There are often many strange things to see here at the hovel. I would, however, contend that what I witnessed today is, by far, the strangest thing I’ve seen here to date.
I should begin by saying that a few weeks ago I saw what I thought was a shadow under the baseboard in the kitchen. After seeing this shadow several times over the course of the next few days I began to think that, perhaps, it was some kind of critter — probably a mouse. It was, I reasoned, either that or a very small ghost. My money was on the mouse.
Last week my daughter awoke me at the ungodly hour of 6:00 AM to alert me that The Great Fanganini had killed a mouse in her room. She was also carrying on about how cute “it” was — “it” being the dead mouse, the proud cat, and the tableu that they formed. My daughter, God bless her, is quite the animal lover.
I immediately awakened Fang to deal with its removal. He reported that The Great Fanganini was just laying aside of the thing in Cleopatra-like fashion. Fang, too, agreed that “it” was very cute. I asked Fang whether or not there was any blood and guts— evidence of mouse murder — or whether the mouse had simply perished as a result of fright — because I really could not imagine for a minute that my cat had the capacity for the blood lust associated with killing anything. Fang agreed that it was far more likely that the mouse had been a victim of a little mouse heart attack than a victim of The Great Fanganini. Fang also commented that the cat seemed to be protecting the mouse, rather than proudly demonstrating his feline ferocity.
That didn’t surprise me. In the past, The Great Fanganini’s response to vermin has been to run like the wind in the face of these tiny invaders. The cat, in other words, is useless at the one thing he should be able to be relied upon for having the basic instinct to do — killing mice. Running like a bat out of hell is more his style than biting their heads off.
I was satisfied that our mouse problem had been eradicated. I hadn’t seen any shadows nor was there any evidence of a mouse invasion — no droppings, no chewed up boxes, etc. Until last night, that is. Last night, as I was cooking dinner I not only saw a shadow, I saw an actual mouse. Of course I did what most people do when they find themselves in this situation, I screamed. Bloody murder. I flipped the hell out. And, I got my husband. Because, what good are husbands — or cats, for that matter — if they can’t carry out the simple task of killing mice?
Don’t even get me started on the fact that my husband has as much difficulty killing anything as the cat does. I could regale you with the story about the bee that buzzed around my bedroom light fixtures for HOURS one evening. The giant bee that finally died of asphyxiation in my underwear drawer because my husband couldn’t kill it. Somehow he was able to trap it in the drawer though. It eventually met its end, but I was reduced to working out of the laundry basket for clean skivvies until I stopped hearing the buzzing noise in the drawer. Okay, well, now I’ve told you THAT story, too.
After seeing the mouse, after screaming like a little girl (I would have jumped up on a chair, like a stereotypical woman, if one had been handy), amidst my mini-nervous breakdown, Fang did think it wise to mosey on into the kitchen, ya know, to see what might be amiss. I was, after all, only making flatbread pizza — not a task that one normally associates with a good, old-fashioned case of hysterics.
The lovely and ever-curious Fangette, not one to miss out on anything resembling excitement, followed on his heels. When the two of them put two and two together and realized that it spelled M-O-U-S-E, they reacted with their normal aplomb. They, unlike me, decided to take a more reasonable approach to the problem. They decided to ignore my recommendation for ridding our home of the nasty creature, which was to beat it over the head with a broom. They decided to take a more humanitarian approach. To that end they constructed a makeshift trap out of plastic cups.
It was at this point that I grabbed the pizzas out of the oven, threw them on a plate, and held an impromptu meeting of the construction committee. I felt the need to point out to them that while I was appreciative of their efforts, I was fairly certain that any mouse worth his or her salt could push aside a plastic tumbler. As if to prove my point or to toy with me, I’m not sure which — I actually heard the mouse moving the plastic tumbler while I was in the middle of having this discussion with my construction managers.
They jerry-rigged the trap and assured me that it was safe to go into the kitchen. I didn’t believe them for a minute and headed for the relative security of my bedroom. I was finished fooling with pea-brained creatures and with mice.
I’m sure you are asking yourselves where The Great Fanganini was throughout this ordeal. So was I. I discovered him cowering under my daughter’s bed, doing what he does best in these situations, being useless.
When I awoke this morning, I realized that I was going to have to go into the cabinet underneath the sink — the cabinet where The Great Fanganini’s food is housed (in a plastic container) — the cabinet where our little friend would have been forced to while away his evening if the traps that Fang and Fangette had constructed had, indeed, worked. I had visions of being met by a mouse eagerly awaiting his chance to escape. The cat had to eat, though, and there was no one else home to assist me. So, I soldiered on. I conquered my fear and opened up the cabinet door, grabbed the food, and slammed the door shut — I estimate that I did this in under one second flat.
I fed and watered the cat. I decided to leave well enough alone and not tempt fate by making another foray into the cabinet — The Great Fanganini’s food could just remain on the counter until I could procure some type of commercially available mouse traps. I’m brave, but I’m not that brave.
As I was making my morning coffee and The Great Fanganini was enjoying his breakfast, I heard a scraping sound. It sounded a lot like the sound a plastic cup would make if it was being moved across kitchen tile. As I turned around to investigate, I saw what I hope will be the strangest thing I ever have to witness here at the hovel or, for that matter, anywhere else. I saw the mouse AND the cat both eating out of the cat’s bowl. Apparently, they’re buddies.
Among the many regrets I have in life, the one thing that I will never forgive myself for is not being fast enough to get a picture of that scene. When I went to reach for my phone, I realized that I had left it in my bedroom. By the time I was able to retrieve it — I needed a few seconds to recover from the shock of what I was witnessing — both the mouse and the cat had retreated to their separate corners.
To recap, I still have a mouse somewhere in my house. My cat is not only useless, but also lacks the basic instincts normally associated with felines. And, to top it all off, I missed out on my opportunity to become an internet sensation. I think a picture of a 25 lb. cat sharing his food with a teeny, tiny mouse would have been priceless, don’t you?