I Caught my Cat

Since our neighbor’s cat has taken up a haphazard Catch and Release program in the adjoining apartment, we have been having occasional problems with rodents. I’m not talking about the three wayward cavies we inherited from our son, dim-witted rotund beasts approaching a good size for Peruvian Barbecue. Though they take up roughly the same amount of floor space as our  love seat and offend my wife’s wolf-like sense of smell, the guinea pigs are not the rodents I am most annoyed with this week.

We have a mouse.

Having a sly, slinking, disease-carrying vermin is bad enough when you only have the evidence of gnawed waffle boxes and droppings behind the coffee maker. This one has gotten bold.

I was sitting at my desk the other morning with the cat at my right hand. We leave a stool there of just the right height to allow my to simply reach down and skritch Kestrel’s neck. His food bowl is on the floor two or three feet to the right. As I typed and the cat awaited the next round of skritches, something moved off to my left.

As I sat perfectly still, a small darkish blur loped out of the kitchen, past my book bags, and directly under my seat. Only then did it realize that I was there and zipped back out to the kitchen. My cat, descendant of ancient hunting cats of the African plains, remained in meat loaf mode on the stool, apparently lacking limbs, curiosity or any motivation.

That’s when the glue traps came out.

I set one trap on the counter where the little bastard had left fecal calling cards. I left one behind a piece of equipment that sat next the cat’s bowl. Two more were set in the space between the stove and the cabinet and along the path he took in and out of the kitchen. The open trays of sticky polymer each were topped of with a dab of peanut butter to taste and left to do their jobs.

Two days later and no sign of the mouse. I told my wife that I believed that the mouse had been intimidated by my reputation and fled to Argentina. There, he found a nice local mouse, settled down and had lots of little ex-pat mouse babies.

I left the traps in place, willing to bet on the side of rodent cunning.

About two hours ago,  my cat began acting more strangely than usual. He thumped around the hardwood floor, making a clicking noise like falling poker chips as he moved. As I got up and approached the disturbed but embarrassed feline, I could see a black plastic tray measuring two inches by four stuck to the under side of his tail.

For some reason only known to cats and the Goddess, our cat chose to wheel his hindquarters around behind the equipment in the living room to get another angle at his water bowl.  When he settled down to have a long slurp, he set his tail across the glue trap.

The big problem in situations like this is that the Catching is easy, the Releasing involves some pain and anguish. I snagged the beast before he decided to bolt and somehow adhere himself to a wall or the underside of a table. I took the tail in my right hand and the tray in my left. With utmost  gentleness, I tried to separate the two. Kestrel tried to imitate the tone used for the Emergency Broadcast System.

I pulled the cat free and found three large clumps of black fur held fast in the goo. His tail was not denuded, but there was enough hair to make one adult male eyebrow or a decent Charlie Chaplin mustache.

I still have not seen a second sign of the mouse, but I think the cat and the cavies have warned him off.

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