Have you ever had a moment when you are convinced you are dreaming even though you are awake? I had such a moment earlier this week.
I was watching a World Cup clash between Argentina and South Korea. Jasper, our big fat lazy black cat, had squeezed his massive bulk into his favourite box and was snoring like a wild lion.
I’ve never understood why cats are fascinated with cardboard and paper. I can entice Jasper onto my lap by putting newspaper across my legs. You can guarantee that he will climb aboard and start clawing the paper as he strives to get comfortable.
He is equally fascinated with boxes and will attempt to climb into any box no matter what size it is. His current favourite is a small box that is barely big enough to contain his big fat arse – here’s a photo of him in it:
And boy does this cat snore. On a couple of occasions, when I have been foolish enough to allow the cat into our bedroom, I have been woken up by the sound of a snoring leviathan. In my dreamy state I have shoved Mrs PM, thinking it was her, only to be punched in the arm, before realising that the noise is in fact emanating from a black lump at the end of the bed.
Anyway, back to the tale.
You now have a nice picture of the scene in my living room. I was alone in the house, watching the football with only my fat cat for company.
It was at this moment when I thought that I had transcended a peculiar plane into a crazy parallel universe.
I saw something in the corner of my eye that made me glimpse away from the screen towards the curtains. I shook my head in disbelief.
A mouse was climbing the up the cloth in full view of Jasper.
I had never seen a mouse climb before and the sight of the little creature hauling its tiny body up my curtain was almost surreal. Within a minute, it was on the window ledge, looking around as if it owned the place and was surveying its kingdom from the summit of its mighty throne.
I watched for almost a minute in total disbelief before deciding that I was going to save the mouse and return it to the wild. Thanks to Sky+ I can pause live TV, so I stopped the game to allow me to rescue the mouse.
I wondered how the creature had managed to get into the house and concluded that one of our cats must have kidnapped it and released it in the lounge. You may remember that this has happened before when Poppy, our other black cat, brought a live mouse into the house, took it upstairs and dropped it onto Mrs PM who was asleep in bed (read about it here – Killer Cats).
The poor creature must have been hiding somewhere waiting for the opportunity to escape from its feline captors, preferably with its life intact.
I sprung into action – and grabbed my camera and took a couple of snaps. Here they are:
The mouse, meanwhile, thought that it could leap through the window and hurl itself into the front garden. Sadly, the glass prevented it from doing so and it spent a couple of fruitless minutes hurling itself at the glass. I learned something else – mice can jump – and mice are stupid.
I was fascinated and watched the antics of the little beast as it explored its options. Eventually, it gave up and I learned something else; mice can get angry.
Having battered its tiny little nose against the glass for a couple of minutes, it howled in frustration. Thankfully, being a small creature, the howl was just a squeak and it continued to make noises, noises that were just loud enough to wake Jasper.
One minute Jasper was snoring, the next he was looking up at the window in the direction of the enraged rodent.
I had to act.
I grabbed Jasper and tried to haul him out of his beloved box. Sadly, he is so fat that he was totally wedged into the box and all I managed to do was lift up the box as well. After a few seconds wrestling with the cat, I managed to extract his bulk and carry him to the kitchen, where I unceremoniously dumped him outside through the cat flap.
He stared at me through the glass and I sensed he was saying:
“You bloody great oaf!! I was having a fabulous dream about food. How do you expect me to look after this house if you won’t let me have my pre-nap snooze? I need as many snoozes as I can during the day so that I have the energy for my main sleep in the evening. You utter git!”
I then had to decide how to catch the mouse – and hatched a plan.
In the kitchen I found a plastic sandwich box that was big enough to accommodate a rodent in ample comfort for the small trip I had planned for it. I would walk into the lounge, put the box over the mouse, slide the lid under the box and then carry the box out to the front door where I would release the mouse back into the wild. This plan had the added bonus that the cat would not be able to reacquire the mouse since we never allowed him out of the front door.
As I approached the lounge, I remembered that we had two cats and I didn’t know where the other one was. I peeped into the lounge and saw the mouse still considering its options on the window ledge. Poppy, our second cat, usually slept upstairs in one of the other two bedrooms, so I locked the mouse in the lounge and searched upstairs for Poppy. She was, as expected, asleep in the back bedroom. I carefully locked her in before returning to the lounge.
The mouse had gone.
“Oh crap!” I thought.
I put the sandwich box on the settee and began to check behind the curtains. There was no sign of the mouse.
Disappointed, I decided to continue watching the game. I picked up the camera and had a quick look at the photos I had taken, chuckling at my efforts, when the mouse reappeared.
This second encounter taught me that mice are very, very fast.
As I was looking at the camera, the mouse, which had now climbed down from the window ledge, shot across the room like a big furry bullet. The little creature ran straight towards me and across my bare feet, causing me to drop the camera and, at the same time, accidentally taking a picture of the ceiling and my shocked expression.
The mouse is responsible for this comedy photo:
I had left the lounge door open and the mouse zipped straight out the door, heading for the back room and the kitchen.
At that point, I heard a massive commotion with the sound of tiny claws scrambling on a wooden floor.
“Crikey,” I thought, “I didn’t think a mouse could make that much noise.”
That’s when it dawned on me. It wasn’t the mouse that made the noise at all.
Jasper had returned and was waiting for the mouse as it escaped from the lounge.
“No!” I screamed as the cat ran towards the back door. I was determined to rescue the mouse so I pursued the cat through the kitchen. Jasper burst through the cat flap and sat outside with the mouse in his mouth. I didn’t realise that my fat cat could be so fast.
Sadly, the back door was locked and the key wasn’t around so all I could do was watch as the cat dropped the mouse and started playing with it. The mouse lay still.
It was over. Here's my murderous moggy with the poor ex-mouse:
I had failed.
My fat killer cat had struck again.
Eventually, bored because the dead mouse wasn’t playing any more, Jasper crept back in and crowbarred his mass into the box for his second pre-nap snooze, oblivious to the trauma caused by my failed attempt to rescue the mouse.
I found the key and carefully picked up the dead mouse by its tail with some kitchen towel. I found a little spot for it in the back garden and buried it, saying a little prayer for the little creature whose life had been cut short so violently by my mad moggy.
As wonderful as cats are, the episode reminded me once more that our two loveable little pets are in fact monstrous killers. One minute a cat can be sitting on your knee, purring and being cute, and the next it can be prowling the undergrowth looking for a creature to kill.
Still, at least the mouse is immortalised on this blog and, thanks to you dear reader, his memory will live on for a while at least - and of course it gives you a chance to see another photo of my ugly mug.