Maus

I have cats.
My cats are murderers.
I am their official documentarian.
This, then, is last night in the kactus household:

It’s hard being a chewtoy.


A mouse caught in the headlights.


A final act of defiance.

Such is life.
*Don’t be fooled by the dates on the pictures. That just means I didn’t get around to changing the settings on the camera.
*No, as far as I know the mouse didn’t survive. Last I saw him both cats were chasing him across the kitchen floor.


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35 comments for “Maus

  1. car
    July 20, 2007 at 9:57 am

    If your cats are murderers, you’re lucky! Mine regards them as novelty squeaky toys, and will just bat them around and occasionally carry them lightly in her mouth. The only way she causes mouse deaths is by fear-induced heart attack.

  2. July 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

    car, I’m forever getting up in the morning and finding stray feathers strewn across the living room rug; a few times I’ve found bird heads, and most memorably, organs of some sort that the cats refuse to eat. Sometimes little bird feet. And of course they’re ferocious mousers, which is what justifies their existence.

    Once I found a bat on my kitchen floor.

    Now I’m not happy about them catching birds–I love birds myself –but other than imprisoning the cats in the house (which they’ll never stand for) I see no way to stop them from following their instincts. I do sometimes manage to get the birdies away from them, though, and set them free.

    Mice are fair game.

  3. July 20, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Aw, cats are so cute when they’re all riled up!

    I used to live with a killer psycho forest cat (she once brought a vole into the house for the express purpose of killing it under my bed while I slept) and the least violent cat in the world.

    One day, the non-hunter cat marched proudly into the living room with a mouthful of… stuff. Brownish, lumpy stuff. Just as I was reaching for a plastic bag to prep it for dumpster burial, he horked his spoils onto my feet.

    It was a wad of sticks and mud.

    From then on dubbed him, KITTEN, MIGHTY HUNTER OF STICKS AND MUD. And he was very proud.

  4. July 20, 2007 at 11:14 am

    bleah. hate them mousies. and yeah, my cat’s more like car’s cat.

  5. mustelid
    July 20, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Damn nem0, that is cute! :) I have a great big beast who’s intimidated by large bugs, and terrified of hamsters. I’ve told her she’s officially a kibblevore, having lost all claim to the title of carnivore. Not a hunter (except for shoelaces), but she’s wonderful for emotional support.

  6. Louise
    July 20, 2007 at 11:40 am

    My cat (strictly indoors) has taken down a bat, too! We’ve had 2 of them fly down from the 3rd floor attic to the rest of this old farmhouse over the past 10 years- caught the other one by throwing a towel on it. Also have had the cat chase flying squirrels down a hallway- they get terribly blinded by daylight. And we’ve had dozens of mice, including 2 nitwits who fell out of holes in the ceiling- one died on impact and the other was stunned enough so husband could whack it with a hammer.

    “Outdoor stray cat that adopted us” earned his kibble with piles of dead birds, mice, moles, and even a grey squirrel- now very old and watches birds eat out of his dish. But he does manage to scare off other cats and skunks.

  7. exholt
    July 20, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    kactus,

    Dad told me one story where a cat adopted him around 40 years ago. As a gesture of friendship, the cat kept dropping off hunting trophies such as rats, squirrels, and even rabbits. Once, when the cat dropped by, the cat dropped off a rabbit and gave my father a reproachful look which my dad interpreted as “When are YOU going to be as proficient a hunter as I?!!”

    Also, a high school friend had an 7 month old kitten who lived to pounce and rip mice/rats into shreds for her own amusement.

  8. Bitter Scribe
    July 20, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Mice are fair game.

    Damn straight. Until the furry little freeloaders start paying rent, TS for them.

  9. preying mantis
    July 20, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    “Now I’m not happy about them catching birds”

    I suppose it could be worse. My grandmother’s cat used to show his displeasure with the state of things by catching animals, bringing them into the house, and then releasing them unharmed wherever he thought was appropriate. Little bastard set a baby rattlesnake loose in the den once.

  10. BabyGirl
    July 20, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    One of the (many) reasons I don’t and can’t own cats. I am a dog person myself.

  11. Louise
    July 20, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    [Little bastard set a baby rattlesnake loose in the den once.]

    Aigh! That’s why I live up in the damned Northern Tundra! Eeeks!

  12. Laurie
    July 20, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    What mighty hunters! :) My own cats are less than proficient at actually hunting, although they make a lovely show of it. The centipedes and silverfish are pretty safe in this house, though. *sigh* They are indoor only cats, so the birds are VERY safe, although they were mightily intrigued by the one that had the chutzpah/stupidity to land on the ledge outside their window. Pixel (the boy) would have been patting it on the head (no claws, even!) had the screen not been there. Sasha (the girl) took one look at it and POUNCE!! Might have gotten it if the screen hadn’t been there. You’d never know that by watching her pat daintily at the insect life, though. *sigh*

    And — someone else who calls her kitties ‘maus’! :) Love your orange and white tabby. He reminds me of the cat we were fostering for a friend. We unfortunately and very reluctantly had to put him down earlier this year due to major health issues. :( So it’s a little bit of a sad reminder. But your orange/white kitty is *gorgeous*. I’d love to see pix of them both.

  13. July 20, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Horrific story, do not read while eating:

    My cat Sunshine, may he rest in peace, once caught and ate a squirrel.

    He came into the house and the squirrel did not sit well on his tummy.

    He threw said squirrel back up. On my bed. On my handmade quilt, painstakingly stitched by my mother and given to me as a wedding gift.

    I now have no cats. he was my last.

  14. Gine
    July 20, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    My cat Ebony once caught a gigantic black bird and insisted on eating it under the dining room table –during a dinner with prospective friends.

    When I tried to take the bird from her, she hissed at me and ran into my bedroom with the bloody thang. I finally got the bird, though.

    So to speak.

    Dunno what happened to the couple we had dinner with . . . .

  15. July 20, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    My mother’s cat once brought a bat down off the (high) kitchen ceiling. I have NO idea howTF he managed to do it, but we later found him sauntering about, growling at anything that crossed his path, carrying something strangely unfamiliar in his mouth. My mother cornered him in the bathroom and coaxed him to drop it into her hand, at which point she exclaimed …”It’s WARM!” She tried to examine it, but before she could figure out why its legs were so…long, it jumped out of her hand and into the bathroom trash can. (Smart little bat, that one.)

    That cat was damn proud of himself.

  16. July 20, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    My former cat was declawed in front. It was the cutest thing to see her attack animals because of how she made up for this handicap: she developed a really brutal smack. She killed mice with the sheer power of a single smack over the head.

  17. ohsohappy
    July 20, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    My cat is strictly indoors, being as she’s declawed, and old. She is still a mighty hunter though. You know, crickets, the ferocious earthworm that crawled under the door sill, dust bunnies, milk tabs, and those rabbit fur covered fake mice. Actual warm animals, not so much. The last time there was a mouse in the kitchen, she shrieked at it, and then hid under the bed until I dealt with it.
    At least with the aforementioned favorites though, the trophies are easy to deal with.

  18. Tess
    July 20, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    My sweet little kitty of 14 years, may she rest in peace, used to bring all sorts of creatures home. In pieces, alive, whole you name it she “prepared” it.

    She used to bring up to 3 mice each day in the summer. One of the most disgusting things I found on the floor was a mouse fetus. All pink and clean. Apperantly this was not appetizing enough for her.

    But one of the best things was her half brother caught a frog/toad thing. He didn’t carry it very far because of the slime that they excrete to repel predators. He dropped the froggy and started foaming at the mouth for hours afterwards.

  19. July 20, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    It’s hard for me to think of mice as vermin. They’re just so cute.

  20. July 20, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    My four year old random-bred mackerel tabby with Siamese factor albinism, Casper, is trained to do tricks and stands for regular claw clipping. He always knows when I’m upset and consoles me when I need it, sleeps at the foot of my bed, and wakes me up in the morning by running his claws through my hair (my boyfriend feeds him before I get up, but Casper can’t stand it if I sleep in too late).

    He’s a totally devoted and strictly a house-cat (though I have nothing against letting cats outside). So his biggest kill, if he’s had any at all, would probably be your average house spider. Give him a toy mouse, though, and his first bite always lands his teeth right at the base of its head, severing its non-existent spine. He never bites or claws people (even children who play too rough with him), but on the rare occasions that he’s accidentally clawed me, the wounds have been huge and slow to heal.

    I harbour no doubts that all the breeding and training in the world would never change his true nature, and I wouldn’t love him if it could.

  21. July 20, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    I gotta tell you, I am loving all these proud kitty tales. I thought I was gonna get beat up for not saving the mice, but it seems like we all love being the recipients of mousey gifts.

    ohsohappy, your story made me laugh out loud :)

  22. July 21, 2007 at 12:34 am

    So, are they bringing us gifts or actually trying to teach us to hunt?: You poor thing, I brought you this dead mouse, because you’re gonna starve!

  23. Rachel
    July 22, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Last year, my Mistletoe left a mouse on the porch for us on Christmas Day! She’s so thoughtful!

  24. Amy Goude
    July 22, 2007 at 1:39 am

    For me, this post completely undermines my respect of this blog, and I will no longer be a reader here.
    Photographing an animal being hunted and tortured, then posting them on your blog as a bit of a light laugh, is completely indefensible in a space like this, and is no more humourous than someone posting like pictures of a human in a similar position as the mouse. The link between animal rights (and by animal rights I also mean affording them the same dignity and liberty) and feminism is indelible – and I am saddened than once again I am reminded on how far away and derided this basic connection is.

  25. Louise
    July 22, 2007 at 9:31 am

    It’s hard for me to think of mice as vermin. They’re just so cute.

    I can understand that, but they lose all cuteness points when you see that the little buggers have been sneaking into your pantry and eaten into cardboard boxes of food, or left little mousie poo here and there. Then it becomes WAR…

    And “Amy Gould”- you’re KIDDING, right? Please tell me you’re kidding…

  26. preying mantis
    July 22, 2007 at 9:40 am

    “And “Amy Gould”- you’re KIDDING, right? Please tell me you’re kidding…”

    Don’t be silly. It’s perfectly logical that anyone who’s ever enjoyed an episode of Meerkat Mansion have their feminist card revoked.

  27. Nenena
    July 22, 2007 at 9:54 am

    (*rolls eyes @ Amy*) Y’know, I’m usually the first person to get upset when I hear about humans torturing or killing small animals. But other predatory animals doing it? That’s what nature intended. I blubbered like a baby when I heard about how some high school students in my home town were torturing and killing squirrels. But I thought that it was the CUTEST THING when my dog finally scored a victory in her eternal battle against the mean old squirrel that lived in our backyard. And by “scored a victory” I mean “ended the war forever.”

    I also think that it’s cute when my dad’s girlfriend’s niece feeds mice to her pet snake. Snakey just looks so happy to have a mouse-shaped lump in her belly!

  28. July 22, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I suppose I could have posted a picture of what was left of its tail and little paws, but I knew that would be going too far.

    Honestly, Amy, if you’re going to let one post–by a guest blogger whom you’ll only have to put up with for one more day–turn you off this blog completely, it seems like you were looking for an excuse to leave anyway.

    Life happens. Death happens. And animals kill other animals all the time. Ever watch PBS?

  29. July 22, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Down with the Catriarchy! :p

  30. kali
    July 22, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    hee. I love this thread. Our neighbour’s cat who adopted me and my siblings during childhood was the most macho-posturing cat in the whole world. He loved to sit in the garden and growl at birds till they flew off– he never came even close to catching one.
    But his big thing was to lie in the middle of our (not very busy) road and do the Master Hunter about-to-pounce pose at lorries. (I dunno the US equivalent word: extra big truck?)
    He’d lie there, growling, staring down the lorry till the very last second, and then do a mad dash off the road as soon as it became clear the lorry wasn’t backing down.
    Naturally, he never even caught a spider, let alone a lorry.

    That cat amuses me so much in retrospect because I think of him as the ur-version of a particular personality type I keep running into.

  31. TheBends
    July 22, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I take issue with my cat killing birds, but mainly because she sits outside meowing trying to get someones attention to show off what shes done (I swear if she could talk, it would be “it’s a prize worthy of any mantelpiece!”). My mum and my brother believe “its natural”, but my view is that it would be “natural” if she ate them, and was not domesticated and living in our house, eating the cat food we buy her. Since were feeding that little sod, shes only killing for the fun of it. And funnily enough, we have two neighbours who both have rabbits outside in hutches, and now our cat no longer eats cat food made from rabbit. Its as if she thinks “I couldn’t live with myself, knowing Im eating the relatives of my neighbours”. Of course, that doesn’t stop her from bullying them when they escape from their hutch.

    Of course, I have no problem with the “thats life” way of looking at things, but as I have in the past, I take it to extremes. I cant say thats life when a cat kills a bird, and then say “oh the humanity” when some war breaks out, or something equally awful. If Im supposed to believe killing is natural in this world, then Im also going to believe that humans are just better at it, and that human “atrocities” are perfectly justified as an immutable fact of life.

    Ehem, sorry about that. Im sure this thread wasn’t created so I could explain how I reign in my callous outlook on life sometimes.

    As it stands, Im fine with people having no problem with animals killing other animals, so long as my objecting self isnt the one who has to clean up the mess.

    Looking at your cat kactus, it reminds me of my old cat Bagpuss. Without a missing leg that is. Maybe its just the ginger and white? At any rate, that little murderer looks lovely.

  32. July 22, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I first got these particular cats because the house I live in had a horrible mouse problem. They got into everything–pudding mix, pancake mix, flour, sugar, you name it. And then leave their little droppings all over the place. One time I had a box of ramen noodles, and a mouse chewed a whole right through the center of each one of those packages, all in a line. I tried mousetraps, but mice these days are too smart to fall for that. And my daughter was really little so I didn’t want to put poison down where she could get into it–so I had a perfect excuse to get a couple of cats.

    They are beloved pets, but they also have a necessary function in the house. If they don’t do their job, the mice could come back.

    I guess my casual attitude comes from growing up on farms–animals work, just like humans, and it’s a lucky pet indeed who isn’t expected to do anything but look pretty and get indulged.

  33. Louise
    July 22, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Since mice tend to come back into our house in the fall via the basement and stone foundation, I’ve found that storing stuff in clear Rubbermaid bins saves the food in my pantry. Pain in the butt, but at least it’s all clean, dry and un-mousied. (tried just big plastic bags, but that did nothing except maybe help them floss their teeth).

  34. Perkyshai
    July 23, 2007 at 9:46 am

    My girl (Gilgamesh, Destroyer of Worlds) is an inveterate bughunter. I keep finding bits of them about. We’re in Houston, so tend to have the ginormous tree roaches. -shudder-
    I am comfortable with outsourcing our pest control to the kitty. She’s good at it, and it gives her a purpose other than ornament and snuggler in chief.

  35. Elizabethe
    July 23, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I am so jealous. Momma Mouse just had BABIES in my piano, and my cats don’t even seem to notice the squeaking. Since I realized I had mice about a month ago, I have found a grand total of one dead mouse, with no marks whatsoever on it, and my current theory is that it died because Chamberlain, my Lazy Puffball of Doom, accidentally sat on it. Other than that, he and Dani, Empress of All She Surveys, have given no indication whatsoever that they even realize there are mice around. I guess I’m going to have to get out the humane traps and take care of things myself.

    As for being upset about “animal cruelty” – whatever. I have had plenty of pet rodents – mice, hamsters, rabbits – and I have very much enjoyed them and would be very angry at any human harming them for harm’s sake. However, I have also had my home severely damaged by mice and raccoons in the past 6 months. I have removed them humanely when possible, but I am not going to get angry at my cats if they ever get up off their fuzzy butts and behave like the natural predators they are. Hunting is an instinct for them, and I’m not going to fault them for it.

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