I suppose it’s an occupational hazard really when you live with four cats you can expect the occasional uninvited and totally unwanted house guest.
This first incident happened when we were at the hospital last week, while my mother was having her moment too. Honestly… nothing for ages then three stories all in one day… but anyway… Usually my partner and I try to ensure one of us is at home for part of the day, so the girls aren’t left too long by themselves. They do of course have access to outside via the catflap, beds, plenty of food and water, emergency litter trays, credit cards… well, maybe not the last, but we don’t like to leave them too long by themselves.
With justification as it so happens. We returned home that afternoon to find Tooty looking suspicious in the kitchen, Charlie and Ting were bot in the front room, managing to look accusing, reproachful, pleased to see us and annoyed. Lily – was nowhere to be seen.
“We’re home girlies, whatever’s the matter?”
Rushing past them upstairs to go to the toilet (peanut bladder) I noticed a huge smear of blood on the landing window, on the inside, horror movie style..
Then I stopped. Went back and looked. Properly. Huddled on a corner of the window ledge was a distressed sparrow. I yelled for assistance and we were able to catch the poor little thing, ascertain the blood was from a scratch on its leg, and let it go outside where it flew off quite rapidly.
We had to take the blinds down and wash them, likewise the window, since the sparrow had managed to splash quite a bit of blood about. Charlie was like:
“Look, I’ve told you before, I really can’t be responsible for the other three if you two go out together and leave us for AGES… “
Sparrow Number Two surprised my partner… Ting and Tooty were behaving suspiciously in the garden hedge – typical teenage behaviour – so he went to investigate and found them prodding a half-fledged sparrow. It had obviously tried its luck from the tree in the neighbour’s garden only to land in the hedge and be found by the two younger girls.
He scooped the poor little bird up in a container, being careful not to touch it, intending to put it high up in our apple tree. He left it on the window sill while he went to fetch the ladders, and as he returned round the corner he was horrified to see a blur of black and white feathers flash past him, knock the container off the ledge, seize the poor little fledgling and make off with it. He was horrified and actually quite upset to think of the magpie, eating another bird, compounded by the fact that two adult sparrows were chirping and flying around looking for their missing baby. Such is Nature though – sometimes it’s cruel.
It’s a mystery where the cats keep getting the mice from and a mystery where they sometimes end up. When we first moved into this house, we had Walter, who although not a keen hunter, liked to keep his paw in. We used to have a large wardrobe with a spare fish tank jammed beside it, one of those things my partner said he’d sort out and never quite got round to it.
One day, Walter had obviously happened across a mouse and thought he would bring it into the house and let it go in the bedroom, where it promptly took refuge behind the wardrobe and died. Unbeknownst to us… Weeks progressed as did the smell. I, (understandably) thought it was my partner. He (unforgivably) thought it must be me. Being polite, neither of us said anything to the other and I just bought more air freshener.
One day, my partner finally decided to move the fish tank and it was then that he found it… a dry… dessicated mouse, pressed flat as a pancake between the wall and the fish tank. One little paw outstretched, pleadingly, towards light and freedom… The mystery of the rotting rodent was solved.
Then the other day, I was vacuuming the stairs quite vigorously, trying to avoid the threads in the dark brown carpet where the cats have pulled it. (I’ll never buy that sort of carpet again – I wince every time they run upstairs and I hear their claws catch in it.) I reached the hallway at the bottom of the stairs and thought:
“Hm. Whatever’s that? Looks like a leaf…”
I bent down short-sightedly and peered at it.
“What an extraordinary looking leaf…it looks like a dead – oh my God it is a dead mouse!”
My partner was summoned for its disposal as I would not have been pleased to have mangled mouse clogging up the vacuum filter. The mystery of that mouse was that no-one ever owned up to it…