A Mouse In The Dyson
27 January 2006
Mrs Monk does not leave the house without filling the many bird feeders to capacity, and also feeding the fish. All creatures are fed more than they require, just like the homo sapiens in the house. Thus, Mrs Monk is responsible for upsetting the balance of the tenuous food chain in our entire neighbourhood.
I nag Mrs Monk not to put out large offerings of bread on the picnic table, because that attracts the huge pigeons, or flying rats as Tom Learer called them. Mrs Monk is resilient. My concerns are ignored.
This Christmas, Mrs Monk gave me a bird watching book, as if I were the obsessive ornithologist.
I do admit to being charmed by the energetic finches and tits as they peck away at the bird feeders, but I cannot understand why they pick up at least six nuts and drop them on the floor before they find the one nut that they want, and then fly away. The fallen food does of course attract the attention of other wild life. Foxes have been attracted by the endless supply of food, and yes, the mice are back. The word has now been put about in the animal kingdom to check out the Monk’s back garden.
This is where Cat Flap Charlie should come into his own.
Cat Flap Charlie is no longer the lean and mean sex machine of old, since that impulse has been detached with a sharp veterinarian blade, but his other catlike interests continue to flourish. Charlie enjoys a nice mouse.
Charlie gets plenty of “Sheeba” cat food, as much as we know he should get, and any more that he can beg from us, and our neighbours.
So Charlie has no culinary interest in mice. To him they are play things and gifts for Mrs Monk, and since Charlie is no longer the predatory killer that he was before he had his balls chopped off, he now prefers to offer Mrs Monk a live mouse.
Charlie is not a prowler like most other cats. He likes to dart about from place to place. He prefers to enter the building dynamically, through the cat flap, like a missile This week I watched him do just this. He ran passed me and came to a screeching halt before Mrs Monk. Mrs Monk had been relaxing on a chair in the kitchen, but at this point she began to scream the house down, in that stereotypically girlie way. A wagging mouse tail was hanging out of Charlie's mouth; a live one.
I stepped into action, wishing to avoid the release of live vermin into the sanctity of our home. I picked up Charlie and put him, and the mouse, outside. The mouse escaped, a happy ending.
Last weekend before we left for London, Mrs Monk noticed a diligent Charlie stalking the Vacuum Cleaner. We drove to London, shopped at Selfridges, had Lunch, went to an Art Show, and returned home, where we discovered that Charlie was still stalking the Dyson.
Mrs Monk took Charlie into the Living Room while I lifted up the vacuum cleaner. I was able to pick up the stunned mouse and release him back into the garden, to fight another day.
The following day another mouse, (or maybe the same mouse), was again released into the house for some more cat and mouse sport, with Charlie. This time the mouse got into an umbrella, and I was able to shake out the umbrella into another garden, on the other side of the house where Charlie was unlikely to find him. The mouse scuttled off and looked back at me once over his shoulder, before he made his escape.
The following day yet again Charlie was seen stalking the Dyson. Charlie laid on his back with an arm disappearing under the machine. It seemed inevitable that he would catch the mouse, but the clever rodent had an emergency exit. He entered the Dyson, where he was able to taunt Charlie for as long as it would take. Clear plastic is a design feature of the Dyson, and this enabled the mouse to look out, and for Charlie to look in. The mouse would appear to have made himself at home, plenty of vacuumed crumbs to sustain him for some time, and a room with a view through those high tech designer windows on the world.
I placed the vacuum cleaner outside and hoped the mouse would agree to leave.
Two days later and we have not yet dared to use the Dyson.