My Cat Killed Her First Mouse!
And lo, a miracle was wrought this day
Polly the Demon Queen is my cat. Today, she became the most adorable murderer I’ve ever met.
Before I met Polly, I wasn’t exactly a cat person, because I was a dog person. I wasn’t anti-cat. I liked cats fine! But I knew my heart wanted a dog.
Then during the first lockdown in 2020 in Los Angeles, I decided to foster a large adult cat because it seemed easier and cheaper than fostering a dog. Obviously I immediately adopted her and thus became a cat person. I am still a dog person. I encompass worlds.
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I’m sure Polly - who began life ON THESE STREETS!!!! - has killed before. Just not in my house. She’s often around my parents, one of whom craves her love and one of whom couldn't give a shit. She seems to find them both irritating at best, and threatening at worst (like when they make direct eye contact or try to pet her) which is when she hisses at them. I have repeatedly sent them Jackson Galaxy videos and explained that they should simply not engage with her.
“Just act like she’s not there,” I said. “Cats like their space. Let them come to you. If they don’t, it’s not personal.”
One parent is capable of accepting this very clear information, and the other is not.
Anyway, I spend a lot of time with my family, and I have a cat I’m obsessed with, and if I weren’t so incredibly appealing, you might think this would limit my social options. Actually, I am much in demand by the local deer but prefer to eat Triscuits and try to count how many children Sonny has sired on General Hospital, thank you!!!
Today, the power imbalance in my blended family of origin and choice is now tilted even fucking further in the direction of my cat, who will be 11 years old on February 15th because I decided that’s her birthday.
I know you’re wondering if I made my cat an Aquarius because she’s gorgeous and completely chaotic, and the answer is “duh.”
I emerged from my bedroom today and accidentally kicked something with my bare human foot. It was a small something, and after a brief glance I took it to be a cat toy. I continued on my merry way, taking out the recycling, drinking more espresso, changing the cat litter, being an irresistible human being suffused with sensuality and intellectual prowess, yet so grounded and humble!
Later in the day, I said to myself, “Let’s get the mail.” And then I did that, too. As I walked back to my bedroom, my foot hit the thing outside my bedroom door again.
“I should pick that up and put it in the basket of cat toys where I’m sure it lives,” I said to myself. So I scooped it up WITH MY BARE FUCKING HAND and gazed into the eyes of an absolutely adorable, perfectly formed, formerly alive, neatly disemboweled, not-at-all-synthetic, very dead mouse.
(I did not take a photograph. I respect the innocent when they are alive and dead).
Reader, when I tell you it was the sweetest-looking little mouse in this world, I am not exaggerating. This was some idealistic child’s vision of a mouse. This was no creepy creeper. This was a movie mouse. It was giving Stuart Little if he could serve, which - I will be honest - he could not. He was cute, don’t get me wrong! But he wasn’t giving. This mouse was giving.
This mouse was a storybook mouse in a Caldecott Medal-winning tale about love that becomes a core memory because you’re five and you get the book for Christmas or Hanukkah or your birthday or holiday of choice and your parents aren’t divorced yet. They may even have still loved each other when your mom said, “Look what I got our little one!” and showed your dad the book, and he gave a half-hearted grunt. Was that a grunt of hope? Did that special little book extend the life of your parents’ sputtering, dying marriage? Maybe! At the very least, that book helped you figure out it was okay to feel feelings, at least when Father wasn’t around.
The moment this mouse expired on my carpet, the American Library Association felt a goose walk over its collective grave (dug by Republicans!!!!) and angels guided this mouse home. You know the angels I mean!
Now, I get up to use the facilities approximately 10,000 times per night. Yes, I am fine, probably. But anyway, when I do so, I often forget to shut the door to my bedroom. This means the cat gets out and goes on nighttime prowls around the abode. I’m glad for her, because all Americans need to be less sedentary. I thought this was just a harmless little girlish hobby, like quilting or ballet or protesting other women’s rights to have control over their own bodies.
But now I realize - she was hunting.
This afternoon, I looked at the dead mouse IN MY NUDE UNPROTECTED HAND and it honestly looked a lot like Muffy Mouse from Today’s Special. I couldn’t help but marvel at the absolute surgical precision with which my adorable giant cat had extracted its teensy tiny intestines. I mean, this was no haphazard, senseless murder. This was an episode of Hannibal art-directed by Leonard da Vinci. This was art.
Then I realized I probably had hantavirus or something and dropped it. I washed my hands, picked the mouse up in a plastic bag, sealed the bag, and took it to Heaven, saying a tiny silent mouse prayer for its precious soul. Then I washed my hands again.
Now here is what’s wacky. Since engaging in the sacred duty (murder) God Herself gave my sweet Polly when She intelligently designed cats, Polly has been acting a little different. She hasn’t hissed at my parents. She hasn’t acted scared when they walk close to her. She has been hanging out really close to the pantry, a lot.
As I write this, ignoring that Chevy Chase movie people always put on around this time of year, considering whether or not to reheat the tacos stored in the fridge, I feel a warmth in my tummy and indeed in my own mousey little soul. My cat is a fucking killer, and I probably am soon to die of mouse bacteria, but I have lived and I have loved and I have known what it is to feel.
We can all half-heartedly grunt to that.