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December 25th, 2005

I need to have a long talk with the cats.

We never planned to be ‘cat people.’ And then we moved to the country. Cats are something that happens to you, when you live in the country. Rather like the smell of cow manure. You can’t control your environment. You just have to live with it.

Right now, we have two cats: Fluffer and Mohawk. We have two by their decision, not ours. They have an uneasy truce with each other, and agree on only one thing. There will be no additional cats. Any interlopers are run off the property, post haste.

We do not keep these animals to run off other cats. We keep them to take care of mice. Preferably, mice inside the house. But yesterday, there was clear evidence of rodents in the kitchen. Rodents which are being ignored by our freeloading predators, in favor of premium dry cat food.

Fluffer is the cat on the inside. She should be the first line of defense. But when she finds mice, she generally brings them live to the livingroom to prove to us that she can mouse, expects us to admire how perfectly the grey of the average house mouse matches her fur, and then drops it live in the middle of the room so that we can all enjoy it.

Mohawk is a semi-retired barn cat who prefers to sleep in the middle of the guest bed all day, to stay fresh for nocturnal mousing in the yard. he was born feral, and has adopted me as his mother.

Which explains my Christmas gift this year. Five dead mice on the porch, offered as a holiday meal for the whole family. he stood in the circle of corpses, twitching his tail and said, “Bon appetit! If you’re not having any, I’ll start without you. but don’t say I didn’t offer.”

Mohawk’s not much of a cook, but he knows how to serve a family of four and still have left overs. I wonder if I could teach him to make fudge.