A cat, mouse and dog story

My cat is a jerk. Though I call him Boris the Bad Cat, he’s not really bad. He’s just a cat. It’s how they are.

The other night, there was some scrambling and thumping in the other side of the house. Boris, it seemed, had found a mouse.

When our west exterior wall was suddenly infested with carpenter ants (apparently quite common in the western Catskills), we called in the exterminators. In their usual up-selling way, they convinced us we should also put out bait to kill the field mice which scramble in our walls in cold weather.


After finding one dead mouse, I had a change of heart. I realized that not only were we killing animals that really didn’t bother us particularly, but we were killing owls and other animals that eat them. And we might be killing the bats who are somewhere in or near our attic. They don’t bother us, either, and they do an enormous amount of good outside.

I didn’t want to do any of that. So we removed the traps, and the mice have returned. This one, unfortunately, was spotted by Boris.

Boris doesn’t kill mice. Not for awhile, anyway. Like most cats, he “plays” with his victim. There was a mad scramble around the house, which ended up in a dead end – the downstairs bathroom.

At this point, Violet Wiggins, the cattle dog/shepherd/mongrel, decided to investigate. She and I both arrived at the bathroom at the same time.

Boris had the mouse cornered, and before I could even formulate a plan, Violet had acted. In a flash, she’d grabbed the mouse in her mouth, and came out of the room. Again, quicker than I could process what had happened, she looked up at me, and dropped the mouse at my feet. He was very much alive, and very shaken by what had just occurred in his mousey life.

Before he could take off, I grabbed his tail. And in an undignified inverted position, he found himself carried outside and deposited in the safe covering of the leaves under the lilac bush.

Boris, my cat, is a jerk. But Violet Wiggins is one class act.


Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.

There are 2 comments

  1. Jo

    I know it’s in jest, but still, Cats are not jerks. Because so many people have a disdain for felines, we don’t need to further it. There are plenty out there that feel justified to throw, kick, or dump cats. Felines have been vilified too long and don’t deserve it. Most domestic cats will bring people their catch, sometimes dead, but more often alive. Dogs will often kill whatever comes into their yards, including possums, raccoons, and sometimes cats. Mice can carry parasites and harmful bacteria. Maybe they could be encouraged to live further out in a “hot” compost bin, away from Boris? Peppermint might deter them a bit and I’m sure other readers know some mouse control that doesn’t negatively impact wildlife.

    1. Leonard Malltin

      Domestic-cats, like sheep, cattle, horses and pigs, European-starlings, purple loosestrife and the new murder-hornets, are not indigenous to this country. As Clint Eastwood said as he pointed a shotgun at Gene Hackman’s head in “Unforgiven”: “‘Deserve’ has nothing to do with it.”

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