67: Bad Kitty

67: Bad Kitty

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Bad Kitty

A cat sees no good reason why it should obey another animal, even if it does stand on two legs.

~Sarah Thompson

It was a beautiful sunny morning and I sat in my recliner, sipping my tea, watching the birds at the feeder on my deck. Sauza was perched on the chair next to me, intently observing the birds coming and going. I leaned forward to reach for my teacup when something moving on the floor caught my eye. It was a tiny mouse, slowly making its way across the carpet.

“Sauza! Mouse!” I cried. “Get the mouse!”

Sauza sat up and looked down to where my finger was pointing.

“It’s a mouse!” I shouted. “Get the mouse!”

By this time I was on my feet and the mouse had made his way under a chair.

After stretching leisurely, Sauza jumped down, sat, and focused his attention on the area under the chair. Within a few seconds, the mouse continued its journey and headed for the massive bookcase next to the fireplace.

“There he is! Get him!” I said. Sauza yawned. The mouse had already disappeared under the bookcase.

In disbelief, I shook my finger at Sauza. “Bad Kitty! You’re acting like a complete waste of fur!”

Sauza blinked at me with an innocent expression on his furry face. I narrowed my eyes at him.

“No kitty treats for you tonight!” He turned his back on me and proceeded to smooth an errant whisker.

That evening, when I told my husband Fred about the episode, he just shook his head. “Maybe mouse control wasn’t on his résumé.”

“I wonder how the thing found its way in here,” I mused. “This is the second story and it’s a big house.”

All evening I couldn’t stop thinking about the mouse lurking under the bookcase. How were we going to get him out of there? Then a thought occurred to me.

“Fred?”

My husband, concentrating on his laptop, muttered, “Uh-huh?”

“What’s the poor thing going to eat? There’s no food lying around here. We keep things put away. I don’t want him to starve to death!”

Fred looked at me with a raised eyebrow. “Let me get this straight — you want the cat to kill him but you don’t want him to starve to death?”

“No, I don’t want Sauza to kill him. I want him to catch him and turn him loose outside.”

“Right. Like that’s gonna happen,” Fred laughed. “At any rate, he’s not going to starve. There are plenty of crumbs and things around here for him to eat.”

As soon as Fred went up to bed, I put a peanut under the chair, back far enough so that Sauza couldn’t reach it. When I checked the next morning, the peanut was gone. This nightly offering became my guilty routine.

A few mornings later, I was back in my recliner, sipping my tea, watching the birds. Since it was an especially warm day, I had opened the deck door and Sauza was outside basking in the sun. All was peaceful and quiet until I heard a sudden commotion and jumped from my chair in time to see Sauza come racing into the kitchen with a bird in his mouth.

I yelled, “Sauza! Drop that!” And to my surprise, he did. I snatched the tiny sparrow from the floor and looked closely at it. No blood, thank God. But it wasn’t moving either. “I am so sorry,” I told it, before locking eyes on the cat. “Bad Kitty!”

Sauza looked offended.

“I hope you’re going to be okay,” I told the little bird.

I set it down in a potted rosebush outside and watched from the window. It took a few minutes but finally the little sparrow took off.

I turned to the cat. “I hope you’re satisfied. He’s going to need therapy for years,” I muttered. “You can’t catch a mouse strolling by, but you can snatch a bird out of thin air? You’re fired! No kitty treats for you until you get your act together.”

Sauza turned his back on me and coughed up several feathers.

The days passed with no evidence of the mouse except for the disappearing peanuts. Until this point, my husband hadn’t seemed all that concerned about the mouse but that changed one evening when I was out. Hearing Sauza playing with one of his cat toys in the kitchen, batting it around, throwing it in the air, then racing to catch it, Fred went in to watch the entertainment.

It wasn’t a toy. It was the mouse. As Fred watched, the mouse went sliding across the floor, flipped over on his back, his feet stuck up in the air, assuming a very believable dead pose. Fred grabbed a paper cup, intending to scoop him up and take him outside, when the mouse suddenly flipped back over and raced out of the kitchen.

“Get the mouse!” Fred yelled. Sauza curled up on the rug and took a nap.

Finally one morning I woke to find the mouse dead on my bedroom floor.

“Oh geez,” I murmured. “I’m sorry, little mouse.”

Looking him over I didn’t see any obvious wounds, so I calmed myself for a moment with the hope that it was a natural death. It was comforting to see that the little guy didn’t look underweight at least. The cat observed me with interest from the bed.

“Seriously,” I said. “You couldn’t have just escorted him in here and handed him to me?” No comment forthcoming. Sighing, I gathered the little body into a wad of Kleenexes. Sauza watched and then meow-yawned an obvious question.

“I’m very conflicted about this,” I told him. “We’ll talk about the kitty treats later.”

~Tina Wagner Mattern

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