Wednesday, January 14, 2009


LeRoy ate a mouse this morning. A whole mouse. I was happy he caught it (in the mudroom) because I don't want mice in the house if we can help it, but also horrified at the spectacle and the suffering.

About three weeks ago, I started putting LeRoy into the mudroom at night. Well, to be truthful, I put him in there several times throughout the day. He is full of kitten-powered energy and Clare and I get tired of him. He rarely sits still, hardly ever naps, and mostly prowls around looking for trouble. He jumps Clare and attempts to eat her head. Clare yowls and screams and hisses and then the two of them gallop across the floors and crash into all the stuff that is still laying around. If he isn't pestering Clare he is pawing at my necklaces that hang artfully from the old planter, or he is up on the bathroom sink looking for something to bat around--maybe a bottle of medicine that he can knock under the dresser. You get the idea.

For the past two days when I opened the mudroom door to get more wood for the fire, instead of finding him asleep in his pile of old sweaters on top of the potting bench I've found him crouching by an old box that sits in the corner. Uh oh. Mouse alert.

This morning when I opened the door he was playing with a terrorized and injured mouse. He seemed tentative about biting down hard on the moving mouse, but of course he wasn't letting it go, either. I thought I would take the poor thing outside and let it die quietly behind the woodpile--they say freezing to death is not a bad way to go. When I went to pick it up, however, LeRoy was having none of it. It was his mouse. He became resolute and took a good hold of it with his mouth. I opened the door to the outside and he took it out there.

It was a clear, cold morning with a good covering of snow on the ground. The cold air and the expanse of Outside seemed to trigger a more serious response from LeRoy toward his prey. He trotted off with the mouse and I let him. Of course he didn't go far--he took it around to the side porch onto the scrap of rug in front of the glass doors. And there he proceeded to eat that mouse. I watched for a brief moment, just to be sure that it was really happening, and then I turned away. Jeez, all this before coffee.

Next time I looked there was no mouse. And no blood. Nothing. Except a cute little kitten begging to come inside.

You know how you feel when you watch Nature on PBS and the hawk or the fox hasn't eaten in a week and really needs to catch something, so you root for it while it chases the bunny, but when it catches the bunny you feel terrible about the suffering that ensues? But the predator finally got a meal so you are happy...but the bunny had baby bunnies so you are sad...
Finally you end up sighing with the realization that life is hard here. Existence is a rough game. No getting around it.

LeRoy wasn't starving, but he did what predators do. I guess I was glad that he actually ate the mouse instead of killing it and letting it go to "waste." I don't mind that he keeps the mouse population down, but this spring I hope I don't find bird remains. Someone asked me once if we were going to put up bird feeders near the house. I said No. No we are not. Binoculars work just fine, thank you.

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