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A concerned reader As it has now bee...

A Mouse Astray | 19th August 2005, 22:25  
Gently, I kicked the small furry lump. I leapt above it as it rolled towards the armchair, twisting myself in midair so that it scurried into my waiting paws. The mice that live in this house are crafty young things, although their population has seemed to be decreasing recently. The only one I could find today had now made its way under the sofa; I lay on my back, paws outstretched for maximum reach. With a slight tap, my claws gained purchase and the mouse rattled towards me - strange how the outdoor mice never do that...

The eldest two sat watching the image box in the corner of the room. A curious cast iron contraption now adorns the fireplace; I found myself mesmerised by the hypnotic patterns of the flickering flames and all thoughts of the mice vanished from my mind.

And in a flash, silence.

The dancing flames of the fire died out and there was a muted whirr as it ceased producing heat – remarkable how nature can be controlled these days. The image box was non-functional and even the orange glow of the streetlamps through the window had disappeared.

In the instant of calm that followed, my eyes adjusted to the primitive darkness and the familiar shapes around me took form once again. The father had just enough time to let out a groan before a tremendous growl shook the house. My first thought was that it was Buster, the 8 foot Doberman who had chased me last night, but that was just a dream. The mother then commented about something called a thunderstorm, so I felt confident enough to let go of the valance above the patio windows.

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It was only a few minutes until the lighting returned and the image box began to spue its noise once more. Not being one for reality television I began my bolt upstairs; but was interrupted when a familiar smell hit my nose. Memories of the 7th annual p?t? festival at Hampton Loade crept into my mind, and I sharply reversed course back into the living room, where the treats awaited. I don't know why but the family have recently begun this new tradition, each day indulging me in a variety of culinary delights.

I rolled about on the floor, reaching out with my paws and kneading the air. I found that this man?uvre was especially good at melting the hearts of my house dwellers, who would then reciprocate with ample treats. Something however was decidedly peculiar about this new routine. After my attention was sufficiently engaged the father would leave the room and retrieve something from the kitchen, before opening the front door. Curiosity hadn't killed me yet, so I ducked out from beneath the mother's arm, which was now rubbing my stomach, and snuck out of the door. From my vantage point on the stairs I saw a father like figure through the stained glass of the front door, and as he opened the door to enter the house I saw her. A flush of anger rippled through me as my hair stood up; on hearing my hiss she looked up nonchalantly; but then the door was shut. What was he thinking? Was I the victim of an outrageous plot to deceive? I retired to by bed, bubbling with fury.

On consulting mother it would seem she was a stray from the park; an elderly cat of 19 whose owner died last year. It was puzzling how much my mother knew of this cat and it later turned out she was aware of the scheme and neglected to inform me because 'she knew I'd react this way'. I calmed a little, and accepted that other cats were not as fortunate as ourselves; but the thought couldn't escape my mind that there was something devious about that cat, something in the eyes...

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