Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Mouser and the Carnivore

An Interesting Contrast in Cats

I have mice in the attic somewhere. Not too surprising as I do live in the country.

In the summer, I leave the interior attic door open so the cats have a place to explore and adventure. In winter, I leave the interior basement door open for them.  And the stairs are good extra exercise for indoor kitties.

This summer, Church, the gray kitty, has taken to spending hours in the attic. Every once in a while, he brings a little mouse down to the living room.  This usually causes quite a stir with the other kitties and a free for all usually results.  I suspect an occasional mouse has escaped, but most of the time, if I don't intervene, we end up with a little mouse corpse on the floor somewhere.  I will often rescue the mouse under a plastic container if I can out of mercy since I hate to see anything die, especially like that.

This time, the equation had an added element--Patchadoodle.

A little background here. DJ, Reggie, and Scooter are all rescues brought here as tiny kittens. Church was rescued from a city street as a kitten as well. Patch, however had lived as a stray in my back yard for at least a year and is now, according to the vet, about two years old. So, he had to survive on his own in the wild for a while.

So, little mouse, which I never actually saw in its entirety, was captured upstairs by Church who proudly brought it downstairs to the living room.  I missed the bulk of the drama but the sound of some deep throated growling caught my attention as I sat at the computer.  I turned around to see all five cats in a cluster with the growling Patchadoodle in the center.  There was a mouse tail hanging out of his mouth.

Heaven only knows if the tail was still wiggling. I don't really want to know, but I did go get the plastic container just in case.

No need. A few more growls to keep the others backed off, and in a matter of minutes, Patches finished the mouse off for a snack.

This was a striking difference in behavior from the other kitties who play with the poor mouse until they kill it and then just leave the remains.  Patchadoodle was the true predator, who long ago had learned to hunt and kill to survive.  While the whole episode was not exactly nice, it was a fascinating contrast in cat behavior.

My four shelter kitties have the hunting instinct, but I guess, never having had to "life off the land" the prey is play rather than food.  Not so for Patch, the survivor.

Poor little guy.  I can only imagine how hard it was for him to have to fend for himself for all that time.  I'm glad he now has the option of a nice dish of fresh cat food whenever he wants it.

RIP, little mouse.

7 comments:

  1. Ours occasionally find mice in the basement, and our barn cats are big consumers of voles.

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  2. I love cats. They are such funny creatures. Quite engrossed in themselves, but also able to learn and to boss aroudn evrybody around teh house.
    I honestly do not know how you can live with five cats inside.
    I make mine sleep on the balcony while it is still warm at night. because they drive me potty, they only allow me to sleep 4 hours in the row.
    But they are lovely compagny too ... not at night!

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  3. Nessie eats her kill even though she gets well fed here...Simba used to as well, usually .. but previous cats didn't.

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  4. We've had cats who ate them and cats who didn't and cats who brought them home as a gift. I'd prefer if they're going to eat it to do it out of sight. My grandfather had a cat who absolutely tortured them, he'd play with them and terrorize them for a while before killing. This is one of the reasons why I don't let cats lick my face.

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  5. At least Patch goes for a relatively swift dispatch, and he's saving your wiring from being gnawed in the loft.

    My house cat, on the other hand, is too lazy these days to even take care of visiting spiders!

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  6. Our petite killer "Kiwi" ate a gopher a day until there were none. Yuk!

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