My wife and I have between two and four cats.
Well, technically, we own two cats. We didn’t get extra cats until we moved from an apartment into a house and I kept seeing hungry strays in our backyard and I started giving them the leftovers that our two picky eaters wouldn’t eat.
This lead to having quite a few extra cats in the backyard and then there were some territorial disputes and now we only see two.
One of them is a big friendly long-haired cat with fangs who we call Ned, because for a while we mistook him for a neighbor’s cat named Ed, and eventually we realized that he was a different cat, so we started calling him Not Ed, and that got abbreviated. Ned seems to have decided that he is an official resident, to the point where HE now turns up his nose at leftovers and insists on fresh food.
But this is not about that, though I occasionally wonder at exactly what point I started spending actual money on charity cats.
This is about a mouse.
Specifically, I went out into our backyard this morning, filled the empty food bowls, and noticed that this particular cat had not come running. He was, instead, standing in the middle of the backyard, staring at a mouse that was doing its best to stand very still.
Occasionally, the mouse would made an effort to run away, get a few inches, and Ned would, without apparent malice, whack him with a paw, at which point the mouse would freeze up again.
Now, I’m quite fond of the idea of cats keeping mice from coming indoors, but Ned didn’t appear to have any intention to EAT his new toy, just play with it, and that seemed a bit cruel, so I went over to separate mouse from cat.
This didn’t go GREAT, because I could spook the mouse, and he would run a foot or two, and then Ned would whack him with a paw again. So really all I was accomplishing was making the mouse into a more entertaining toy.
I thought my job was done at the point where I managed to spook the mouse enough that he ran under a holly bush, but then Ned dove into the holly bush after the mouse and emerged with it in his mouth, which is when I decided that he was going to eat the thing after all and at least that was more merciful than playing with it until it died from sheer terror.
At this point my wife came into the backyard, asked what Ned was doing, and I told her that he’d been playing with a mouse but had apparently decided to eat it, and then we both looked at Ned.
Ned had dropped the mouse on the ground and was staring at it.
Eventually he poked it with a paw, and it jumped up and tried to run, at which point he whacked it with a paw.
This is when my wife got involved, and did a much better job of separating mouse from cat, and eventually got the mouse to run under the fence where Ned wouldn’t follow.
There were some modest hijinks in this, such as when the mouse decided that climbing her leg was a MUCH better escape plan than running across the backyard, but the end result was a safe (for the moment) mouse and a cat who was terribly upset about losing his new favorite toy and quite vocal in his assertion of that fact.
But the real take-away from this is, well, cats are jerks.