Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wanted: Cat With an Effective Mother
This is what I'm going for.
Last night I was just finishing dinner—chicken pot pie, salad, and apple slices—when I heard scratching and gnawing inside one of my cupboards. The cupboard I keep my Starbucks coffee and Wildflower iced tea in.
Now they’re trying to screw with my caffeine intake. Bastards.
Listening to the little scratchy-scratchy sounds gave me a stomach ache and I didn't want to open the cupboard to inspect it, lest a mice might dive bomb me right at face level, and you all know what that would do to me.
Put me right in the asylum. Just hand me my straight jacket now.
I tried to call my husband who was supposedly on his way home, but he didn’t answer. Twice. I finally called my neighbor to come check it out since I couldn’t take the anxiety anymore. He did some inspecting and the long and the short of it is, found no mice. But they are still alive and well in my kitchen walls somewhere, probably with a paw full of poo to throw at me given the opportunity.
I can’t tell you how many people have suggested we get a cat. Just today my mother even brought it up.
“Well, what you need is a cat,” she said.
“I’ve considered that, but how do I know I’m going to get a mouser and not just a cat who likes to tinker around with them like stuffed toys?” I replied.
“You know, cats learn those things from their mother. If the mother cat teaches the kittens how to do it, then they’ll chase the mice,” she added helpfully. It always comes back to the mother doesn't it?
Fabulous. So she’s saying I need to scour the alleys looking for a street cat with street smarts, whose mother showed them the finer points of catching and killing rodents? Do you think the people at the MSPCA have the vitaes for the strays in their shelter, filed by personality habits and specialized skills? I’m pretty sure that most cats these days are from the genetic line of the washing-mittens-and-eating-pie type. Meow meow meow.
Perhaps I should just purchase a mouse at the pet store and secretly release it in various cat cages and see what the felines do. A little like an interview or performance evaluation. Chases mouse? Check. Catches mouse? Check. Kills mouse? Nope. Just bats it with paw and licks it. Move on to cat option #2. It’s times like these when it would be helpful if animals could talk, or if those space-age dog collars from the movie UP! were a reality. Then assessing whether a cat was up to the job would simply be a matter of questions.
“So, Tom, tell me about your past work experience.”
Tom: “Well, I used to work down on the west side of town,” he drawls with thick Italian accent, “right behind Jim’s Big Barbeque. To date I’ve captured, killed and disposed of (glances at slash marks on his furry forearm) 253 rodents of all sizes.”
I’d hire him on the spot, that Tom. Even if he was a chain smoker and had a penchant for licking himself.
But you can’t know until you’ve taken the cat home, got the darned thing acclimated to your home, and seen him in action. It’s a huge risk. That, and my husband and I are in a pretty good place. We get along well. We're jovial (mostly). We even have conversations. That this coincides with the death of my other cat two years ago is pure coincidence I'm sure. But I'm a little worried that bringing a new cat into the home would turn our topics of conversation towards, "Did you notice it smells like cat piss downstairs?" or "When's the last time you changed that litter box?" or "There's cat hair all over my workshirts." Am I ready to potentially sacrifice my spousal relationship to appease my germ-a-phobic, controlling, type-A nature?
If I find a new piece of mouse poo I am.
If anyone out there knows of a cat whose mother did her due diligence to the breed and taught the thing how to be a mouser, feel free to contact me. If I like the cat and it works out, I promise to reward you with a special treat: probably something I baked in my kitchen.