Sunday, October 15, 2006

Classic Cat Blogging

Here's one from the past to fill the void in our hearts left by the failure of our local baseball team.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Game of Cat and Mouse is Not a Game to the Mouse

Unless we catch the mouse using a live-capture trap -- and I'll get on that soon or at least by tomorrow -- the mouse will die. Oliver will kill the mouse. He spent much of yesterday sitting in the lower study on the square in the rug that says Pasta Peaachallo Genova looking at the filing cabinet that the mouse is probably -- and, to Oliver, certainly -- using as a refuge.

Oliver is serious about this. He has sacrificed valuable sleeping time to sit on the rug looking at the filing cabinet. He is motivated. Suddenly the phrase "unblinking stare" comes to mind. He doesn't seem malevolent. He is very very intent and quite patient. I have only seen him that patient when he is sleeping, though perhaps "patient" is not quite the word in that instance. He works very hard at sleeping.

Now that he is on the case, he is vigilant. My word, Oliver, don't let me interrupt you.

We knew we had a mouse several days before he did. My wife pulled out the sliding cupboard in the lower study and found that something had gnawed through the plastic wrapper on the shortbread crust suitable for Frenchified fruitified delights and eaten a little of it. She immediately decided a rat had done so, but I argued that maybe it was a weird kind of crumbling and perhaps an associated expansion of gases....

I was in denial about the whole thing. But there was collateral evidence, the kind rodents leave. I preferred to think it was a tiny little mouse. I hoped it would eat and run, if indeed a mouse it was.

A mouse it is. (Or a rat. I prefer to think not.) Suddenly yesterday Oliver was sniffing at the cabinet and, digging in, positioning himself for the long haul. I was irrationally pleased at his new initiative. For in some ways a cat is like that useless child who lives in the basement and spends his free time on the Internet and doesn't even date, though you wonder what kind of woman would have him if he did date and you really aren't sure you want to find out.

A cat is like that, though more decorative and not given to playing music loud or smoking... Just what are you smoking down there, Mister!

When one of these underfoot residents of your home shows focus and purpose, you are naturally pleased. It's killing a mouse. At least, it's doing something.

All day yesterday I would wander down to check on the progress. I even brought Oliver a snack (dry cat food; field rations), so he could eat without relaxing his guard. He ate like a warrior, his head pointing ever toward the filing cabinet.

He was still there when he went to bed last night. This morning when we woke up he was in bed with us. This is as it should be. He needs his rest. Perhaps, yesterday was too intense. Balance in all things, you know. Indeed, I am writing this using my laptop sitting on the sofa in the living room with Popcorn pressed against my right leg and Oliver to her right, his side pressed against the bottom of her feet, This is unusual. Oliver is chronically afraid of Popcorn, and he never curls up so close, much less with actual touching.

Perhaps, the dynamic of the household has changed. Perhaps, Popcorn understands that for all the long hours of yesterday Oliver was on the job, ready to confront Nemesis wherever it arose, which in the case of yesterday was behind the cabinet in the lower study.

Maybe this is a World War I moment and Oliver has rotated himself out of the trenches. The sofa is Paris, and this a respite from the horror. Popcorn is his cher mam'zelle.

I have never felt safer. If not captured and executed, the mouse is at least contained. A line has been drawn in the study. I am sure that Oliver will be returning shortly to the rug in the study. With his eyes closed, he is making plans, fitting tactics to his larger strategy.

It is a simple fact determined by either map or compass that the lower study is oriented to the west to collect the warm afternoon sun.

Thus, I may report that, for now

all is quiet on the western front.

Update: Oliver has not resumed his post. Is he a deserter? More likely, after a good night's sleep wedged between my wife and myself, he simply forgot about the mouse. Or maybe he killed it and ate it in the dark of the night. There's no mouse in the live-catch trap. On the other hand, the live-catch trap is an unimpressive mechanism, so the absence of the mouse in the trap does not guarantee the absence of the mouse elsewhere. When the situation becomes definitive, it will be mentioned in dispatches.

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