Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tater's Big Day


Big day in the Tater Brewster household. That's what her name is at the vet, but nowhere else--she just goes by the one name, like Cher, or Madonna. Or God. Tater has just accomplished the thing she's been training for her whole life. We don't know just how old she is; she was nearly full-size when we picked her up, but we don't know how many previous owners she'd run through, for being too much cat. We almost took her back to the Humane Society that first week too. "We wanted a little less cat," we planned to explain apologetically. "Something with a little less cat and a little more more ottoman in it."

That first time we saw her at the Humane Society, she was pinballing a toy mouse around in a room full of snoozing cats. She smacked the mouse under the door into the hall where she couldn't retrieve it, and we sent it back under for her, but kept looking. Personally, I was looking for something more speckly. But none of the speckly numbers had much joie de vivre. This one was jammed right up to here with joie de vivre. We took her home. Her joie only multiplied. Everything in the house was battable. The only time she wasn't  knocking things off shelves, she was climbing on our heads or gnawing on our hair or spindling our eyebrows out of pure, uncontrollable affection. Her favorite thing was smacking toy mice under the refrigerator, or under a closed door.

But she never saw a real one until last week. And by gum if she didn't nab it and carry it around in her mouth. This is where the previous cat, (Saint) Larry, used to fall down on the job. She would strut around with the mouse and then set it down and look around the room in case there was any praise or admiration in it. She'd sweep her head around as though she was getting a lifetime achievement award, and when she looked down again, the mouse would be gone. Every time.

Tater had a feeling about this mouse long before she nabbed it. She was acting all fidgety and spending way too much time nosing around the baseboards. It was either a mouse, we thought, or an impending earthquake. And the thing about things that impend is you can never rule them out. But this time, we're going with mouse. Inasmuch as she finally came up with one. Dave was the witness. She nabbed it, stuck it in her mouth, and trotted into another room with it, and set it down. And lost it. There was really no place for a mouse to go in that room, except somewhere in the folds of the quilts that we sit under to watch TV.

There's never much on TV anyway.

But later, there she was with it. She'd gotten it back, and this time she had done something instinctual to it, and it was a much reduced rodent. Battable. And she batted it under the door. Went to the other side and batted it back. We let her keep this up for a couple minutes before Dave intervened to dispatch the poor critter.

Tater always knew this day would come. With every twitch of her dreaming paw, she knew. She was like Homo erectus gazing out over the savannah and visualizing being a billionaire venture capitalist. Finally she had fulfilled her genetic promise. Her legacy as a carnivore was now enshrined, frozen solid in a plastic bag at the bottom of the garbage can.

We don't approve of letting domestic cats murder native wildlife, no matter how much it entertains them. That's why we don't send her outside to help the thick population of subsidized neighborhood cats with their songbird eradication project. But we're willing to make an exception for wildlife found pooping in our dishwasher.

58 comments:

  1. Good for Tater! She looks formidable in that last picture, Murr. With claws and everything! :-)

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    1. Including two of her new rubber claw covers with which we hope to save any new furniture we get.

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    2. Somehow I've never seen you as the type to polish your cat's claws, so I'm glad to see that red is rubber.

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    3. It's bad enough I'm APPLYING nails, isn't it?

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  2. Our Satchel - who looks exactly like Tater, by the way - used a tried and true method of laming one leg so the mouse would still be fun, but unable to get away. Horrific.
    Now that he's almost 17, life has slowed. All naps, all the time.

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    1. Yeah, this one was disabled nicely. The front paws just dragged. It's hard to watch.

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  3. Good job, Tater!

    At least she didn't proudly bring her catch to you in bed in the middle of the night, like my 110%-cat Persephone has done... (To a Crazy Cat Lady like myself, there is no such thing as too much cat; the more the better. Well, most of the time. ;) ) Twas a completely de-activated mouse, thank all the gods and little fishies. Which, now that I think about it, might have been why it was delivered to me in the first place. "Make it go again, please, lady-momma?"

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    1. That's what Larry used to say. She'd be attempting to play and then our dog Boomer would notice what was going on and pick that mouse up and shake it and that was that. Then Larry kept batting at it and saying "make it go."

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  4. My Amalthea was an excellent mouser. One day she found and played with one until it sat up on it haunches, front paws folded together in prayer, and looked at her like it was begging for its life. She leaned down and bit its head off.

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    1. Nature rules, but I don't necessarily want to watch it all the time.

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  5. Also, she and the lazy cat, Dempsey, brought a mouse into the house once. Try catching a mouse in a coat closet while throwing two cats out of the closet over and over. Then there was the time the mouse they were playing with ran up (the outside of) my pants, under my jacket and down my sleeve. I didn't have the heart to hand it over to the cats, so I shook it out onto a tree branch while the cats were investigating my feet.

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    1. I would think that would take a nice bit of personal control. Congratulations! Except for the outdoor-cat part, which Murrmurrs, Inc., officially disapproves of, but that doesn't mean we don't like YOU.

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  6. You are so lucky! Bubonic plague will never be rampant in your house thanks to Tater.

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    1. At best bubonic plague could only nail two of us here, so there's limits to its rampantry.

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  7. Creatures in the house are fair game. Way to go Tater!

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    1. I agree. They're still cute though. I wonder, in those parts of the country that suffer indoor ladybugs and stinkbugs, do people's cats go after them?

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  8. I take it you do not use your dishwasher very much?

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    1. Well, I refuse to run it until it's full, and there's just the two of us, but we eat a lot, so--twice a week?

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  9. Yay for Tater. And all cats who achieve their life long goals.

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    1. Now she's saying her lifelong goal involves a bunch more mice.

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  10. Well done, Tater! Back in the days when I still had cats, only one mouse ever had the temerity to get in the house. I found its soggy corpse in the hallway one morning, with not a mark on it. I figured it either died of a heart attack when it realized there were five cats in the house, or else it drowned in cat spit. Either way, I counted it a win.

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    1. Oh yeah! And it's hard to drown in cat spit.

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  11. Our Indoor cats are a godsend if we get any kind of creepy crawly in the house. Their spidey senses start tingling before we ever suspect a thing. I try to rescue whatever it is before they can maim it, and put it back outside. That's the one thing about cats that I don't like - they are masters of torture.

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    1. They are indeed. It's hard to reconcile with all the good parts.

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  12. I got up in the middle of the night to see why my cats were knocking into chairs. I turned on the light and froze the action in the ring: two cats, head to head and peering benignly at a trembling mouse between them. If it attempted to leave the ring, wack, back in the middle. They kept it prisoner while I went to the kitchen for a glass, returned to capture it and put it outside. I doubt it ever came back in the house, although others have. They just didn't live to tell the story, like the very interesting first mouse.

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    1. I never thought about the possibility of a mouse-off because we never had two cats at once. The mind boggles.

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  13. "We almost took her back to the Humane Society that first week too. "We wanted a little less cat," we planned to explain apologetically. "Something with a little less cat and a little more more ottoman in it."

    That? Is THE FUNNIEST thing I've read in weeks!

    And then, this, slayed me:


    "Tater always knew this day would come. With every twitch of her dreaming paw, she knew. She was like Homo erectus gazing out over the savannah and visualizing being a billionaire venture capitalist. Finally she had fulfilled her genetic promise. Her legacy as a carnivore was now enshrined, frozen solid in a plastic bag at the bottom of the garbage can."

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    1. She's actually a little calmer now. Like, now that she's checked The Big One off the list, the heat is off. She would happily play with another unfortunate mouse someday, but she's got a lot of satisfaction on her now.

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  14. Wait....rubber claw covers??? Tell me about these.

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    1. "Soft Paws." They're rubber claws that you glue onto the originals with nail glue and presumably protect your upholstery. We haven't gotten it down yet. They're supposed to grow out after two weeks, but eight of hers lasted five minutes and the remaining two (pictured) are nearly a month old. We hope to get better at application. She is fine with it once they're good and on there, but does not care for the application process.

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    2. I'm going to shop for Soft Paws, too. This afternoon an excited tortoise pushing on my hand, steering me somewhere or other, just about broke skin and may have broken a nerve down under--except that it lasted long enough to send an excited message back to headquarters. OW!

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    3. They've got clear ones at Pets On Broadway. And they come in sizes. So you should try to decide if your tortoise is Small, Medium, Large, or Kitten.

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    4. We went with the clear soft paws and they worked great at stopping clawing.But they did not fall off and ended up making it difficult to walk as the nails grew out. I trimmed the soft paws , not sure if there is a work around for removing them. Have plenty left over-want 'em?

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    5. Maybe--I'll get back to you! But how odd. They only advertise you can get two weeks out of them. All of Tater's have fallen off but two, and they've been on a month. No problems so far. It doesn't interfere with her naps.

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  15. Well done, Tater! Our previous cat, Susie, when we lived over in Eastern Washington, used to protect us from ground squirrels that would somehow get in the house from the great outdoors. Susie was mostly toothless and the first one she brought to us had been reduced in size and circumstance. It was sort of flattened and covered in kitty slobber - she had sucked the innards out. She proudly brought it to us in bed and then barfed on our pillows. She was a rather confused Big Game Hunter.

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    1. That I've never heard of. Sucking out the innards. Cats of my acquaintance have eventually consumed either nothing or the whole thing, minus a bit of the gut. We didn't give Tater the chance to see which way she ran on that, but since she doesn't like to eat ANYTHING but Iams kibble, I'm thinking it was purely a toy.

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  16. Dang Murre. I could use a Tater. Have caught an average of two mice a night for the last two weeks. In a happy coinkydink, I now have a screech-owl client who is cuddling with the latest capture, preparatory, I hope, to eating it. I'm diggin' the rubber claw covers. I think TNR people should consider fitting all feral cats with great big poofy Nerf claw covers so they can't kill birds. You know, while they're trapping, neutering them and releasing them.

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    1. I'm not sure you'll be able to talk them into trapping and rubberizing them every two weeks. TNR people have a lot of love, but not that much love, and only for the one species that doesn't belong there. Sigh.

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  17. Tater is so very gorgeous!
    I've added toy mouse to the list of cat things I need to buy before getting a cat.

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    1. Are you really getting a cat? Seems to me when I was in NZ they had a big campaign going on to enforce an indoor- or no-cat rule. Those islands can't bear another introduced predator. Oz the same?

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    2. Nope, we're different over here, "across the ditch" as they say. Many of the tenants in these flats have cats, some are indoor animals as mine will be, others roam free and stay in at night. a few have small dogs or birds.

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  18. Go Tater! We've had a series of cats, most of which would find small rodents outside and deposit the inside parts of them on our doorstep. To this day I tend to take a large first step out the door! Only one inside cat was actually afraid of mice - had absolutely no idea what to do with them but watch from a careful distance and run like heck if the mouse came toward her. She might even have joined my daughter on top of the dining room table cowering in fear! You got a good one - fierce predator and soft and fluffy heating pad!

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    1. I love that they're all different. You'd think that stuff would be hard-wired, but you never really know what you're going to get with a cat. As opposed to, say, a golden retriever. You can be pretty confident what you're going to get with one of those.

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  19. Obviously, she thought you had come up with the ULTIMATE toy mouse. She's gonna be pissed if you don't provide her with more.

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    1. Right now she's still floating in a gauzy halo of glory, but yeah, I'm a little worried about that.

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  20. When we lived in Kentucky in a rural farm house our cats would catch mice and I would put a glove on and take the mouse (before they could kill it) and let it go outside. That really pissed off the cats - the big Maine Coon would even growl at me when I liberated a mouse.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I wonder who would win a cage fight between Coon and Maine Coon.

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  21. Tater's just being a cat. And how! Lovely kitty photos too, Murr. HAPPY CHRISTMAS! Roth x

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    1. She's being an INDOOR cat! All indoor critters are fair game. Best to you too, darling.

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  22. This is a true but nauseating story so if you have a weak stomach, don't read it! Years ago, as I got in bed one night, I thought I detected a faint yucky odor. My husband & I couldn't find a source so decided we must be imagining it and went to sleep. Next night, same thing but definitely stronger. Again, we couldn't find the source despite an extensive search so finally retired. Next morning, upon awakening, we KNEW we had to find the cause of the "fragrance" so after checking all over the room and under and around the bed, I finally stripped the top sheet and blankets off. And there, right in the middle of the king-sized bed, near the foot, was a very dead and by now rather liquid but still recognizable shrew, compliments of one of the cats, probably the one who dearly loved burrowing under the covers. Ruined not only the bedding but the mattress too. Lordy, it was awful! That was the absolute end of cats being allowed onto the bed or even into the bedroom. They complained mightily about it for weeks but that bedroom door stayed very firmly shut.

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    1. Oh well thank you for that. I was totally alarmed by the first sentence, because, as it happens, Dave and I are recovering from food poisoning. Bleah.

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    2. Hope you recovered in time to enjoy whatever comprised your holiday dinner. And hope my shrew story didn't cause a relapse! Best wishes to you & Dave & Tater and Pootie for 2014. Am very happy that the new year will contain more Murrisms and your unique brand of merriment - thank you, thank you for providing what is almost always the very best laughs of the week.

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  23. Yay, Tater! She is one fine cat! And I love her giant feet. :)

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  24. Hilarious. Tater sounds like a fine soul and one who will keep you young.

    I had a mouser once, a gorgeous moonlight tiger named Part-Time because he was Full-Time his own cat and only Part-Time mine. But I thought he should probably be Less-Time after he brought a mouse IN through the catdoor (in a time before I got religion about indoor-only cat-life) and played with it until it escaped. Four cats called my place home but I was the one who finally caught that mouse 6 weeks later when it was too fat from nocturnal catfood gorging to outrun me.

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    1. I love that. Did I ever tell you about the time I chased Tater into someone else's cat door when she'd escaped, and then leaned a board up against it so she'd stay put until the owner of the house got home? I came back home and there was Tater, sitting primly in the house and doing her morning ablutions. There is a VERY similar cat living down the block, I'll tell you.

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  25. Rubber claw covers? How did you get them on? Why doesn't Tater chew them off? They don't hurt as the claws grow?

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    1. They're called Soft Paws, and you glue them on. They're supposed to fall off in about two weeks, but Tater's mostly fell off right away except for the two that have been on over a month. So we don't have it down yet. No evidence of them hurting. She does NOT care for the process of application, and tries to chew them off right away, but gives up after a bit.

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