My little pussycat is Mitsy, inherited from Dan the Computer Man. She’s been with me since 2008 and was with Dan for about a year before that so that makes her four years old. She’s lovely and there is one impending problem: what to do with her when I go to live abroad. Let me know if, after reading the following, you would still want to offer her a home? Am in two minds about chipping her, getting her a passport and taking her to the tax-free tropics with me. You can see she’s a beauty, can’t you?
Mitsy’s timid. And also very sociable, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. When visitors come, she will rise from her favourite sleeping place on my bed and come to the living room, nosily, to find out who’s arrived and who can be persuaded to stroke her. She will hop up onto the sofa and befriend anyone with a pulse, and manages to convince each visitor in turn that – as Sir Bruce would say – “you’re my favourite” and happily for M they all buy it. She’s ace at making you think she has a Special Relationship with you. It’s all about her own comfort. Food and cuddles. Oh for such a simple life. As has been said before, cats are Zen Masters.
I mention that she’s timid in that she is the weakest link in the garden hierarchy chez nous. Despite the fact that it is our garden, mine and Mitsy’s, there are plenty of feline visitors and vulpine too (foxes). Mitsy’s afraid of all of them and whizzes back in through the cat flap at a clip, often with a predator hot on her heels. There’s yowling and carryings-on, sometimes a battle royal of claws through the flap itself, though blissfully these are rare and usually I can sort them out with a headmistressy clap of my hands. Sends the little predators scarpering pronto, that posse including Bad Cat, Blackie, Splodgy et al.
And yet, of course, she’s still a Big Cat at heart. A hunter. My Big Brave Girl. And so she clearly feels compelled to bring me nocturnal gifts. Mice and moths generally. Sometimes an elderly bit of pitta bread. Goodness only knows where that unlimited supply of pitta bread comes from; all I know are the soggy bits on my hall floor.
Whatever Mitsy’s trophies are, I know she’s got one the minute she arrives through the flap as this is normally a silent activity. When accompanied by a “kill”, its all noise and excitement. Usually both the mice and the moths are alive and the first thing she does with them is lets them go! Doh. Big Brave Girl, my a**e!
The first time this happened a mouse was let go in my bedroom and took cover under the bed. Somewhat disconcerted I took the bedroom apart, found the little blighter, lobbed him out the bedroom window and decamped to the sofabed for the remainder of the night. Such was the destruction in the bedroom the next day that I had to get a friend round to help me move the furniture back.
Since then I’ve been braver. I just let the little mice hide where they will – until they die. Dehydration, stress exhaustion, lack of food and so on usually does for them in a couple of days. Or I find them in the flower vase on my bedsite table on waking (eek!), up the curtains or up my clothes in my wardrobe. Mice are good climbers it seems. I always know where they are as Mitsy keeps a vigil staring at where she saw them last. I flush the dead ones and lob those with any breath left in their bodies out the window for her to bring back in another day.
It’s my disposal of the critters which confuses Mitsy. She often doesnt see that bit as I’m quick. So she keeps up her vigil, often for days after I’ve dispatched her prey. Poor sausage. She has several sleepless nights, lying in wait. Last night she let a mouse go in my office so I shut the bedroom door and left her and the little mousey outside in the living room to fight it out between them. Today my cleaner is here and I asked her if she had seen a mouse under the chair in the living room and she replied that she had seen it escape out through the French windows. RE-SULT! This means I can relax but I fear Mitsy’s in for another sleepless night, confused about where she’s lost her prey. Even as I write, she’s peering round the office door and under the chair, still looking for the one who got away earlier. Sad really.
I feel like that lady in Tom & Jerry, you know the one you only see from the knees down, in her apron? She looks like a bit of a battleaxe and she does wield a broom with some brio as she energetically sets about shoo-ing away Tom & Jerry. I model that attitude with the creatures that Mitsy brings in but since I’m a true cat lover in my soul, Mitsy Moo herself can do no wrong and is loved unconditionally, moths, mice and pitta bread notwithstanding.