Sunday, May 25, 2008

A worrying development

Miff, whose appalling lack of predatory instinct has led to widespread internet shame, as a result of the shocking mouse saga, was discovered today looking excited in the aquarium cupboard.

Sniff, sniff, sniff, went Miff, tail-a-quiver. I went to investigate, and found, after clearing out a pile of plastic bags to be recycled, a small heap of dessicated mouse poo.

Mice are incontinent, one of the reasons you should never be sentimental about sharing your food-preparation area with them. Fresh mouse droppings look like miniature grains of shiny black rice, and are usually accompanied by the pungent smell of mouse wee, which has an acrid aroma that once smelled, is never forgotten. Today's find was crumbling and pale brown in colour, with no smell at all. So I assumed it was old, and a relic of the defiant super-vermin that plagued this house earlier. After the Kitchens Direct endless saga, my living space has been gutted and cleared and I am still clearing up the plaster dust. There are very few places left now for a mouse to hide. Maybe this is a blast from the past; the final calling card of the legendary now-deceased super-rodent. Or perhaps, more worryingly, it is a descendant of his, returned to plague us once more and unleash havoc on our household, so recently restored to relative calm and tranquility.

I brushed, wiped, disinfected and bleached, and removed the plastic bags. I wondered whether I should reset the traps, or whether Fate had presented the indolent Miff with an opportunity to redeem herself. After all, last week she had presented me with a chewed spider that she had caught in the garden, and perhaps this was a sign that she was keen to prove herself as a hunter?

It is more likely though that, coward that she is, she was merely show-boating at the smell of old mouse, much as she used to do when the last mouse - the ex-mouse- was safely tucked away in his hole in the wall leading into the neighbour's sitting room. When the mouse actually appeared and helped himself from her bowl, regular readers will remember, she ran away and hid. Like the big pathetic coward that she is.

It will take more than chewing up the odd arachnid to redeem her shattered reputation.

Stand by to find out whether this is redemption, rehabilitation, or re-run.

There is much to be said for confronting your demons, but it is whether you stand and fight 'til the end, or run away when face to face with your enemy that is the mark of a warrior. Or a mouser.
Or a big soft pussy.



Blogger Old Fogey said...

Whose demon are we talking about here? Yours or your rotten mouser's I lived for many years in a Victorian estate in Forest Gate, East London. The houses (terraced, large and lovely but decrepit) were built by the railway company in the 1880s. They were built in blocks of ten all on the same foundations. So if mice got in one house, they had the free run of all ten. Years of putting down traps and collecting the daily harvest of the dead merely conferred on me the role of executioner for the whole block. That's when I got the message. Mice aren't personal. They are a pest to whom we give no quarter. If you want your cat to be a mouser, cut down on the Kit-e-Kat for a few days. That'll give it the edge.

May 25, 2008 11:01 pm  
Blogger Deborah said...

Hurrah - I love your cat and mouse posts! And I've just got my own kitten now, who I feel *wants* to be a hunter, but is slightly inept. She killed her first fly the other day, but only after stalking it for EIGHT HOURS, including several attempts to catch it which resulted in her falling off whatever she was standing on :)

May 25, 2008 11:52 pm  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Our (late, lamented) cat was a terrific mouser although he got into terrible trouble with my in-laws when we moved up here. We stayed with them for a couple of months while we found a house and Charlie started hunting in their garden. Obviously one of his little friends whom he brought into the house escaped as when the washing machine blew up and my FiL opened it up he found lots of mouse 'evidence' on the computer chips that made it work. End of expensive washing machine and beginning of a grudge against Charlie that last best part of ten years....

May 26, 2008 9:57 am  
Blogger pierre l said...

I hereby joint an informal petition to reject the suggestion that Miff should have reduced food rations in order to encourage her to hunt. And, like deborah, I really enjoy your Miff stories (this is not meant to imply that I don't like your other posts, of course).

May 26, 2008 10:42 am  
Blogger pierre l said...

Hello again Rachel. I have gone off my earlier comment: I would never suggest that you might consider depriving Miff of food (unless ordered to do so by the vet). I hope I haven't caused offence.

May 26, 2008 11:22 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Oh Gosh, Pierre L - no offence at all!

J has suggested the same thing.

Thing is, Miff, who is too fat (and always will be since she was a rescue cat, and had the op as soon as she was found, which was just after she's given birth to 2 dead kittens as a very young mother) is still on her diet.

But if her rations are reduced too much she just goes round and cries to the neighbours, or worse tries to attack baby birds and doesn't finish them off properly so I have to take over which is awful.

She goes demented if she is not fed, jumping on my head in the morning and purring in my ear.

She's on wet food not biscuits as biscuits seem to make her enormous and she can't stop eating them compulsively like Pac-man. She has lost over a pound but there's more to go.

May 26, 2008 11:45 am  
Blogger Vanessa said...

You can get biscuits/kibble for 'larger' cats - might be worth trying for her!

You're lucky in some ways - I have an enormous 8 stone dog who's a picky eater and who we've spend a year trying to feed up as she came from her previous home a little on the skinny side. Just because she's wolfed something down one day doesn't mean she'll touch it the next! Our last dog was a Labrador and the complete opposite in that he would eat anything: diaries, leather gloves, shoes...

May 27, 2008 9:26 am  
Blogger Cookiemouse said...

Living in Amsterdam you see mice everywhere. They even run under my table in the Uni library! I once slept in a bed where I could here them running underneath all night. Then we got Shiva, a black tomcat, and the mice moved out.

May 27, 2008 10:26 am  
Blogger Clare Sudbery said...

Um... you do know tthat mice live in families and it was never likely that you had only one mouse? In my experience, first the parents are killed and then the babies come out and start foraging on their own. Also in my experience, most mice are capable of successfully springing traps and taking the bait without actually getting caught: The only surefire way of killing them is poison, and even that only seems to keep them at bay.

In the end we bought two new cats, which are supposed to act as deerrents. since we got the cats, no mice. Until the other day, when one of the cats caught a mouse and killed it (hurray for the cat!). Still, since having cas we've got lax about locking all food away, and after reading that article about toxoplasmosis in Manchester mice... given that I'm pregnant and live in Manchester... I'm thinking we might need to get a bit anal about hygiene for a while.

May 27, 2008 4:45 pm  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Hope Miff's feeling tougher today and that she's feeling more combative and ready to deal firmly with the vermin! As you say, standing and fighting is the mark of a true mouser and I'm sure that she will battle her demons fearlessly until they are defeated.

May 28, 2008 8:53 am  
Blogger ringverse said...

But some cats just can't 'mouse', they can chase as many cat toys as you throw at them, but it's all bluff when they meet a live one...

May 28, 2008 1:02 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Poor old Miffler. She's never going to be a mouser and I love her anyway. She has other talents, including
a) waking me up - whether I need to get up or not
b) Purring me to sleep
c) Cheering me up
d) Making me laugh

May 28, 2008 10:04 pm  
Blogger Kris said...

We love you, Miff!

Your friends Biddy & Seamus of Stoke Newington

May 29, 2008 9:52 pm  
Blogger Louise Mills said...

Maybe your cat is a revolutionary cat and is on the side of the Poor Oppressed Mouse. A cat with a social conscience. Bella was a rubbish mouser too.

June 06, 2008 8:29 am  

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