Kink the Cat has an endearing habit of bringing a toy, usually one of several stuffed mice, to the bedroom in the morning and having a little pre-dawn play. Kink rattles around the room tossing the toy and by the time we notice him, the alarm is shrieking and day has begun. Kink will continue to play while we shower, get the coffee started and prepare for the day.
Often, (OK, always!) I’m the last one up and Kink will hop on the bed and try to get me to play Toss the Mouse, a game that entails me tossing his toy across the room, causing him to dash off the bed, retrieve the mouse and return for another go. He can do this about a dozen times before I get tired of the game.
This morning the ritual started just before the alarm.
Bound, bound, bound. Leap, leap, leap. Toss, toss, toss. Accompanied by the little meow-purrs that Kink makes when he’s playing.
Meow-purr-bound. Meow-purr-leap. Meow-purr-toss.
Nice kitty, Kink, me tired. Go away.
Kink was insistent, digging into my bare back with his claws and pouncing around the bed chasing his imaginary prey. Then, as I rose to a minimal level of consciousness I felt something distinctly un-Kink like scrabble across my back.
I opened one eye. There on the floor in front of me was Kink, tail twitching, ears forward, looking alert.
There on my back behind me was the scrabbling.
Urrrrrough? No scrabbling on my back should there be. I propped myself on one elbow and looked behind me and there on the bed looking pretty pathetic and not scrabbling all that much was a good sized mouse.
Now, I’ve been to Disneyland several times. And never, not once, in all the times I’ve been to Disneyland have I seen a kid turn around, see Mickey Mouse and exclaim, “Holy shit!”
Just never happened.
However, I don’t live in Disneyland and Mickey Mouse doesn’t visit me all that often and that’s exactly what I said as I leapt out of bed, switching into Mouse Out of the House Mode!
I grabbed a wastepaper basket and a sock and scooped up the nearly comatose mouse , but missed the basket and he fell to the floor, crawling between the bed and the nightstand.
“Get the mousie!” I urged Kink, who surprisingly obliged and neatly hooked the critter and pulled him back.
That was enough for me to re-scoop mousie into the basket, scuttle to the back door and heave-ho my uninvited guest into the back yard. I figured he could fend for himself out there and just as I closed the back door the lawn sprinklers came on as if to add insult to injury.
(Yes, lawn sprinklers. In November. Houston, people, Houston!)
By this time my heart was racing, adrenaline pumping, coffee was brewing and I was awake. Might as well shower and get on with the day.
Calming down in the shower I had a chuckle at the image of old Kink dragging in a half-dead mouse and playing with it in my bed.
Ah, Kink, you are such a lovable skamp!
Toweling off and walking back to the bedroom there was Kink sitting on the bed all perky-looking and ready for some play.
At his feet, on my pillow was a large, even more near-death, wet mouse.
Kink gave me his Aren’t-I-Clever look and I was too not-awake to care. I picked up the mouse by the tail and headed to the kitchen. Kink bounded ahead of me, into the garage, out the cat door and waited in the back yard for another “go” at the mouse. By this time, though, mousey had passed to that Great Swiss Cheese in the sky and I unceremoniously disposed of him in a plastic bag placed in the dumpster in the street.
I looked at the clock. 7 AM. The day was young. I could see Kink out back prowling along the hedge swatting at grasshoppers. In the distance a young squirrel was making his way towards our oak tree to harvest some acorns. Kink spied him and crouched low.
I closed the garage door, then the curtains and poured myself a cup of coffee.
A few minutes later I thought I heard a high pitched squeak, but figured it was just the wind.
Yeah, just the wind.