Trees.

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I do love a good tree… I don’t actually have any of any great size in my garden, other than the apple tree which my partner lovingly grew from a pip about twenty years ago.

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Its apples are horrible, but the flowers are beautiful, and I love the goodness, the symbolism of my apple tree. It has had many a wish made on its branches, and next year, in the Spring, it will have Tibetan prayer flags draped around it.

Trees are inherently symbolic and packed full of meaning – just look at the Tree of Life. I feel the bareness of tree branches in Winter, reaching out their empty arms and pleading with Mother Nature to return soon with their leafy covering…

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There is something very primitive about walking through a wood in Summer, harking back to our lives centuries ago, when the first upright walkers left the safety of the trees for the open plains.

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Every step taken through these enclaves of trees is a passage to the past when Mankind was far more intimately connected to the cycles of Mother Earth. Our lives have been entwined with trees like ivy round a trunk… they provided shelter, fuel, symbols, myths and legends.

Every time I see this tree I fully expect the Green Man to be just around the other side…

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There is a stark beauty too, woods in winter, naked, bare and beseeching reaching up to the sky, the very heavens, Nature’s own cathedrals; while down below their roots grip Mother Earth secretly, drawing hidden life to the surface.

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Another bridge, another link in Life, chapter in this Book … And when all is bleak and bare, there is comfort to be found in the promise of returning Life.

Unicorn

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A magical Selenite spiral wand, from Lizian 

It was a summer morning, an early summer morning. It had rained overnight and every blade of grass wore a delicate crystal drop, the whole garden outlined with a glassy sheen.

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It was so early, so fresh and early, before the sun had risen and burnt away the magic. A gentle mist wreathed the base of my apple tree, cat-pawed and soft at the bottom of the garden where it is wildest.

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I like the garden to be a little untamed, a place where I can find the little people of my childhood imagination, the Fae, the smile of the Wild in the turn of a leaf; where Mother Nature walks with careful, loving steps trailing her fingers tenderly through the pathways of my garden.

I know we have hedgehogs, and sometimes a fox, birds fly through untroubled by my cats, as if they know a little bit of magic lives there, there at the bottom of the garden.

I gazed around, enjoying the freshness, and turned, alerted by the sound of a slapping fishtail from the pond as one of the goldfish rose to surface to capture a fly.

And then I saw…

creature of silken grace and delicate air
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Well, this was some Wild magic indeed. Mother Nature smiled at her little lost one and it stepped out further from behind the tree to return my gaze. Large dark enquiring eyes looked at me. I looked back and any idea I had of unicorns as horned horses fell away as this little creature was far more ethereal and dainty.

Barely a blade of grass bent under its weight or drop of dew stirred as it moved. The morning mist caressed delicate fetlocks and rose up to run loving tendrils through the silver mane – oh yes, silver and gossamer fine and plaited with girls’ dreams draped across a slender neck and fine-boned face – that face. Mother Nature must have felt truly blessed when presented with this little creature to love and cherish.

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And yes, oh yes, a rainbow curlicue of pure shimmer and shine adorned its little face, dainty and fine-boned, yes, but with an air of such Wild magic it took my breath away. For Wild Magic is not governed by man’s rule or human regulation – it simply is.

And as I looked, and looked again, the unicorn met my eyes and I wanted to cry, for there, within those liquid depths I saw love and knowing too. The sun rose higher and a random sparkle struck magic from that twisted horn and in a rainbow flash, a coloured turn, it was gone. And yet, and yet, I knew I was awake, and did not dream, for here…

unicorns shed their horns you know
to learn in love and kindness grow
as do we – with each year
grow in grace and keep love near

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Cinnamon Tiger

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“Sugar and spice
And all things nice –
That’s what little girls are made of.”
Mummy says this to me
All the time –
She doesn’t know what
I know.

These paws of silk and
Softest down
Contain within sharp scythes of steel.
I call down the spirits of my
Wild cousins –
But never kill a thing.

My eyes are glowing golden
Suns that guide me through
The night –
When morning comes I’m in with Mum
Curled up warm and tight.

I tell you this
And for free
Cats are contradictions –
See?

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Pyrite And Purrsonality…

20517376_163233007565240_1015633897_oFascinating cubic Pyrite, thank you to Lizian for letting me photograph them

I’ve written about Pyrite before, but it’s a purrsonal favourite (hehehe!) so I think it will take a little bit more, especially since it ties in so nicely with the second part of the title. The second part of the title was arrived at through an initial reply by Dolly of koolkosherkitchen, please go and visit – she has a wonderful blog that consists combines a fascinating mix of recipes and history – irresistible! The point of debate was: “Does neutering arrest a cat’s development and make them kittenish forever, or is it purely personality?”

I must actually apologise as I don’t remember where I saw the original claim – I’ve looked everywhere, but it was either obviously a figment of my imagination… or it’s been hidden by fairies.

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Do cats’ personalities change as they get older, like humans do… I’ve known some perfectly pleasant sixteen year olds grow into unbearable adults. Does anybody feel that their cats did indeed change in temperament after being neutered? I must confess, I do feel that Charlie became a little more bad tempered, and less tolerant of Lily, as they did used to sleep curled up together, but now they very rarely bother with each other, save the occasional:

“All right?”

Yeah, not so bad – yourself?”

Tooty and Ting have always had a very strong sisterly bond – apart from when they’re fighting – so they continue to get along well with each other and still make friendly overtures towards the big girls, even though they’re likely to get a slap for their trouble!

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Maybe I’m just reading too much into the situation, and the reason that cats still sometimes adopt a kittenish persona is to get their own way/

I’m so beautiful… How can you possibly say NO!”

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Oh yes of course, I’m sorry, Mummy’s little princess, I’ll rush out and get fresh chicken right this very minute even though it’s 12 o’clock at night, pouring with rain and local shops are shut…”

Yeah right. Crazy cat lady.

20472626_162915264263681_1093126036_oA beautiful and shiny Pyrite sphere, courtesy of Lizian’s wonderful stall

Perhaps I should carry my Pyrite more often… sometimes known as ‘Fool’s Gold’, this stone is very protective and will encourage you to trust your own judgement, take stock of a situation and implement solutions where needed. Its shiny gold surfaces act as a spiritual mirror and enable us to look within, to see our own characters, aspects, both good and bad, uncovering suppressed memories that are ready to be dealt with. A warming, magical stone, it has traditionally been used in amulets and in healing as a ‘warming’ stone – Pyrite suns have a special pain alleviating quality to them as well. So. A warming and grounding crystal… as warming as the love you share with your cat.

20464803_162867477601793_496060702_o (1)A splendid Pyrite sun, from Lizian 

So, please, opinions about personality please, whether feline or otherwise…

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Mookaite and Model Cats

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Mookaite is part of the Jasper family, which I am gradually getting to know better… Jasper is also known as the “Supreme Nurturer” and is a wonderful stone to have about you in times of stress, as it lends emotional strength and support.

It’s a good stone for anyone who works in healing and it’s a charitable psychic nudge, just to remind people to help one another.

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In addition to the qualities of Jasper, Mookaite, also known as Australian Jasper, is useful in that it provides stability and balance, both mentally and physically. It can help support the immune system, promote healing and purify the blood.

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Mookaite is a good directional stone as it will lay out the paths open to you and help you to choose the right one. It encourages versatility, the desire for new experiences and the confidence with which to face them.

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Lily, our smallest black cat, is currently undergoing a new experience… All my cats carry themselves with the grace and elegance of a top supermodel… (watch out “London Look” girl..) but Lily is actually doing a spot of modelling.

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Gary – Fiction Is Food – happened to mention that his friend Marje of Kyrosmagica was in need of a black cat… not for any nefarious purposes, I hasten to add, but to aid with promotion. Marje has written a wonderful YA book and it just so happens that a black cat is featured. Lily was only too happy to oblige and hopefully the book will be published this summer. Please do go and have a look at Marje’s blog…

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Photographing black cats has its own particular difficulties, so my son informs me. The lighting has to be just right and preferably they have to have their eyes open, as Lady Joyful mentioned, otherwise you just have kind of a … furry blob. Some cats just don’t care to have their picture taken or can be a little over-enthusiastic… Ting loves to get up close and personal with the camera…

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Charlie, of course, as befits a princess, is physically incapable of being anything other than beautiful on camera… think the gamine sweetness of Hepburn, the shy charm of early Diana

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or the sheer “Look at me! You know I’m irresistible!” beauty of Elizabeth Taylor…

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Ultimately, though, despite the fact that my little cat draws on a parade of historic beauties, she is still my little cat…

Every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room.”

E.V.Lucas

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Lapis Lazuli And Loving Cats

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This is a beautiful crystal, with benefits and qualities rooted in the mists of time, where people saw its sky blue colour and used this crystal ground up as a paint to try and capture the heavens…

In powder form, it was also used by Cleopatra, amongst others, as an eyeshadow and ornamentation as a crystal in jewellery and statuary.

Lapis Lazuli’s spiritual qualities are as beautiful and as varied as the stone itself… it is highly protective, and as with most blue crystals, balances the throat chakra and helps with communication, both with other people and also becoming aware of your own “inner voice” and listening to it.

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Its soaring azure colours, reminiscent of the sky, perhaps illustrates the fact that this crystal encourages you to rise above the boundaries of your physical self, facilitating spiritual journeying. Lapis Lazuli is a wonderful crystal to release stress and lift depression, bringing harmony and balance.

Like a clear summer sky, Lapis Lazuli will also amplify thought – by this I mean clarity. It brings clarity, disposing of woolly, outdated thought patterns that are of no benefit.

A loving and caring crystal – another strongly protective one too – Lapis Lazuli strengthens the relationships and friendships we nurture, allowing feelings to be freely expressed.

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I know my cats love me – as Mummy and not just because of my useful opposable thumbs – yet having four, it’s wonderful to see the varying ways in which they express this human quality of love.

Charlie, as befits a lady and a princess, is quite reserved, and I do indeed feel quite honoured when she chooses to sit on my knee and purr, kneading her little paws in a frenzy of:

Oh yes, I’d forgotten, you’re quite nice really…”

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Lily has a sweet, trilling meow to signal that she would like some attention, subtly different from the:

Here, look, I’m spoiling you, another mouse…” call. She will butt her small but surprisingly hard head against your hand and gaze deeply and meaningfully into your eyes … When I go to check my son is asleep, she will be there, curled up against him in an indistinguishable ball of black fluff…

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Tooty loves to cuddle and will curl up near you, purring mightily… she has a habit of checking if you are available to give out strokes when you are sleeping… there’s been a few times when I’ve been awoken by a cold nose pressed enquiringly against my cheek and catfood breath …

Hi! Are we awake? Tummy tickles?”

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Ting is definitely the most demonstrative cat … when I come in, she will collapse at my feet and rub her head on them, purring in a total ecstasy of love and happiness…

Currr-AH…Currr-AH – so happy! You’re home…you’ve been gone AGES…”

clutching my hand between her front paws – no claws – to rub her cold, wet nose on it.

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Cats are traditionally supposed to be cold and stand-offish… not my four girls! Although they each have very different ways of showing it, I am rewarded by their love and truly appreciate it.

What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

Charles Dickens

Too Many Cats – Never!

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As regular readers know, I love my cats dearly and various feline characters have played starring roles in my life so far…

My earliest memory, a coming into consciousness, if you will, involved a cat. Wew were living in the practice house at the time, a rambling, three storied Victorian building that had a little surgery attached with a few kennels and a stable. The garden wrapped around the house on three sides and in my memory was always filled with sunshine…

My awakening into being involved our cat of the time, Snoopy, a large, black, plush-furred and amiable cat who became my heart companion in early years. I remember to this day the feel of my cat’s fur against my bare arms as I lugged him inelegantly along, upright on his back legs and nearly as tall as me, as we walked around the garden together.

And thus began my life-long love of cats. My life has been touched by other animals too, including most especially dogs, but cats. Always. And what do you get someone who loves cats – why, cat related-objects of every variety, shape, size and form!

I can hardly bear to wear these shoes..they are so comfortable, it’s like walking barefoot… but… too cute!

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This scarf is a treasured gift from my old headmistress, from The Cat Gallery… I daren’t spend too much time on their website…

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And the jewellery! This ring and necklace were Christmas presents from my son.

I love the symbolism of the golden cat pendant, hanging in the Rowan tree…

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Ornaments, always a favourite, but this one, purchased from my son’s crystal lady, Lizian, is actually carved from Malachite – cats and crystals, how lovely!

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And of course, my most important cats. Princess Charlotte, Lily, Ting and Tooty… my fur family…

Time spent with cats is never wasted.”

Sigmund Freud

Danburite and Darling Cats

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Yes, I know. I sound like the typical besotted cat owner, but really there is nothing quite as sweet or as heart-meltingly… darling as a cat that is on the receiving end of bounteous praise and admiration of their unsurpassed beauty…

Who’s beautiful then?”

A blank stare from my cat, Charlie…

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Are you talking to me? WHAT?”

Who’s Mummy’s little princess…?”

A slight, satisfied curve to her jaws appears as she acknowledges that yes, yes, indeed she is Mummy’s little princess.

Oh yes, WHO’S the MOST beautiful cat in the world… my lamb, my precious, my darling…?”

And that magic word will usually produce the treasured reaction, the slow blink that is the feline equivalent of a human kiss. Her golden eyes are covered by furry eyelids as she squeezes them shut in pleasure and recognition of her supreme beauty…

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My partner…

YOU DON’T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!”

No… you’re not a cat.”

YOU LOVE THE CAT MORE THAN YOU LOVE ME. I’M COMING BACK AS A CAT IN MY NEXT LIFE!!”

A pause for thought as we all stop to consider the possibility of a feline future… Yet, later…

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WHO’S DADDY’S LITTLE PRINCESS THEN? COME ON, LET’S GO AND SEE IF MUMMY BOUGHT YOUR SPECIAL TREATS…”

I lavish these endearments on my cats to let them know I love them… I was listening to a dear old man talking to his dog the other day…

No, my duck, come away, you don’t want to eat that…”

I had to reflect that love for a pet, no matter what species or size, is one of the purest forms of this emotion that we can witness, much like Danburite which contains a very pure vibration that links to the heart energy, the seat of all love.

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The pink variety of this crystal is particularly sensitive, as it encourages openness, honesty and the ability to love oneself, despite faults.

Danburite is a kind stone, as it will help you bring deep changes to your life and gently dissolve ties from past difficulties to facilitate progress forwards. This quality also make it a useful stone as someone’s time here draws to a close and they need to move onwards, onwards and upwards as Danburite works with the higher consciousness and opens a path to the angelic realms.

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It’s a hug. A pat on the back and a crystal reminder that ultimately, no matter what, love remains, unqualified and accepting.

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Tooty’s Tale

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Tooty had a… confused start in life. She is Ting’s sister, no doubt about that as they share a bond of sibling affection that I don’t see between Charlie and Lily, even though they’ve known each other since they were a couple of months old. How we found them is the subject of an earlier post: ‘The Finding of Kittens’, but although Ting’s place in our family was assured – my partner knew of my secret, long-held desire for a Siamese – Tooty, as a black cat was held as being surplus to requirements in my partner’s opinion. Besides which, we already had a black cat, little Lily, the dainty, pretty murderess who had captured my partner’s heart with her killing charm.

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However, I loved Tooty the moment I saw her for her bravery. She was the first one to leave the safety of the hedge for an unknown future with us. I had absolutely no intention of separating the sisters. I just never mentioned it. So she stayed, and I say a ‘confused’ start to life with us since we were convinced she was a tom, and actually called her Derek for her first few months of living with us.

She grew and developed into a black cat with a charm and beauty of her own. She doesn’t have the fragile prettiness of Lily, rather the sleek, powerful lines of the traditional parlour panther. She is the only cat I have with eyes the colour of Citrine or Amber, depending on the light… a proper witch’s cat but she has the temperament of a particularly cuddly marshmallow.

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Like all my girls, I took her to the vet to be spayed, however, she did develop a chest infection after, and although it cleared up after antibiotics, it has left her with the tendency to snore. And I mean snore. A real roof rattling reverberation… Her meow is quite funny too. She’s not the most talkative of cats, unlike Charlie or Ting, but when she does meow, it’s more a croaky “Wah!” sound. A bit like a goose. Tooty “Brrrp’s” a lot though.

Brp! Hi, I’m here,”

BRPP! I didn’t see you there, you scared me!”

Brp-wah… sure it’s feeding time…”

Tooty has the most wonderful purr though, a deep, melodic soothing rumble. She likes to cuddle in the bed next to you and will lie, legs in the air, so you can stroke her chest, eyes blissfully closed, purring away like a little motor.

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She and her sister, Ting, still play together as well – sometimes a little too roughly and the fur tufts fly. It’s soon forgotten though, as they greet each other affectionately with a tender lick between the ears.

So. Despite having a duplicate of colour in cats, Tooty brings her own special qualities to my feline fur family. She is loving and affectionate, a confident panther who stalks the rooms of my house, “brrrping” and throwing catnip mice around…

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Cats and Mice

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Cats love mice. A recognised fact, as any cat owner will know, who has cleared up chewed corpses and mangled remains left by a thoughtful cat, as a sign of their love for their owner. I love mice. I think they are dear little creatures, with their tiny pink hands, delicate tails and bright, beady eyes. I am always upset when I find dead mice, but such is the nature of cats, they are only doing what their instincts dictate.

However. I do not love mice – or the cat very much either – when aforementioned feline brings aforementioned rodent into the house whilst still alive and LETS THEM GO. Lily is actually responsible for most of the hunting in our household. I have watched Tooty chase flies and moths, Ting covet sparrows and Charlie, my cat, has never killed anything in her life. Perhaps because we had her from such an early age, she missed that part of her feline mother’s teaching, how to become an efficient hunter. Still, Charlie has plenty of toy mousies in fake fur and catnip mousies for pretend killing, so her acquaintance with the rodent world is limited.

wp_20160502_11_28_47_pro-copyCharlie with a ‘proper’ mousie

Lily, on the other hand, is a cat of a different nature altogether. She is a true witch’s cat, black as night with emerald green eyes. She is only a little cat, but the fiercest and the most deadly hunter, with the face of an angel and the soul of a tiger… Consequently, I see quite a lot of mice, more than I ever intended to outside of a petshop. It is thanks to Lily that I discovered we have two different species of mice within her territory boundaries, the little house mouse and the slightly larger, browner field mouse.

Strictly speaking, she is my younger son’s cat, so it is him she chooses to bless with the results of her evening hunting forays. Possibly she regards him as a somewhat ineffective provider – although he’s always ready with the kibbles when she calls – or she worries about when he leaves home for university and whether he will be able to look after himself there.

img_4793Lily, fierce huntress, looking like butter wouldn’t melt…

Either way, on this particular night my son and I had already gone to bed, and were fast asleep. Me, for once, not haunted by impossible dreams, tossing and turning, my son, deeply sleeping in his own room. My partner was downstairs watching the late film and having a last cup of tea.

Brrrp! Mahhh! Brrp! Meow!”

Patter, patter patter-we have laminate flooring- and then:

SAM! LILY’S GOT A MOUSE AND I COULDN’T STOP HER!”

My son and I, finely attuned to Lily’s “special” meow were already waking-my partner’s shout completed the job of jolting us into full consciousness. To be fair, he doesn’t like mice, and he does rescue me from spiders, regardless of size, so the least I could do was respond to his panicked yell…

However, we were just that little bit too slow…Lily shot past me, swerving with the skill of a seasoned footballer and dropped the mouse on my son’s bedside rug. Then it ran behind the unit. Having done her job, Lily left, leaving my son and I to haul the unit out in an attempt to capture the mouse. Moving the unit was no small job, stacked high as it was with crystals, books about crystals, college work, DVD’s, computer games…We managed to pull it out about a foot from the wall and saw the mouse, hiding between some cables.

HAVE YOU CAUGHT IT YET? YOU HAVE TO GET IT-THEY CHEW THROUGH CABLES AND THEN THE HOUSE WILL BURN DOWN AND IT WILL ALL BE YOUR FAULT!”

Me? I didn’t catch the mouse and bring it in. With my partner’s encouraging endorsement ringing in my ears, I lunged at the mouse and…and…missed. It slipped between my fingers like a wet bar of soap, skidded four foot up the wall, shot towards my son, leapt OVER his head and vanished under the door of the airing cupboard. I didn’t know mice could jump that high…

Now we were stuffed. Inside the airing cupboard is the hot water tank, solid and immovable, the central heating controls, not to mention my clean sheets and towels. Destruction heaven for vengeful rodent teeth. Other than passing a container and lid through the door, my partner was washing his hands of the whole thing:

THEY’RE YOUR CATS…”

We settled in to wait. As we waited, we discussed strategy. My cat, Charlie, tapped at the bedroom door, wanting to know where I was and why wasn’t I in bed, where I was supposed to be. Now, obviously, I’m biased, but Charlie is a very intelligent little cat… I thought perhaps we could use this to our advantage. We showed her where the mouse had been sitting and where it had gone. She sniffed the trail with interest, little pink nose moving delicately, eyes bright and alert. I opened the airing cupboard door and let her see inside:

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Look! Find the mousie for Mummy and then we can all go back to bed!”

Charlie crouched in front of the tank, then with lightning sharpness, her little arm shot out and into the gap…she pushed her face into the gap and when she withdrew her head she HAD THE MOUSE! Then she gave it to me. Literally, dropped it into my hands, I put it into the container my son was holding and he slammed the lid shut. My wonderful little cat gave me a look that clearly said:

My work here is done. NOW can we go to bed?” and asked to leave the room.

My son gratefully returned to bed and I conveyed the mouse downstairs, unhurt and probably unaware of how it had upset my evening, and released it at the bottom of the garden.

DID YOU HAVE ANY TROUBLE CATCHING THE MOUSE? WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?” my partner enquired.

Charlie caught it,” I replied, “so now I’m going to bed.”

I returned wearily upstairs in the hopes of quickly regaining slumber, only to find Charlie neatly curled up in my space, the smile of the righteous curving her furry jaws. I didn’t have the heart to move her…

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