Happy Friday Everyone! I have heard it said that cats bring us “gifts” not because they love us, but because they think we are just a bunch of big hair-less monkeys who are helpless at grooming AND hunting! Today’s chapter offers yet another (perhaps kinder) hypothesis on the matter. Have a wonderful weekend!
Chapter 13—Not Even a Mouse
After Lita went back to work, the house seemed so very quiet. That big yellowy-orange bus returned, and my girl was back at school. Grandma Brown wasn’t her usual chatty, knitting self. Truth be told, I was getting a little bored. Believe it or not, there is only so much napping a cat can do. I had long grown out of the need to explore tall cabinets and kitchen counter tops. It was too cold to really do any kind of exploring outside.
Our house seemed to be quieter than quiet. Grandma Brown went out one or two days a week. She called it her “Hen Club”. It seemed to lift her spirits a little, because after she came home she was right back to her chatty, tuna serving self! I was glad for her, but I was still feeling pretty bored and lonely. I know that it is considered bad manners for a cat to explore tables and counter-tops, but I was so bored that I had to do something. I am not sure what it is, but Grandma Brown was always able to figure out where I had been after she got home. On those days she downright refused to give me any tuna.
Before long, I decided to change my exploration to a different location: the root cellar. To my great surprise, I loved being in the cellar. It had all kinds of fascinating smells, all of which reminded me of my days when I used to explore the great outdoors all on my own. When I explored Grandma Brown’s root cellar, I could pretend I was back at Brown Grandma’s snoozing under the bracken of the grapes. The best part of this root cellar is that I never had to worry. It was a safe place free of roaming mean dogs. The root cellar soon became my secret spot.
I thought I was the only one who knew about this spot and that I shared it with no one. Perhaps I was quick to assume this just because I was the only pet in the house. I would soon learn, however, that assumptions are rarely safe to make. As luck would have it, there was a family of mice living in Grandma Brown’s root-cellar. Grandma Brown hated mice, and in times past I could remember Grandma Brown would set up mouse traps in her root cellar in the autumn. I guess this year she either forgot, or decided the mice would leave her alone this one time. Either way, I had mixed feelings about telling Grandma Brown what I had discovered.
After giving it much thought, I decided my best bet was to show Grandma Brown versus just trying to tell her. Sometimes people need to see things with their own eyes before they believe it. So, one afternoon shortly after Grandma Brown returned home from her Hen Club, I greeted her with a live mouse. I know humans seem to think that cats will bring home live mice or even birds as some kind of gift offering to their humans. This is not entirely true, often we bring these things home to alert our beloved humans so as to warn them of rising populations or even potential infestation.
Grandma Brown, as good as a cat communicator she was, thought I was trying to offer her a gift. I guess it was quite the picture. There was Grandma Brown with her coat and hat in her hands, staring at me with an open mouth and wide eyes while I sat ever so calmly at the top of the stairs with a live mouse dangling and squirming at the end of its tail. Grandma Brown let out a very high pitched scream, and the mouse let out a angry squeak, and there I sat purring loud as I could in the hopes of keeping everything calm.
Grandma Brown stopped screaming long enough say to me in a very stern voice, “Oscar you need to show me where you found that vermin—right now!! No—wait—give me that mouse straight away!” Now, when it comes to hunting mice I have always worked alone, so I wasn’t quite sure of how I could let this mouse go so that Grandma would catch it. Moreover, I was a little stunned by Grandma Brown’s behavior and stern words. At first I sat frozen, but then I opened my mouth and let the mouse run to the floor. That little mouse took no time to turn tail back to the root cellar. Grandma Brown nearly tripped on me as she chased the mouse down to the root cellar. The whole scene reminded me of the cartoons Lolly would sometimes watch on a Saturday morning. First, there was the high speed chase down the stairs. Then there was the pursuit to the root cellar. The tiny mouse would zig and zag around any obstacle while Grandma Brown would bound and leap over any obstacles she would encounter. Then, just before the root cellar door, there was stack of boxes. Grandma Brown and that mouse must have torn around those baskets at least ten times before the mouse finally hightailed it into the cellar.
Grandma Brown’s face was very red and she was panting like Bailey on a hot summer day. She slammed the door to the root cellar, and sealed up the little cat door she installed for me. Then she set her face to a very grim expression, and she marched upstairs. When I next saw Grandma Brown she was in the kitchen working feverishly to prepare some mouse traps. She used some kind of combination of peanut butter and tuna. I know that sounds kind of gross—but it smelled really good. I meowed my sentiment to Grandma Brown, but she was a little distracted and said absently, “no worries Oscar, there’ll be tuna enough left for you—now out of my way, here’s a good boy.”
Sadly, my days exploring root cellar came to an end—at least until Grandma Brown got the mice under control. By the time that happened the cold and snowy winter had gone, and exploring the outside became more intriguing.