You all know how cats show their love by bringing their owners dead animals, right? Now this freaks out some people I know, however I grew up with a cat that liked to not only leave a dead mouse by the back door, but leave the entrails in my rubber boots for my bare feet to find at 5am when I went out to feed the horses. You would think I would learn my lesson, but the early morning sleep haze never left me functioning enough to check the boots first. At the time I thought my cat was just a tad bit evil. Now though, I long for the days when my cat would bring me a dead animal to show love.
Several years ago my family adopted a cat from a local feline rescue organization. She quickly became a beloved (and at times vocal) part of our family. When we adopted her, one of the things the organization asked of us was that we kept her as an indoor only cat. This was not a problem as she was pretty skittish at first and stayed clear of the doors. Although she would spend hours in the window making strange noises at the birds, lizards and occasional neighborhood cat who would venture into the yard.
Skip forward a few years – my Mother-in-Law (MIL) came to stay with us one summer. It was quite nice as I could go to work each day and not be concerned about the kids and she even cleaned my house for me. (I did not yet work from home at this time.) It was amazing.
She would often leave the back door open as she moved in and out of the house and as the kids ran back and forth. The cat (Cookie) started to venture out little by little. She never strayed far nor did she stay out long. But over time she got a bit braver and started to widen her roaming area. Including venturing into the field that is behind our house at times.
One night I was woken from a blissful sleep when something ran across the back of my legs. Groggily I looked over my right shoulder and saw the cat sitting next to me. I started to doze back off when I realized, what had run across my legs had gone the other way. So I turned my head and looked over my left shoulder. Sleep quickly left me as my brain processed the image of a rat sitting on the edge of the bed. Cookie had been getting ready to pounce on the rat when I screamed and jumped off the bed – scaring the shit out of all three of us. I bolted out of the room, slamming the door behind me.
My dear husband had fallen asleep on the couch watching television that night and I learned long ago when that happens it is easier to just leave him. Eventually he will come to bed. Plus that gives me time to fall asleep before he crawls in and starts snoring in my ear. As I ran out into the living room trying not to hyperventilate my MIL came out of the guest room to see what was wrong. My dear husband was still snoring away blissfully on the couch. Once I calmed down enough to talk and tell her what happened we began the process of waking up my husband. No way I was going to handle this one on my own.
Now, I’ve been around rats. I’ve taken a good number of them away from my Shepard Mix (but they are already dead) and my Brother-in-Law actually had a pet rat when we were all younger. Her name was Roxanne and she liked to sleep on the back of my neck under my hair. So I’m not normally a girly squeamish person around mice and rats. However, all I could keep thinking is that my damn cat loved me so much that she brought a LIVE rat into my house, up onto my bed and let it go to play with it and it ran across my legs while I was sleeping. I don’t care how country you are – that is NOT okay!
We finally woke the husband up and we all ventured back into the bedroom with the cat in our arms (she had bolted for the door and got out before me). We found the rat behind our dresser and tried to get the cat to finish what she started. However, at this time she decided she was bored of this game. We’ve found she is a total slacker – constantly starting something and then deciding it is no longer worth her time. This usually results in live wild animals being left to run through my house!
In the end we set up a bucket water trap to catch the rat while I slept on the couch for a couple days. It took about 2 days, but we did catch that rat. After that I finally ventured back into our room to totally strip the bed and wash the sheets. It took me another month or two before I had a peaceful nights sleep though. Partly because this is NOT the end of this story. You would think after this experience we would make Cookie an indoor cat again. But no, it took us a few more incidents over the next month. But those are stories for another day.