Of mice and man (and cat and woman).

I expect you’ve been wondering about Miss Hairy Mary Miyagi. If you haven’t then you should be ashamed of yourselves. I said last time I would write about something positive and so I am. My love for Hairy Mary is beyond measure and equalled only by my love for ‘the wife’, who doesn’t scratch as much but if anything leaves more of a mess around the house. Truly the love of a man for his cat is a wonderful thing and while I care not a jot about another man’s love for his cat my own seems nothing short of perfectly reasonable.

However, (that’s the positive bit suspended for a while) because little Hairy Mary is about as manageable as a handful of volcanic custard she does occasionally give us cause for concern. For a start she is highly emotionally manipulative and has become an expert at playing us off against each other. She will quite happily starve herself for a day knowing full well that ‘mummy’ will feed her twice as much when she gets back from work. She knows ‘the wife’ is an bottomless well of affection whereas I (she senses I am not a natural pet person) would prefer for her to earn my love, although I am prepared to admit this is wishful thinking.

And then, now, there are the mice. They turn up more often these days. Sometimes curled up behind a door; cold, limp and hopeless. Recently I found two bloated, rotting specimens that had thrown themselves, possibly willingly, into a plant pot full of rainwater. I can think of no reason why a mouse would contemplate suicide and it darkened my day mulling over the thought of them furiously treading water, hoping that whatever dark force lurked nearby would get distracted and slope off for bigger quarry. If it was Hairy Mary she might not have given up as quickly as they may have hoped. It must have been her.

This week a mouse has clearly thought it daft enough to breach the compound walls, or more likely Hairy Mary has invited it in, possibly with a handy leg up, and then without a trace of guilt turned round and accused it of trespassing on her turf. Being a karate kind of a cat Hairy Mary had taken her sweet old time. For a day or two we thought the mouse was actually preparing to take out a mortgage on the space behind our dining room bookshelf unit; it clearly wasn’t in any hurry to leave. But eventually it did, just after we had gone to bed and then Hairy Mary decided what exactly? That we should meet her new …….. I really don’t know what relationship they had so we’ll just stick to mouse. We should meet her new mouse.

Clearly Hairy Mary and the mouse were playing a game with each other but it didn’t seem abundantly obvious that they were playing the same game. Mary was playing a game called ‘I want to jump on you and tease you in a corner but not actually put you out of your misery just yet’ while the mouse was playing that playground favourite ‘my heart is beating faster than anything has ever beaten before and if I wasn’t frozen with fear I’d be shitting boulders, please let me go you enormous furry bitch’. It was at this point that I stepped up, or rather rolled out of bed, and heroically grabbed the ‘mouse box’ – that’s what it’s called, the box that now has a permanent place in our bedroom specifically for the capturing and removal of mice in as humane a way as I can muster while ‘the wife’ offers supportive advice.

So, with all the balletic flair of a half awake, 42 year old man in boxer shorts, twating around in the dark I boxed the bloody mouse and put my flip flops on and walked to the bottom of the garden in the middle of the night and gently offloaded it over a fence. It landed on the other side with a slightly worrying thump but I was still in my boxers, on the lawn, in the dark and so avoided any sort of fucking ceremony and bolted back in with an empty mouse box. From upstairs all seemed quiet for about 20 minutes until back came our little fluffy cat with another contender for the title, a very little mouse this time, who jumped like a ninja and ran at a very smart tempo indeed. But by now I was battle fit and repeated my process, only trying to make the fence drop a little less ‘intense’.

Isolated events are now a thing of the past. Last night, 24 hours later, we crept downstairs to investigate the possibility that Hairy Mary might have electrodes attached to her tail such was the fuss she was making as we silently prayed for sleep. Instead she was just lying in the floor, like a hirsute Playcat model, next to the corpse of yet another house proud town you-know-whats. There was something necrophilia-ey about it all. Something of the John Christie, the Ted Bundy or the Jeffrey Dahmer; something dark in that she was just laying there and gently stroking the forelock (well, almost) of her dead victim. They were almost spooning. It was picked up (my job again, it will now always be my job) with a bit of kitchen roll and tossed in the big mouse heaven that we call the wheelie bin. Amen etc.

I fear that Hairy Mary has turned a corner; that she is now an efficient, bordering on prolific, nocturnal hunter. A terrifying creature capable of almost unfeasible acts of dread including (hopefully exclusively) pulling a tiny, defenceless mouse through a cat flap and then nobbing about with it for hours on end. And she’ll be out again tonight, that’s a guarantee because she’s spent 13 of the last 12 hours curled up on our bed doing several times less that nothing. And what’s the positive thing? I still love her to bits, that’s what. But don’t tell, she’ll only use it to her advantage.

G B Hewitt. 29.05.2019

What was I thinking, why on earth would you care about our cat. Sorry for wasting your time.

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