Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Spinal Pussycat

Spoiler warning: This particular post has nothing to do with Spinal Tap itself, nor with music or anything remotely cool in general. This one is about one strange cat. I'll get back to posting regular stuff soon (and of course, the archives are still full of real Blunderpop). This is just a bit of New Years' sentimentalism, I suppose.

Nothing ever happens here. And for once 'here' doesn't apply to the Blunderpop blog, but rather to my wordly home in Antwerp. Yesterday, we had a bit of Spinal Tap of our own there. Pussycat Spinal Tap, that is.

My wife and myself -who are leading perfectly normal, quiet, tax-evading lives- are currently serving two cats. The eldest doesn't cause much excitement ; Basje used to be one mean, territorial bitch but ever since her ovaries got sliced, she has become indifferent to the world. Sure, there will still be interfeline unpleasantness whenever her droit de seigneur over food and accomodation is being questioned and as far as kitty's occasional mood swings are concerned: that's why one keeps an antiseptic handy in the medicine cabinet. So now she's just mean.

Then there's the youngest, Wickie. There couldn't be more of a contrast with Basje. Here's a quickie on Wickie :

- clumpsy. This is a cat you can push over.

- easily distracted. Often by nothing in particular.

- stupid. When her own tail hits something, she goes bezerk.

- clever. In a very abstract, detached, lofty sort of way.

- extraordinarily talkative. If you want a pet that not only talks back to you, but actually comes and tells you stories, then this is the cat for you.

- ridiculously sweet. To humans as well as to other cats.

Wickie, Spinal pussycat par éxcellence

In short: she doesn't seem to get the idea that cats are supposed to be solitary, mean, haughty and slick animals. This is even more striking when you know that she's the daughter of Basje (her siblings ended up dead in my fridge, don't ask).

So it won't come as a surprise to you when I tell you that Wickie's resume as a predator is basically a blank. She did emerge victorious from several fierce battles with twigs, leafs and -on one memorable occasion- a semi-comatose moth, but anything else has been way beyond her hunting skills. Until yesterday, that is. Yesterday, Wickie caught a mouse. I don't know how she did it. Was it a one-off hiccup from her primal instinct? Or possibly the mouse was intoxicated after nibbling from some fermented fruit in the compost heap? Who will tell?

Anyway, there she was, standing in the kitchen with a wee little mouse tail dangling from her mouth. I already heard stories of cats bringing bits of prey to their bosses ("there you go sir, you must be starving.") / servants ("medium please, with a bit of Whiskas on the side"), but I also figured those animals'd be dead. But no, I should have known that Wickie doesn't abide to convention. So she dropped the mouse from the mouth, which was very much alive indeed. The latter happily rummaged through some oranges before Wickie picked it up again. Together, they moved to the first floor, possibly because she didn't like my wife an me anxiously hovering about. There, they had some more fun playing hide and seek together. Mind you: Wickie didn't make any attempt to hurt the mouse. No claws, no juggling, no chewing, no nothing. Just a keen interest and possibly -at least, I like to think so- the idea that she had made a new friend. And the mouse itself didn't seem to mind much either. So they got along nicely. Rumour -a glimpse in poor lighting- has it that Wickie actually gave the mouse a jolly good wash with her tongue. Fact is, that Wickie didn't want us anywhere near, which is in itself exceptional. Again: this is a cat that talks to you.

Not Wickie (but I was too stunned to take pictures so here's some stock photography)

Eventually, Wickie's limited attention span got the better of her and she finally lost track of (or interest in?) the mouse and it dissapeared. A few hours later my wife and me were dutifully watching TV when she suddenly calmly remarked: "I think I felt something move under that blanket." (you should know my wife is not exacty squeamish). And there it was. The mouse didn't have as much as a scratch and it calmly walked across the couch, checking us out. And it didn't seem in any hurry to run off either. In the end, I caught the mouse without much effort (it either was fearless or else it was paralysed with fear) and returned it to the wild in the back of our garden. Later that evening, Wickie suddenly remembered her new-found rodent friend and came to look for it. She seemed sincerely dissapointed that 'her' mouse wasn't around anymore. I think this cat needs a soul mate.

And in case you're wondering about Basje: she slept through it all.

Update: Wickie, the scourge of the savannah, has actually caught a second mouse, this time with lethal consequences. The wee rodent must have had an heart attack as it was otherwise unharmed. Anyway, the mouse is very much dead. Hence, Wickie (who is still upset about her now defunct toy) has been officially listed as a predator.

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