Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Real life

Louie brought in a rat the other night. This doesn't qualify as news around here. Louie, a handsome marmalade cat, has always been a keen sportsman. I find the bodies of wee hummingbirds and sweet song singers much more distressing than those of mangled rodents. The biggest thing he's drug home to date was a baby possum--but that's another story.

Back to the latest rat escapade. Unfortunately, the most recent prize was not dead. Not even seriously injured. It's chilly outside and Louie might well have decided a spot of indoor sport was just the thing. He doesn't talk much about his motivations--more a man of action.

I have no idea when he brought in the rat. Ignorance really is bliss in these cases. However, ignorance left, and so did any semblance of bliss, a few nights ago when I wandered out to the kitchen after dark to get a drink of water. I flipped on the light and startled the marauding rat on his way across the cooktop. He scrambled for the back of the fridge. I tore down the hall, setting a new indoor speed record at chez Lorraine, snatched Louie from his happy nap time and tossed him onto the range (it was completely cold) where the fat bottom and creepy hairless tail could still be seen as the rat struggled to wedge himself behind the fridge. Louie refused to even look at the vermin, yawning and protesting about the discomfort of the glass cooktop. The rat disappeared and I let Louie down with stern words about his slipshod methods of dealing with invaders.

Louie stalked off, clearly offended, flinging a snide "whatever" over his right shoulder. This was in the form of a meow, but I knew what he meant. Katie, the over-grown puppy, arrived fresh from her after dinner nap bounced up and down a few times and sniffed meaningfully at the bottom of the fridge, whining softly. Hard to tell, but I think she wanted the rat to come out for a nice game of chase. The rat declined. For all intents, the refrigerator is immovable. Eventually, we all went to bed and forgot about the rat.

The following morning the rat was crouched on top of the microwave having a bit of breakfast he'd salvaged from the garbage disposal. Again, I raced down the hall and yanked Louie from his slumbers and dumped his fat butt rudely on the kitchen counter. This time he spotted the rat, who promptly disappeared behind the microwave. Hastily, I moved the coffee pot to the sink and pulled the microwave away from the wall to give Louie room to work.

The cat loomed toward the cowering rodent, powerful rear haunches bunched, tail twitching, making Kung-fu sounds deep in his throat. The rat, obviously sensing impending doom, leapt to the top of the microwave and then launched himself across the kitchen. Touching down lightly on the dining room table before executing another amazing jump and vanishing behind the stereo cabinet. Louie streaked past me, screeched to halt, and then huddled down in stakeout position.

Of course, the commotion woke the puppy. She trotted out, and then butted Louie playfully with her nose. He made grumbling sounds that translated "go away kid, you're bothering me." But since this is what he always says, she doesn't pay attention, continuing to nudge him. The cat gave up on his sentry duties and meandered over to his dishes for a bite of breakfast.

That was the last rat sighting. This morning two pictures, out of the dozen on the fireplace mantle, lay on the tiles--glass shards everywhere. Evidence the rat moved south and was likely lurking behind a bookcase.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hummingbirds?! How exotic! I'm lucky to see an asthmatic sparrow in my neck of the woods :..(

10:29 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

There are several varieties of hummingbirds in this area along with sparrows (non-asthmatic LOL) robins, bluejays, crows, seagulls, pigeons, chickadees, woodpeckers, occassionally hawks, eagels, and herons. Ducks and Geese are temporary residents. I'm sure you have plenty of wildlife too--just different varieties.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we have our fair share -- it is quite beautiful, in its northern England kind of way. We have variety -- magpies, finches, tits, kestrels, seagulls, pheasants, partridges, crows etc... but no hummingbirds, which have always fascinated me.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

I forgot the finches, lovely singers too.

In late summer the garden yields a large stand of crocosmia v. Lucifer. The flowers are a hummingbird favorite. They're surprising agressive over feeding rights. When Lucifer's season is past the hummingbirds continue to arrive, clicking disapprovingly before zooming off to the honeysuckle or some other third rate choice.

1:12 PM  

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