The only reason this picture is not entirely accurate is because Thomas, our feline friend is not allowed upstairs at night for fear, decapitated mice on my childrens pillows may scar them for life (that’s if my dancing doesn’t do it first!)
Having always been a dog owner in the past it came as a surprise not least to myself when we decided to get Thomas a year past October. I knew the kids missed having a pet but also knew I couldn’t commit to taking on another dog. So after months of trawling the cat rescue sites, one day in the school holidays I took the kids on a trip to Causeway Cottage Cattery who as well as running a cattery do great work boarding cats looking for new homes through Fife Cat Shelter.
The kids were delighted with the little ginger fluff ball that was a 5 month old Thomas and even more delighted when it was decided we would take him home there and then. Cat owning it turned out was far easier than I had anticipated, Thomas was like a baby but without the crying and cleaning up of poo, so in fact nothing like a baby apart from the fact that he played, ate and curled up and slept. He was already litter trained and the kids soon fell into a routine of feeding him, had I known it was going to be this easy I’d have done it years ago.
Then came the time to let him out into the big bad world, I had decided from the off that he would be allowed out and pretended to be extremely blase’ about it, cut to 2 weeks later when he didn’t return straight away when called and I was pacing the kitchen like a nervous new mother shouting his name and rattling his biscuits while Mr B had been sent to wander the streets looking for him, finally the wanderer returned none the wiser to the stress and grey hairs he had caused.
Soon a cat flap was fitted and Thomas came and went as he pleased, he is most definitely a night cat, going out in the early evening and returning in the small hours of the morning and then sleeping all day (normally on the beds where of course we swore he wouldn’t).
I scratched my head in puzzlement when I came downstairs one morning to find a chunk of naan bread on my living room carpet and then thought no more about it until Thomas arrived the following evening trailing another chunk of bread with him, he had obviously been raiding someones bin. I was hoping that in time he would progress to oven fresh pizza slices.
No such luck, a few nights later just as I was about to head to bed (back in the pre Mr B co-residing days), Thomas appeared through the cat flap, approached me as I sat on the coach and lovingly deposited his gift of a live mouse at my feet! To say my reaction was of cartoonish proportions would not be an exaggeration, had there been a handy kitchen chair about I would have jumped on it and screamed, as there wasn’t I fled the room, locking both Thomas and my gift inside and sat shaking on the stairs as I called Mr B and begged him to get back out his warm comfy bed despite his 6am start the next day and rescue his damsel in distress (I know very anti girl power of me but needs must).
By the time Mr B had arrived the mouse had gone to mouse heaven either through sheer shock or by means I don’t like to dwell on, so he was removed and after we debated whether he constituted household or garden waste he was laid to rest.
This is now a regular occurrence, usually once we are in bed and I have become far more nonchalant about it but still tread carefully when I come downstairs, as a dead mouse underfoot does not really give off the right vibe to start the day. We have tried collars with bells on to give the mice a head start but after 5 collars being removed in true houdini still we gave up.
On the odd occasion though we are still up when Thomas brings his new friends home and that is when the fun really begins. We have a well rehearsed routine now where I grab the cat and remove him from the crime scene and then keep an eye on our new guest while Mr B goes to the garage to fetch his mouse rescue kit. Mr B is a huge softie and will go to extreme lengths to rescue our rodent visitors, he has crafted an array of mouse catching boxes with little holes to tempt them into along with a gentle nudge from a long stick, from there he will place them in the garage overnight, with food and air holes in the hope they will survive the night, unfortunately in most cases I think the shock alone has been too much but a few survive and are released to fight another day.
So the fight goes on, cat and mouse and man, I think the cat is winning and I know it’s in his nature but if anyone has any tips on curtailing his nighttime activities if only to save my feet and living room rug from unpleasant stains please do share them.
An aside – If you are in the East of Scotland and are considering getting a cat please do look at Fife Cat Shelter at their website or facebook page, they do a great job rescuing and rehoming cats, they are also always in need of donations to help them in their good work.