During our hot summer months, part of my Neighbourhood Watch routine includes, not just playing with my “hoodies”, but I have to ensure all the children are tucked up safely in bed, plus every night I hiss at old man bushy-tail, a Brush Tailed Possum. He’s a big boy so my hiss is very polite, not because I’m cowardly, but he is at least double my weight, grumpy and highly territorial. Years ago I made the wise decision never to upset him too much as the noises he makes would give my all-time hero, Chewbacca, the heebie-jeebies!
I always end my evening walkabout in our neighbour’s back garden. They have two beautiful Australian Tiffanies but, as they are house cats, we have had to become friends through their back windows. My nightly visits assure them that all is well with the tiny world they look out on. Little do they know that at the very end of their garden behind their Dad’s shed is my favourite place to visit.
The Mulch Bin
It is like a huge upside down green wheelie bin with a big hole in the bottom and a lid on the top. (By the way, I think wheelie bins should be banned, not only are they hazardous to felines who get trapped in them but also they make scary noises when being moved out to the street for the big trucks to come and empty them.) The neighbours fill their mulch bin with garden clippings, leaves, grass, leftovers and scraps from the kitchen, some paper and straw. Yes, I had to look it up on Google but, eventually, the bin makes compost which is really good stuff to put around plants as it is full of nutrients and is a natural fertiliser. (Who said that the internet wasn’t useful?)
Field mice, looking for a warm and cosy home, escape from the park which is just over the fence and is way too busy with dogs being walked and kids playing games. They take up residence under the bin every winter as the compost is warm. Mice being mice do their mice thing (I think they are bored) and within weeks there are lots of baby mice! It has to be one of nature’s miracles! Cats being cats do their cat thing, depopulate the world of mice because they remind us of our toys!
I’m a very patient cat and some nights I have to sit for two or three hours before I catch my prey. I use this time to ponder about such things as who makes the warm or cool air that blows down through our ceiling at home? How does it know whether to make warm or cool air? Are there really elephants in the moon, as @_Shuffs_ says? Where does the sun go when it sets? I wish huMum would get me an iPad so I could take it with me when I’m sitting, being patient, waiting for a curious mouse to stick its head out of the bottom of the much bin.
“Gotcha! No, no, no don’t squiggle. I promise I don’t want to hurt you. You are a present for my huMum. Shhhhh stay quiet, no squeaking or she will hear you.” Up the fence we go and then over onto neighbour’s roof and the long walk home to my roof, down onto the fence again and we are back to the patio.
In through the cat-door and I announce “HuMum we are home! Mum, mum, HUMUMMY look what I’ve got for you.” Very excited but muffled miaows emit from the sides of my mouth. “Yes it is for you but just let me play with it for a little while.” Woohoo huMum is joining in on the game. She is chasing me and I am chasing the mouse. We zoom around the dining room table, in and out through the chair legs, across the kitchen floor into the living room. Oh dear, the mouse is under the sofa. Uh oh huMum is making those muttering sounds that mean she is not happy, but she lifts the sofa and I dash under and grab my mouse. Damn huMum, in turn, has caught me! “Nope I will not give it to you,” I say. Darn it all, she has my mouse. “What it is dead? I promise you I didn’t mean to kill it. I just squeezed it too hard.”
HuMum locks me in the bathroom for 10 minutes. I make pitiful miaows and when let out I do my mad cat zoomy run to the living room and search for the mouse. It has gone! I look at huMum accusingly but she has gone back to watching the television. I’ll pay her back for making my mouse disappear. Yes, I know it was huMum’s present but it was still mine! All mine I tell you!
Easily solved I’ll just go and get another one! And so the cycle continues. I think my best record was four in one evening. The last of which I left on huMum’s bed for her to find when she woke up! She thought it was Christmas! NOT!
I think our best anecdote was when huMum was preparing for a dinner party happening the following evening. Just as she was making the gazpacho soup, I arrived home with a fairly big mouse hanging out of my mouth. To my delight there was a really long chase and I think I escaped capture about five times but, in my agitation, I accidentally dropped the mouse just near the refrigerator. HuMum was not impressed as she struggled to move the fridge out, but the wily old mouse just moved each time the fridge moved. “It is ok, I will stand guard all night,” I promised huMum, “You go and have a sleep.” She left all the doors onto the patio open that night in the hope that I would fall asleep on guard-duty and the mouse would escape. Ha! She has no idea what a good sentinel I am!
The next night I was banished to the bedroom so I didn’t get under the feet of the guests or shame huMum by jumping on the dining room table while they were eating. This is what I was told happened…
The meal was over and everyone was mellow from good food and a couple of bottles of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon, the lights were dim and warm air drifted in from the patio. Suddenly, one of the female guests let out an almighty SCREAM! “A mouse just walked across your kitchen floor,” she gasped! HuMum, although embarrassed, calmly told her guests how her beautiful Jessie (that’s me!) had lost one of her mice presents. She promised them it was a very clean, wee field mouse and would not hurt anyone.
The mouse must have escaped because it was not there when I was let out of my bedroom exile. HuMum, as she did the dishes and I sat on kitchen bench watching, told me the entire story. She was laughing so much tears were rolling down her cheeks. I was given lots of cuddles and got soapy suds all over me but I didn’t mind as her final words proudly rang in my ears, “Jessie, my darling, you are the best security guard cat and mouser/ratter in all of Australia!”
Nap time, bye-bye for now!