I could tell Mr. Mouse was cornered. Casting about for an appropriate instrument of capture, I spied the orange plastic colander, ca. 1976, that I have moved with me for three decades in my meanders around the country. So I got on the other side of the door, Ace chased the mouse behind my spare packages of toilet paper, I quickly opened up a toilet paper “door” and threw down the colander upon the frantic mouse. A-HA! I could see his fur through the holes in the colander. Success!
Now I was in a pickle. I didn’t want to pick him up and I was afraid the cat would turn over the colander if I left it there. So, I put one foot on top of the colander and scooted it along the kitchen floor about three yards to the point where I could reach my flexible plastic cutting board. The poor mouse must have felt like a little tumbleweed under that colander. “Be cool, little Mousie,” I said soothingly. “I’m trying to help you…” I don’t think it made much difference.
I slipped the plastic under the colander, lifted it up in one swift move and, while Bob and Ace were converging on the spot where the mouse had been, I carried him over to the patio, ran him out to the fence and let him go. He looked up at me in great confusion for a minute, in a mousie version of Post Traumatic Consternation. I said, “You’re on your own now, Toots,” and scooped him over to a hole under the fence.
Last I saw he was headed east, back for exactly the same spot Ace found him last night, and Ace and Bob were running around the house, sniffing madly at all previously visited mouse haunts. CP, of course. was guarding socks.
Ooblah-di, ooblah-dah. Life goes on …