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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Nova Scotia Part II -- Cat and Mouse

After walking back from the blueberry patch, the husband and wife ran across a cat, a beautiful barn cat with brown and black stripes. It tipped its head up and watched the couple swinging their arms, and then put his nose to the earth, burying it into the grass.

“He’s looking for mice,” said the man, who loved cats and couldn’t resist touching them. “Here kitty,” he said and ran his hand over its back and down the long fluffy tail. The cat stopped for a moment and looked up as if it were dreaming.

“Leave the cat,” the wife said, shooing her husband away. “Let’s see what he’s doing.” And sure enough, the cat pushed his nose back to the earth, separated the grass, and there, wedged between paws and dirt, was one mouse rump sticking in the air. The mouse had pushed its head beneath the grass as if to say, “If I can’t see him…”

With a single plunge the cat whipped the mouse into the air and trotted away. The husband and wife shuffled to one side to watch as the cat dropped the mouse between his paws and began batting it back and forth. Occasionally, he would pause and look lazily at the horizon, blinking. The mouse, with its tiny pumping chest, would dart. But in three strides the cat would have the mouse back.

“Why he’s only playing with it!” cried the wife. “He’s just torturing it.”

The couple watched as the cat held the mouse between his paws and began lightly chewing on its head, like rock candy. In a genius move, the mouse tipped its chin up, and bit the cat’s lip. The cat jolted back, with the mouse dangling. He shook his head, and the furry lip ring dropped, his little feet pelting the earth. Annoyed the cat pounced with force.

This game of cat and mouse continued for several minutes before the cat finally picked his small bundle of fur up and carried it like a kitten beneath a parked van. The husband and wife followed, riveted. They squatted close to the earth and watched as the cat rolled around a bit, pummeled the mouse some more, and then in a blink -- killed.

The wife saw the cat’s mouth working vigorously between two paws, the meal shrouded by the angle of the his body and the shadow of the van.

“Hear the crunching?” the husband asked, squinting and looking closely. This part didn’t take long. The eating lasted for about three bites, as quick as three swallows, as easy as a snack.
“Maybe that’s why he plays with it so long,” the wife said, shaking her head and waiting to see the cat trot away, satisfied and cute, transformed from carnivore to domestic. The husband chuckled.

“He needed to work up an appetite.” They walked back into the farm house.

“We saw a cat eating a mouse,” they told his Nanny, who was standing at the kitchen sink folding a tea towel.

“Oh did you?” she said. “That’s good. Mice eat the grain and chew on stuff around the farm. In the winter they get inside and leave messes in the cupboards.”


Blogger pk said...

Of the many fantastic word pictures here's my favorite:

"Occasionally, he would pause and look lazily at the horizon, blinking."

12:55 PM  
Blogger Keith.Drury said...

Your line: "waiting to see the cat trot away, satisfied and cute, transformed from carnivore to domestic. The husband chuckled."

Perhaps he chuckled because he himself had experienced a similar transformation VIA the wife ;-)

5:30 PM  

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