Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cat and mouse

It's mice season. And no one can sleep. Even me, and I live on the 25th floor. Because I can still remember when I didn't...

This morning, I was in the middle fo reading Sarah Dessen's blog about mice today when my friend Fraidy Freida called to tell me she's freaking out. Last night, her cat was making a racket in the middle of the night, running around, knocking things over. And she couldn't sleep. She kept telling Noisy McKitty to keep it down but he wouldn't. Finally, she threw on the light and looked at the cat, who had trapped something under a pillow on the floor. When my friend lifted the pillow up, she screamed. There was a mouse. She didn't know what to do, so she grabbed a bucket (who has a bucket in their bedroom?) and put it over the mouse. She asked me, "How did it just die under the pillow, though?"
Me: "He wasn't dead. He probably just had stage fright."

Which freaked her out even more to know that she put an alive mouse outside.
She: So it's going to come back?
Me: Probably.

Then she told me that Noisy McKitty is staring at the space under the stove.

She: How long is he going to do this?
Me: (wondering when I became the cat and mouse expert) Until another mouse comes out probably. Cats are very patient. It could be days.

I know. Flash back to 2003. I lived on the main floor of an old house, but for some reason, there were mice in the ceiling. Mr. Baz discovered this one day, and for a few weeks straight in the summer of 2003, he sat on top of the fridge, staring at the ceiling, waiting for a mouse to fall from the sky. He was so preoccupied with his mission he didn't even want to eat and he wasn't drinking so that when he'd cry for the mouse to come out, it was more like a squeaky door opening. Finally I had to move his dishes up to the top of the fridge, just to make sure he kept his strength up. I'm not sure if he eventually caught a mouse or gave up, but later that summer he realized that going outside at night to catch the mice was a much more productive venture.

Day and night, he'd come and go, in and out of the house whenever he liked. When he wanted to come in, he'd jump up on the ledge of the window in the living room and stare me down until I went to the front door to let him in. And if it got too late, and I was in bed, he'd go around to the back of the house, climb up on the second storey window and look in at me sleeping, crying, until I let him in. Until one day he decided enough was enough. He was tired of waiting for me to let him in and out. So instead, he decided to gnaw a hole through the screen in the front window so he could let himself in and out. I was sure my landlord would be furious, but when I told him, he didn't care, so I decided if he wasn't upset then there was no reason for me to get upset with Mr. Baz either. In fact, the new system seemed to work out much better as I never had to call Mr. Baz in and didn't have to keep running back and forth to the door to let him in and out.

It even came in handy for other things. Like the day I left my coat at work because it was so warm out that I didn't want to wear or carry it home. Except, my keys were in my coat. And once I got home and realized this, I couldn't go back to work because by the time I took the half-hour subway ride back to the office, it would be too late to get into the building, so I did the only thing I could think of. I crawled through cat hole in the screen. It was a perfect system.

Until one morning when I woke up to find the head of a mouse head in Mr. Baz's food dish. The body was nowhere to be seen and I never did find it. If I had let Mr. Baz in through the front door, I'd have stopped the mouse from coming in with him, but because of the new cat hole, I had no control.

And then, a few nights later, I awoke to Mr. Baz licking my face. I opened my eyes and there, on my pillow, just inches from my head was a dead mouse.

After that, I kept the window closed until we moved. Since then, he hasn't caught any mice. The closest he comes are fallen leaves off the plants in the planter boxes on the balcony. It's not as exciting for Mr. Baz, but I'm sleeping much better.

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