Atticus and the Vole

Wanna know why this guy is stuck outside, crying through the kitchen window for me to let him in?  And wanna know why, rather than letting him back in, I unsympathetically took his picture and posted it here on my blog?


This morning when I got up I immediately did a circuit of the house, opening windows and doors to let in the warm spring breeze.  For about an hour I enjoyed the fresh air circulating in my wake as I worked on my morning jobs.  Ahhhhh, Spring! Birds chirping, the smell of fresh grass clippings, sunshine flooding in, and...what was that?  Dammit, I'd know that off-key, long, moaning growl anywhere.  That's the sound of the cat, Atticus, bragging over a fresh kill.  And, double dammit, it's coming from the hallway in front of Isaac's bedroom.  Aaaarrrrgh!

You know, I've come a long way in dealing with the death-to-small-animals phenomenon that comes along with having a feline in the family, despite the fact that my first experience was a traumatic one.  Imagine being exhausted from a long day doing whatever exhausts you most, taking a hot bath, dressing in clean, sweet-smelling pj's, and then crawling into your fresh-sheeted, ultra cushy bed to cuddle down with your book and a purring cat wrapped around your feet.  You're in the cozy zone, right? Well, now replace the purring kitty with an off-key-moaning-growling kitty.  But still at the foot of your bed. Atop your freshly changed sheets, and your super luxe comforter.  Yep.  Slowly, suspiciously, sit up in bed, set aside your book, and place your glasses on your nose to get a better look at what is going on down there.  Notice the cat hunched over the tiny fluff of fur first, then the dark wetness and the lapping (lapping!), and finally the fact that (gasp!), the thing is in pieces! A mouse. A dead mouse. On the bed. In pieces. Now screech, leap, flap your hands, hyperventilate, pace, shudder, call your brother, and wail for help. Listen, disbelievingly, to your brother inform you irritably that it is after 11pm, deny your request for help, remind you (annoyingly) that you have dissected all forms of mammals small and large (remember that dolphin? that was awesome.) in your former life as a biologist, and wish you good luck in your clean-up effort. Click. 
Now clean up the mess.
Go to bed.
And follow that most universal and effective of advice - try not to think about it.

So, yes, I've come a long way. I no longer screech, wail, or shudder.  I stomp.  I no longer call my brother.  I scruff the cat, sling him out of the house, and head immediately back to the scene for clean-up.  When called for, I have a special spot in the yard where all fresh kills go to complete the circle of life (aka, the compost pile).  Luckily for today's victim (tiny-eyed vole), the compost pile was not needed.  He seemed uninjured, though seriously frightened, so I scooped him up and took him outside, wishing him better luck tomorrow, and promising him I would make the cat pay. 


  1. Atticus isn't showing off--he's bringing you presents and letting you know he's earning his place at the foot of your bed. It's hard work, clearing the entire yard of voles in the spring, but he'll do it, for you...

  2. I know, I'm lacking in the appreciation department. How do you think it would go over if I introduced him to the concept of a Gift Card?