It always annoys me when people moan about cats catching mice and birds as if it’s a lifestyle choice the felines in question have deliberated over, a bit like deciding to introduce the whole family to naturism by serving Sunday lunch in the raw without prior announcement.
Cats are hard-wired to kill; asking them to stop would be like expecting Amy Winehouse to stay sober during a tour of a meths distillery.
The latest hunting trip for my two cats began after they received a Christmas stocking packed full of catnip-stuffed toys from the children. That catnip – a gateway drug if ever there was one.
It was reefer madness in our house over the festive period, the cats periodically returning to the catnip cache to inhale before slumping in front of the PS3 or hanging around by their food bowls with the munchies.
It was only a matter of time before their supply ran out, the catnip effect dimmed and the cats started to suffer withdrawal symptoms, forcing them to seek their illicit thrills elsewhere. Outside, small creatures shivered with dread, although not to the point where any of them relocated to an area where cats fear to tread (their outside toilet, for instance).
The stupidity of small creatures perfectly illustrates Charles Darwin’s theory about the survival of the fittest and proves conclusively that mice don’t have cable TV and therefore have very limited access to Tom and Jerry cartoons for some pointers.
Bored, disaffected and going cold catnip, the cats went hunting, having spent several hours fruitlessly attempting to breach the fish tank.
Half an hour later, the nimbler of the two cats (the one whose stomach doesn’t drag on the ground) returned with a mouse in his jaws and hurried off to what we grandly call ‘the office’, but what is in fact an ice-cold, ugly extension filled with tat, a dartboard, the computer and a carpet held together by candle wax spills and food stains.
He then promptly let it go, at which point it sought refuge behind the computer desk. The cats set up an all-night vigil, then got a bit bored with releasing their inner hunter after about 20 minutes and went to sleep, at which point the mouse escaped to the bathroom.
Initial plans to ‘let the cats finish the job’ were dismissed when the children bonded with the mouse as it watched them go to the toilet.
Yes they harbour all manner of vile diseases, yes they can bite if provoked, yes they leave their droppings everywhere, but the mouse didn’t seem to mind.
Now we have a humane mousetrap in order to lure our rodent lodger into a land of peanut butter, with extremely strict border control on the return journey. The creature is, of course, completely failing to grasp his freedom and is resolutely holed up in my contact lens box.
Just what I need: another member of the household that refuses to do as it’s told. I’ll keep you posted (unless the damn thing attacks, in which case my lackadaisical approach to keeping up to date with my Tetanus jabs may well, like the mouse, come back to bite me on the arse).