Eeeeeeeehhhhhhh! A mouse!!
Please excuse me while I leap onto a chair and scream shrilly while gathering my housecoat up above my baggy biscuit-coloured (and faintly biscuit-scented) tights. Yes, I am the woman from Tom and Jerry. My secret is out.
My mistake was to assume that the feline terrorism campaign had finally died down. The catbags had resigned themselves. The noisy pink thing wasn't going anywhere, it was getting a bit big to eat, and maybe they could train it to give them cat biscuits and gravy in the fullness of time.
Oh, readers, I was wrong. A few weeks ago, I was pootling around the kitchen and noticed a small, black feather on the work surface. I thought little of it. There's quite a lot of stuff on our work surfaces generally, and who knows what Mr Badger may have been plucking in there? It was only later, when Mr Badger returned home, that I was standing outside the kitchen haranguing him about something or other (I harangue so often, I forget the source) that I glanced up at the top of the cupboards and noticed that there was a bird perched there on top of the deep fat fryer (mmm, deep-fried birdie. Crispy!) Once I noticed this, I realized that the cats had been behaving a bit strangely earlier, though I had utterly failed to notice any flapping things in the house. We then began the great bird capturing mission, which I did record on camera, but I can't actually track down the photos now, so you'll have to imagine that particular adventure. Sorry for the disappointment. To aid your imaginings, it involved a mangled coat hanger, a nappy net (without nappies, you'll be reassured to hear) and much flailing and flapping all round. The bird was caught and released, seemingly only lightly cat-chewed. End of story.
But now. Fast forward to last night, and the cats were behaving slightly strangely again. But then, they are slightly strange, so we basically just ignored them. And then I saw a small furry thing streak across the floor, closely followed by a rotund cat.
"The cats have got something," I informed Mr Badger, from my recline on the couch (I think my skin may be starting to fuse with the material, which is a lovely sensation and highly recommended).
"What?" he said, leaping into action. "What sort of a something?"
"It was brown and furry," I said.
"It better not be a spider," he said, freezing mid-leap.
"It wasn't a spider," I assured him. "It was big. Could have been a tarantula, I suppose. But more likely a mouse."
There followed a fairly farcical half hour, where the cats would corner the mouse behind a pile of crap, we would start moving the crap, the mouse would make a break for escape, shoot across the room and under another pile of crap, with two portly cats and a pair of shrieking humans armed with cardboard boxes lumbering behind it (by crap, I don't mean literal crap. Our house is not filled with mounds of dung. Honestly. But given that we live in relative chaos at the best of times, add in a new(ish) baby and all the trimmings, and blooming Christmas, complete with tree and sacks and sacks and sacks of presents, and you have mounds of toppling stuff in every corner and cranny, just perfect for a petrified mouse to cower under).
Eventually it shot across the room and behind a rather fetching glass-fronted antique bookcase. Now, when they were tiny new kittens, the catbags convinced me they had somehow escaped by hiding behind this exact same bookcase. But since they have mutated grossly in size since then, they were unable to pursue the mouse into its new hiding place. As it was already about eleven at night, we decided to give up and leave the cat/mouse situation to resolve itself overnight.
We assumed we'd be kept awake by the continuous noise of heavy warfare, and would come down in the morning to find a headless mouse and/or two headless cats. But there was, eerily, nothing. No noise from downstairs, and no decapitated animals on waking. Mr Badger trundled off to work, leaving me to my busy day of, erm, eating chocolate and watching darts.
And then it began.
The mouse, obviously sick of being stuck behind a bookcase all night, made a crazed dash across the room. Meg leapt after, and seized the poor furry thing in her sharp cat mouth, before scuttling under the dining table. When I let out a squawk of protest she immediately opened her gob to say 'wot?', allowing said mouse to dash behind yet another bookcase (yes, we have a lot of bookcases. We can't see them under all the mountains of manure, but they're there, apparently. You can hear the books crying if you listen really carefully).
I then spent the rest of the day periodically leaping up from the couch (tearing my newly fused arse skin in a frightful fashion), and attempting to trap a sprinting mouse with whatever I could grab - including a nappy bin (sans nappies), a vase (sans flowers, but unfortunately not sans water), and a Christmas pudding tub. Unsurprisingly, I was not very successful, and eventually decided just to drag Lumpy to Cowley Centre, as it had all become too stressful, and I needed a dose of chav. And I also thought I could try buying a mousetrap (a humane one, of course. A sort of mouse-luxury-hotel, really.) But being so utterly brain dead at the moment, I completely forgot this was what I had gone shopping for and bought lots of shower gel and weaning bowls and Christmas present tags instead. Essentials for January!
When we got back the cats were showing an unusual interest in the kitchen, a place they generally avoid (they've obviously smelled my cooking). I started to despair of what a mouse-infested kitchen would mean for our futures, a train of thought which concluded in Lumpy being repossessed. And then I heard a scrabbling behind the bins. I quickly dragged them aside but there was, of course, no sign of mouse.
But did I give up, dear readers? I did not! Instead, I grabbed an empty Coke Zero box, put a blob of peanut butter in the bottom, and plonked it down in the recess. And waited. After a few minutes the little mousey came out, had a sniff about, then went back behind the cupboards again. Still I waited. Out it came, and progressed a short way into the box, before shooting back again. Still I waited. Finally, the furry little bugger was overcome by greed, and scuttled right into the box, burying its mousey nose in the peanut butter. And then I pounced, tipping the box up, and trapping my rodent nemesis.
Then I took him outside and stamped him to death.
Not really! I released him to safety and freedom. Of course I did. Look what a little cutey he was: