She’s a little miffed today. She’s getting the bad habit of climbing onto my computer keyboard and parading there, insisting on attention, naturally while I’m trying to use the computer. So I’ve said, “No,” to her a few times yesterday and today.
She understands the word perfectly well, and has for as long as I’ve had her. The very first time I said it to her, she instantly jumped off the kitchen table; that was soon after I got her. Not that she hears it very often! In fact it’s easy to spoil her, because she doesn’t seem to have many bad habits about food, my food that is. It mostly doesn’t interest her.
But my computer keyboard? Yes, that interests her all right.
She caught a mouse yesterday and brought it to me; I think what she wanted was to carry it into the house, where she could play with it at leisure. If she was a game-dog, people would say she has a soft mouth, because she didn’t hurt the mouse – that’s if you don’t count damp mouse-fur and terror. She dropped it, and it hunkered down and trembled. She let it run off, and grabbed it again and trotted back toward the house door. Naturally I wasn’t about to open the door for her. Mice are vermin and deserve to die – this is what I know from experience. What a nest of mice inside a building can become is almost beyond imagination, unless you’ve seen an infestation of the nasty little things. They stink so you can tell they’re present just by the smell. They multiply geometrically. Hundreds of mice in no time at all, chewing into everything. Ugh.
Mice are also cute, like tiny living toys that run along the floor. My cat put hers down again, and let it run off with its tail sticking up and out.
This is how you get a cat to release its prey: ignore the prey, but give the cat lots of praise and petting. Then while it’s distracted, whatever it caught gets away. I was of two minds about the mouse – yes, vermin, but cute as a wind-up toy – but I waited, and sure enough Greymouse lost interest and let it run under a flower-pot. It vanished. About half a minute later, she noticed and pounced at something in that direction, then pursued it into the neighbour’s yard. I believe it got away.
It’s amazing how fond she is of climbing onto my keyboard, and then crouching there with back arched, which is to say: “Stop doing that! And pat me.”
Maybe that’s not so amazing.
She’s caught a couple of birds this week, after a long time without.
She brought them both home (as is the way of cats). The first was dead, so I did that thing you do with hunting cats: praised her and carried her indoors. Leaving the bird; by next morning it was gone, of course. There are other cats in the neighbourhood and they cruise through my back yard every night. They trip the motion sensor light and I’ve seen them strolling past, looking around.
The second bird was alive, so I praised Greymouse again, brought her treats and then carried her indoors. The bird flew away. By the time we went outside again, Greymouse had totally forgotten about it, too. As is the way of cats …
Throws up on staircase, then off she goes to chow down on her supper.
Falls asleep on my freshly laundered sweater.
Fetches her fluffy ball for a game of fetch.
Vanishes. Her work is done.
I went to bed an hour early last night, and Greymouse must have been nonplussed, because when I got up this morning there were four of her toy balls scattered on the bedroom floor. I vaguely remember hearing meowing sometime around midnight …
Then she went out with me this afternoon, as usual, and ran into the alley while I was digging dandelions. I heard an ugly squall – that catfight sound. I went into the alley and made stern mother-cat noises (a kind of loud PRRRRTT!) and at once saw a strange cat walking away casually, whereupon Greymouse shot out from under the neighbour’s jeep, heading for me. She was unhurt but ruffled, and accompanied me into the house without protest. Then I gave her treats for being Valiant But Unbitten.
Thank goodness. Infected cat bites are no picnic. If she’s been bitten somewhere that doesn’t show, she’ll lose a patch of hair, and then probably ooze pus. But I hope not; anyway she’s got such fine thick underfur that anyone trying to bite her would probably just come away with a mouthful of grey down.
I’m eating potato chips? Okay, she’s eating potato chips.