Tuesday, October 12, 2010
It's 8:20 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I woke up ten minutes earlier, trudged down to the laundry room and dumped some hoodies into the washer, and now I'm standing in the kitchenette, in a little bit of a sleepy daze, holding my bowl full of Cheerios and getting ready to shove the first spoonful into my mouth.
CAT. CHASING. SOMETHING. FAST!
All I see is Diego - furiously darting through the dining chairs, my husband's stacks of books and briefcase, my antique stool, over to the couch... I catch a glimpse of a baby mouse, diving under my mid-sized Peterboro magazine basket for safety. I didn't scream - I made that suck-in scared noise, remembered (thankfully) to set my cereal bowl down, ran over, and KICKED the basket. Scared mouse runs out, Diego chases it all over the apartment. For a second, I forget that my husband, who is deathly afraid of all little vermin, is still sound asleep in our bedroom... and that the door is wide open. I find Diego in our crowded/junk/treadmill room, where he is looking very annoyed and confused. "Where is he?" I asked. "Meee... meeeep" Diego answers. I'm assuming, at this point, that the mouse is hiding under some junk in the corner, or maybe underneath a bookshelf - because the cat is staring. and watching. in that direction. But then...
Diego lumbers over to the doorway... then across the hall.. and into our bedroom, where I watch in disbelief as he hops onto the foot of the bed and curls up by the lump of my husband's feet. WHAT THE _____?!? "I thought you were a MOUSER!" I quietly exclaim to him, careful not to wake up sleeping scared-of-vermin husband. I start shutting doors... trying to trap the critter into the room I think he's in. And then i run down the street to buy mousetraps. I've never set a mouse trap before... because Diego has always been a mouser! In the nearly five years that we've had him, he's killed two mice, the last one being about a year ago. And now... he's quitting on me? ON ME? I feed him, I clean his box, I buy him toys, I nap with him... and he's quitting on me.
My cat and my husband eventually woke up - and my husband and I suffered through a long morning of the most frustrating game of cat and mouse I've ever witnessed. After watching the mouse peek out, sneak around, and hide several times, I concluded that it must have been very young and very dumb - and verrry lost. I also concluded that my house cat is too fat, too slow, and too... stupid? Seriously - at one point, the mouse snuck right up to Diego's face - Diego, who was crouched down quietly and silently, threw a lazy punch and missed. I couldn't believe it. My cat no longer has a killer instinct - to him, it was all just a game.
We left the cat and mouse, and went to a football game. Four hours later we returned, hoping to find a dead mouse in the floor... but nothing. Just a sleepy cat, who hopped off the couch and streeeetched his legs, as if to say, "what's up, guys? How was the game?"
It's been three days and we've seen nothing of the mouse - so apparently, Diego at least scared it away. My husband and I were so disappointed in him at first, almost like we would be in a human child who brought home an F his report card. Or, a teenage son who just told us he accidentally knocked a girl up. It was disappointing, and Diego knew it, too. He pouted the remainder of the night, curling up and sleeping with a sad expression on his little face. I got to thinking...
It's a cat. What does he owe us? Nothing. We keep him inside, where he's safe from outside danger but has no fresh grass to walk in or open air to breathe . We spoil him rotten, but if anything, we owe him - because his company is the best company. He doesn't complain, I feel like he loves his human mom and dad, and he's always there with us. Rubbing up against our legs when we get home from work... curling up beside us when things are stressful... talking to us when we're excitedly talking about something, and he wants in on the conversation. If Diego had fun playing with his little mouse friend, then I hope his little mouse friend returns.
I doubt my husband feels the same!
And so, with that little "tale" coming to an end, I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite Tom & Jerry cartoons that I watched at least a hundred billion times when I was a kid: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse". Take a 7-minute break and enjoy being a kid again - you deserve it!