I was sitting at the breakfast table typing, when I heard a ‘peep, peep, peep’ coming from the front door. It sounded like a baby bird fell from his nest and was squawking for help.
I kept on typing. I heard it again, “peep, peep”. I looked around, and didn’t see anything inside, but it was loud enough to be right at the front door. I looked around again. Both the door to the garage and the front door are pretty close together. There’s a little pet door in the garage door so Maverick, the black and white tabby cat, can go out and use the kitty litter or get some water. I didn’t see anything.
I kept on typing, and heard that chirp again. Okay, I thought, what’s going on? I looked at the garage door and there, on the garage side of the vinyl flap of the pet door, I could make out the blur of Maverick’s face. He was sitting in the garage, looking into the house with his face pressed up against the plastic. He looked funny. Just sitting there but not poking his head in the house, or pushing through and coming back in the room.
Then I heard it again, and this time I got up. And Maverick came in. Pushed through the door. With a mouse in his mouth!
I bend over to make sure I’m seeing what I think I’m seeing, and sure enough – it’s a mouse. Not a bird. A mouse. And he’s squeaking and chirping, alive as can be! Maverick is proud of his catch and I’m sure he’s going to want to set it down as a gift for me.
I use my man-brain and open the front door because I sure don’t want to chase a mouse around the kitchen, or watch it disappear under the sofa. Being a good cat, Maverick carrys the mouse outside and I close the door. Disaster averted! Whew!
Patty’s finishing up with her shower, and I tell her about what just happened and how lucky she was that she fortunately missed it all and how lucky she is to have me, Master of the Wild Kingdom here to protect her. She would have been screaming her head off.
Patty says, “Did you close the garage door? He’ll just come right back in”
I turn around, and there’s Maverick, sitting in the middle of the floor, smiling at me with the mouse in his mouth, proud as he can be.
Now I’m in trouble. I doubt I can coax Maverick back outside again. I walk calmly to the front door, open it then move around Maverick to see if I can shoo him that way. He heads into the kitchen, and drops the mouse!! And it’s definitely still alive!
It runs. But Maverick is faster. He paws at it and holds it down, gripping it again in his mouth. He then bit down just a little harder to disable the mouse a little more, but not actually kill it yet. The mouse squeaks hard, again and again, obviously screaming in pain. Then Maverick tosses it up in the air! He flicks his head up and the mouse flies back over his head. Maverick is playing with the mouse!
He grabs it in his mouth. He tosses it again. The mouse runs, but he’s twitching a lot and can’t really run very well. Maverick, bats at him, pounces on him, and pins him down with both paws. He grabs him in his mouth again. The mouse gets quiet. Maverick sits there for a minute, then drops it right between his front paws, and sits proudly for me to see how well he’s done.
Again, using my man-brain, and drawing from my Nature-Boy heritage, I grab a handful of paper towels. I mean, if I grab the mouse by the tail, and it breaks off, I lose. If I pick him up with bare hands, or a thin cloth, and the mouse bites me, I lose. But a wad of paper towels, that’s protection, uh huh.
I pick it up, it squeaks once, then just lays still. There is a little blood from on his head, but there is very little movement. Now, I have to make a decision that could affect the entire balance of nature in the Sugar Land area.
Do I acknowledge Maverick’s good hunting skills that help keep the rodent population low, or do I dispose of the mouse and tidy things up so there’s no more muss or fuss?
Being the compassionate being that I am, I walk outside. Maverick follows. I set the mouse down and let Maverick have his kill. I puff up my chest and proudly place my fists on my hips. Yes, I am the benevolent god of all hunters.
He pounces on it. It doesn’t move. He grabs it in his mouth and tosses it even higher in the air. Maverick flips around, pretending to lose sight of the mouse, then pounces on it again. There really isn’t any movement left in the mouse. Its probably……gone. Dead.
Maverick paws at it a couple more times, but there isn’t any more movement. He seems to lose interest. He draws his hind legs up under him, and sits, staring at his mouse which lays there, turned on its side, lifeless.
Again, I’m called on to make a critical decision. Do I let Maverick now eat his mouse and not just gross me out, but maybe even get a disease? Or do I dispose of the mouse myself?
I look at Maverick to see if we can come to an agreement. He still has that crazed killer look – eyes narrow, slobbering, breath strong and steady, body alert, prey laying at his feet.
Nope. No help from Maverick.
In the end, I use my man-brain again. I pick up the mouse using the paper towels, open the fence gate to the backyard and close it before Maverick can follow. I walk to the back of the property.
I fling the mouse over the fence into the open field where, in my mind, a hawk will swoop down, eat the mouse, and Maverick will never miss it. The wildlife gets fed. The house cat eats cat food, not a mouse. No trip to the vet with a rabid pet. Life is good.
I have a quick conversation with Maverick that he was so good to bring me a mouse and that he should continue to get mice that try to invade our home. He seems to get it, but, he is a cat, and …. I think…he may be a little bitter about this. He stares at me for the rest of the day. He’s plotting. He’s waiting for me to fall asleep. He’s not happy.
He’s watching me.