Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Diana The Huntress

I was awakened in the wee hours this morning by my cat batting something around on the bedroom floor. It's a fairly normal thing. Some mornings I wake up with her toys actually on me, and I think no wonder I had such a lousy night's sleep. But this morning, whatever she was batting was squeaking. She does not have squeaky toys for this very reason. Jingle balls, yes; squeaky toys, no. I do not want to wake up in the middle of the night thinking she's killing a mouse, and in any case, she can't carry the jingle balls up the stairs due to a lack of opposable thumbs.

I listened for a couple of minutes, hoping I wasn't hearing squeaking. I was. I remembered that I'd heard scritching up in the eaves a couple of weeks ago. Apprehensively, I sat up and turned on the light.

The cat's area of operations was at the center of the bedroom floor, a couple of feet from the end of my bed. She had a field mouse under her paw and she was looking at me like "What? It's a mouse, sworn enemy of the cat. I had no choice but to vanquish it."

A bunch of questions went racing through my mind all at once: Should I take it from her? What if she's still in predator mode and she gets pissed? What if it's still alive and runs away? What if it's dead and yucky? Why, oh, why didn't I marry like my parents wanted me to? It would be really handy to have a husband right now - after all what are they for if not handling little wildlife crises? All the while I sat on my bed, whimpering like a schoolgirl.

The cat's next actions ended my ruminations. She began crunching the little beastie's bones (which makes a very disconcerting noise, let me tell you) and swallowed the thing whole. Then she stood up, licked her chops, and went downstairs. Calm as you please, as if killing mice and eating them is an everyday thing for an indoor cat.

I got out of bed to examine the floor. Not a whisker, not a bit of fur, not a drop of blood. She'd killed and eaten the mouse with a grim efficiency. It was creepy.

I got back in bed, mentally debating whether or not I should bother trying to get any more sleep. Then I remembered: she'd been batting something around near my pillow earlier. I'd picked it up in a half-asleep state and chucked it to the foot of the bed. I distinctly remembered the feeling of wet fur.

I started ransacking my pillows, feeling rather ill, looking for mouse bits. Nothing. Then I very slowly picked up the comforter I had turned back when I sat up. There it was, with fur plastered down by cat spit, its pink felt ears looking perky and its blue felt eyes looking at me - mocking me, it seemed. A toy mouse. I picked it up and threw it on the floor. Then I got up and washed my hands, just because.

Oddly enough, my cat - who is on a prescription food because she has a delicate digestion - has shown no ill effects from her unusual midnight snack. Thank God. I can't think of anyone who'd be willing to elope with me before I'd have to clean up after that.

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