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Cat owners know, the great outdoors doesn’t always stay there

By Staff | Apr 30, 2014

My house has a mouse problem.

This is funny, because I have a cat. Actually, I have three cats – two of which are avid hunters.

This is why I have a mouse problem.

Okay, I should probably better explain for the non-cat-owners among us: Nothing brings the outdoors in like a cat. You’d think a dog would be worse, but – no. Both dogs and cats bring in mud, ticks, fleas, burs and stick-tights, but only a cat shows up at the door with something in her mouth and a pleased expression on her face.

Fine, a dog will too, but usually it will be a stick or a really gross and unidentifiable thing. Cats like to bring in things that once wriggled. I’ve found – and thrown away – many little furry and feathered corpses that have appeared in the garage or by the back door. There’s nothing to be done about this. Cats are, by nature, hunters, and cats will hunt regardless of what humans have to say about it.

The problem I have is not with the dead things. The problem I have is with the things that are still struggling.

Of the two hunting cats I have, one of them can meow with her mouth full, the other refuses to catch anything normal. The first has repeatedly meowed to come in with a wildly flapping bird in her mouth, a struggling chipmunk or a terrified bunny. Usually, these things get taken away before she gets inside – or they escape. I have seen many a terrified animal hurl itself from our deck to the yard below. But every once in a while she manages to get something in the door. Last time it was a small mouse, which promptly escaped and hid behind a bookshelf. My parents and I spent ten minutes trying to catch it while the cat sat on a chair and laughed at us.

The second cat won’t, as I mentioned, bring home anything normal. Mice, voles and birds you’d expect from a cat. But this cat refuses to catch anything so blase. This cat brings home snakes – garden snakes, black snakes, and one very small baby copperhead. She’s brought home frogs and toads. She spends summers by the creek trying to catch mudpuppies and sticks her paws down crawdad holes. She even caught a bat once. I have no idea how she managed that, because the bat showed no signs of being ill. It proved, in fact, to be quite healthy and very, very angry. They make this hissing-screech noise when they’re angry. It’s really intimidating, even coming from an animal that weighs less than a box of paperclips. I filed that interesting fact under: “Things the Discovery Channel Doesn’t Tell You,” just after ‘A Nine Foot Fall Will Not Kill a Bunny’ and in between ‘Frogs Scream’ and ‘Birds are Not Afraid to Bite You.’

Ah, the things you learn when you live with cats.