The big hunter

MY Mouse! Ulysses says..

MY Mouse! Ulysses says..

In the last several years we have had a lot of mice come into the house. Not because they wanted to – they are hopefully not that stupid – but simply because they were brought in. With three cats going out into a fenced in garden, you would probably look at them and think that it would be the Maine Coon that was the hunter. Young, strong, perfectly camouflaged in subtle brown and dark tones. Alternatively, it could be the Somali – though old, still potentially a swift and lethal hunter. You would be wrong though… It is the Persian… White, fluffy, not too bright, not AT ALL camouflaged….
We just can’t figure it out. How does he do it?? He IS fast – for a Persian. He can snatch flies out of the air and he is incredibly food fixated. (That happens when you have cats that are prone to be overweight and you strictly limit their food intake..). Anything goes. Flies, spiders – even wasps – all get swiftly demolished and eaten. Tasty! He proclaims. Is Food, he explains slightly muffled while he crunches away. Ooohhh – Delicacy! He says jubilantly while spider legs wave about his head (we have BIG spiders). Need To Eat Fast Before SOMEONE Takes It Away, he comments darkly while staring at Penny and rapidly chewing his way through a mouse. He eats mice the same way a snake does. Whole, with the head going in first, moving the body from side to side – a bit like looking at an old style typewriter – with the tail disappearing down the gullet last. The whole thing takes him less than 20 seconds from start to finish. Truly impressive and why we worm him regularly.
Being a cat he naturally has to play with it first, though. For a cat he is amazingly gentle. When he plays and accidentally hits our fingers, there are never any claws there – just big, fuzzy paws. When he carries the mouse around, he carries it as gently as a mother carries her young. He puts it down, sits back – and stares expectantly at it. Needless to say, the mouse takes off – and he is in pursuit! This can go on for hours I am afraid. We tend to sleep quite heavily (necessary with so many cats), so it is usually more my unconscious mind that registers the squeaks of an angry mice and that they keep recurring throughout the night. By morning, we either get to witness the eating process, or we notice that all the cats are parked around a piece of furniture, intently staring at it to see what corner the mouse is going to come out from.
At least this is how it used to play out. Yesterday, I heard strange sounds from the bedroom, and when I went in there, I discovered that Ulysses had dutifully brought a very big, fat mouse into the house – and promptly had it stolen by the mittens. Ianthe and Izabelle are truly lethally fast. They are in a different league and once determined to get something none of the other cats will stand up to them. My initial response was to let them have the mouse – I am fairly hardened by now and will only rescue them if they are still in very good shape. But when I looked closer at the mouse, I discovered that there were a few holes in it – and that is not acceptable, so it was confiscated and gently put to sleep.
The cats’ response was entirely predictable. Where Did It Go, roared both Izabelle and Ianthe. Was Having Fun!! They shouted. More Mice, they then demanded, staring intently at Ulysses. And the big white hunter spread himself out comfortably and answered smugly: If You Are Lucky. And Nice. And Beg. Maybe. And I suddenly realised that Ulysses had decided that he was Uncle. And that his job is to provide the mittens with toys! Oh dear… is all I can say.

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