When The Electrician and I, tailed closely by a nasty little flu, headed out of town this past weekend, Leroy went to stay at a nearby friend’s house. Part of the joys of having a cat is the fact that most kitties can be left home alone for the weekend and are quite happy to have the house to themselves. Leroy tolerates but does not particularly enjoy solitude, and he had a lovely, snuggly weekend with my friend and her family.
This friend is a fabulous mother to a one year-old boy, and she’s recently returned to teach at the same school as me. If you saw her stop an obnoxious teenager with a single determined stare, you would think she is one of the fabled fearless females of comic book lore, born of a race of blonde, leggy warrior women who also happen to roast a mean ham. I was a shocked as anyone last week when she pulled me aside in the hallway at school to confide that her house had been invaded by –horrors– a mouse.
Growing up in the boonies meant mice crossed my path on a regular basis, and unlike spiders (shudder) mice don’t bother me much. My poor friend, however, was nearly beside herself even thinking about a mouse loose in her home. Last Thursday I helped her husband move furniture, hunt rodents, and place traps of various styles around their house, an exercise which resulted in the demise of the mouse shortly after I went home again to mark papers.
No sooner did my friend think she might be able to breathe again when another mouse, ostensibly the wife of the first, recently killed mouse, dashed through her living room while she was preparing for school on Friday morning. We had joked since the discovery of the initial mouse that perhaps she should acquire a cat to solve the problem, or at the very least borrow mine for a few days. When the second of who knows how many mice zipped across her hardwood floors, she extended an invitation for Leroy to visit the weekend.
Leroy has lived the plush life of a pampered house cat since I took him from my parents’ farm almost four years ago. Really, he won the lap cat lottery. His mother, Dusty, is the feisty little mammal that keeps my folks’ house free of rodents. She lives outside, refuses to sleep in her insulated cat house, and has frozen off most of her ears over the last decade’s winters. Nobody messes with Dusty. Although Leroy is a bit of a cream puff, I hoped his farm cat lineage would shine when he was faced with the challenge of the city mouse.
We picked Leroy up last night, me standing in the middle of the room and touching nothing but the cat in an effort to contain my plague. Alas, Leroy spent his entire weekend cuddling with anyone who sat down long enough to create a lap. My friend’s little guy, lover of all living things, took to Leroy right away, and the two were quickly buddies. They do have that drooling thing in common.
At one point a mouse was racing around my friend’s kitchen, gleefully taunting the cat and my horrified friend, and Leroy just watched. He seemed to find the whole situation amusing, but not interesting enough to stir him from the lap where he was so warmly entrenched. I am still hoping the mouse (mice?) decide it’s not worth sticking around a house with a feline sentry, no matter how useless, pack their tiny suitcases, and leave the neighbourhood forever. Clearly, Leroy is too gentle a soul to engage in bloodshed.
We’re not mentioning Leroy’s outright failure as a mouser, at least not in front of his mother. She would be devastated by his inability to carry on the family legacy. At least he’s cute, right?
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