Warning: This story contains pictures of dead mice (but no gore).
As an indoor cat owner, I’ve heard stories of cats leaving “presents” for their beloved owners on the front porch or in the backyard. They relinquish a half-eaten mouse, a bird missing its feathers or other assorted wildlife with unfortunate luck.
However, having an indoor cat, I never thought I’d know the privilege of being showered with this type of gift. Well, I was … and not once, but twice!
The first time it happened I was arriving home after being away overnight. As always, I was thrilled to see Tulip. As I was petting her and cooing in the unmistakable way only pet owners do, I happened to glance over at the cat dishes. Displayed proudly next to Jack’s water dish was a dead, pathetic-looking, half-eaten mouse.
“Is that a real mouse? Is that a real mouse? Is that a real mouse?” I repeated frantically to my friend in a panic before I made the unfortunate realization. I’m not the super squeamish type, but I couldn’t help but hope maybe it was just a very realistic looking cat toy. It wasn’t.
The tiny gray mouse looked as though it had quite the romp with Jack and Tulip prior to its untimely death. I could picture the cats batting it around, passing it back and forth to each other like a puck on a foosball table. I bet they both had gigantic tails poofed up like they’d just gotten a blow out, trying to intimidate that poor, shocked mouse.
My guess was that Jack had caught the prize, as it was so adamantly flaunted for all to see next to his water dish. As I scooped up the poor mouse for a prompt disposal, I thought that maybe we had a mouse problem, but that it also could have totally been a fluke. An isolated incident. A “worst day ever” for a singular little orphan rodent.
Until a couple of weeks later.
I came home from work tired and ready to rejuvenate myself with a little workout. In my bedroom, I threw on my workout clothes and began to look for my sneakers. Tulip circled my legs as I got ready, chirping away. “What’s she so hyped up about?” I wondered. I found my sneakers where I always leave them, side by side in front of my dresser. I put on one shoe and picked up the second, ready to slide in my foot. My heart skipped a beat and then dropped to my stomach with a thud.
In a shoe coffin designed by Tulip, laying peacefully and majestically, was ANOTHER mouse!
This one, however, did not look like it had batted around for hours or even chomped at in the least. It was curled up in the fetal position, fur perfectly smooth, like it was just taking an afternoon slumber on an insole mattress. However tranquil the scene, I let out a scream that sent Tulip bolting into the kitchen wearing a look of terror and confusion.
After a frantic call to a friend and cursing in disbelief for a good five minutes, I imagined what Tulip was thinking:
“Mom, why didn’t you like my present? I’m bummed because I don’t think the sound that just came out of your mouth signifies joy or gratitude. I don’t get it. I put the present in the most convenient place for you, and my presentation was pristine. I didn’t even take any parts of him for a snack.”
My revelation regarding Tulip’s thought process made me feel a little bad. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I then actually thanked my cat for leaving a rodent in my shoe. The things we do for the ones we love.
Has your indoor cat ever left you a present, like a mouse? What about your outdoor cats? Do you scream when you see them? Tell us your stories in the comments!
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About the author: Kate E. Lyle is a teacher by day, fitness enthusiast by night, and is forever trying to catch up on the ever-growing stack of books on her nightstand. Her precious cat, Tulip, can be found curled up next to her as she sips Pinot and scours the internet for the next travel adventure she can’t afford. A New England native, Kate is a proud cat connoisseur of Connecticut.