Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stars On Your Toes

I have rodents on the brain.

My parents have two girl cats that love to hunt. When I lock them in at night (which is prime time hunting) so that they don't become coyote food, they verbally abuse me. Being yelled at for a solid hour by the tiniest and angriest cat you've ever seen is a lot less adorable than you'd think it would be.

They're also very good hunters. On average, I'd say they catch 1.5 critters a day. Some days we get no animals at all, other days there will be three or four little rodents awaiting our approval. They always bring their catch inside, but I haven't figured out why yet. At first we thought they were bringing us presents, but they've stopped announcing it every time they bring something in. Then we thought they might be bringing them into an enclosed space so that they don't escape, but there are so many places for the little animals to hide. All a mouse has to do to be free is hide behind the piano for an our or two, and the cat will forget they even brought it inside.

Live mice and shrews are fun but tedious, because they need to be caught and released before they poop anywhere. Live birds are exciting and terrifying because they fly all over the place, but they don't last long because they fly into windows. Live moles are pure horror, unless they're just babies. Dead everythings are probably my favorite, because I can just pick them up and throw them out, and sometimes the cat will even take them out themselves because they want to play with it still. Dead birds are a pain because they leave feathers all over the place, and the cats will fight over them like dogs playing tug of war. Half-dead everythings are sad, because they are too alive to throw out and too dead to release outside. Either I or the cat has to kill it all the way.

The worst so far, though, are live field mice and rats. They're too big and scary for me to catch in a little box. And rats are really smart, so they escape very easily (and they can also jump at you!).

One of the cats brought a rat in yesterday. I thought at first it was just another field mouse, which meant it would be a pain and poop and eat, but it would be too afraid to confront us. But then I saw it in all of its glory today, eating the cat food. Definitely a rat. And it lives under the fridge, which currently reeks because of what is probably a dead field mouse. It's not afraid of me, and it pokes its head out a lot to watch me, and isn't afraid to come out even if I'm only 15 feet away.

I put Stormy by the fridge and then started waving a yard stick underneath to try to flush it out and have the cat catch it, but the smell was so horrible that I could only crouch there for a minute or two. It doesn't smell like dead things or even animal droppings, but it is still very putrid.

I refuse to go downstairs unless I put on my heavy winter boots. I don't want it biting me or running up my pant leg.

I hate rats.

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