I vowed never to get another cat after our overly affectionate feline, Patches, kicked the bucket two years ago, forever earning the enmity of a woman named Maureen. That wasn’t my fault. When Patches was on the decline, I followed all the vet’s advice, even though I suspected the cat was doomed. After $350 bucks and six agonizing weeks (granted more for the cat, than me), the vet recommended we put her down and then offered to take a clay print of her paw for free as a keepsake.
A week later, the vet’s receptionist, the aforementioned Maureen, called to say my dead cat’s paw print was ready. I kinda forgot about it and a few weeks later she left another message on my voicemail. Around this time, we ditched our landline and I guess she’s been trying to call ever since because when I run into Maureen at the grocery store she gives me dirty looks and shakes her head. Of course, I can’t possibly drop by and pick it up now. Anyway, soon I had more pressing problems such as mice.
A whole invasion of mice. Mice in the walls, in the baseboard heaters, under the sink, in the oven and, once, inside the bag of bird food. We never had this problem when we had cats. So even though All Cats Hate Fred and since, aside from children and money, no other issue has threatened our marriage like the family cat of the moment, we decided to adopt a four-year-old mouser from the Central Vermont Humane Society a few weeks ago: Baby Girl.
The skeptical tortoise tabby and I clicked from the get go. Unlike the other inmate cats purring and rubbing like tiny furry whores, Baby Girl hunkered down in her cat carrier until I held out a Tasty Chicken Temptation nugget. She emerged. Ate it. Nudged me with her head and went back to the carrier. Sold!
But something was off about Baby Girl. She cried just once when we put her in the car and then was totally silent on the ride home. Only later did I realize she was plotting. For as soon as I let her out and Fred started barking like an idiot, I opened the door to push him out and she escaped instead, leaping off the deck and heading to the woods. I’d owned her for, like, a minute.
We searched for Baby Girl, put out food, called for her, the works. Nothing. Then, a few nights later when Charlie, Anna and I were talking on the deck, we heard a faint meow from the field. Anna noted, rightly, that cats only meow to humans and only when they want attention and we got all excited. So we spread out and did a search. But she went silent again.
The next morning, there was a dead vole by the driver’s side door of Charlie’s truck. Two mornings after that, a dead mouse at the door from our garage to the house and, soon, another. She was here. She was working. We just had to trap her.
Erika Holm, the best Animal Control Officer Ever, and a muckety muck at the humane society came over with a cat trap. (Yes, this is a thing.) We set the bait – a tiny tin of Fancy Feast tuna – and left. Next morning, nothing except fly eggs in the Fancy Feast so we gave it to Fred who is okay with eating fly eggs, especially on wet cat food.
New approach: dry food, water outside the trap and game cameras. Score! Baby Girl was caught eating at 10:30 – about an hour after we put out the food – and then at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Every morning we checked the game cameras. She was living in our garage though, maybe cause of the food, the dead mice treats had stopped. Baby Girl was prowling at night, sleeping by day and roaming our vast field with its mice compounds. In short, Baby Girl was living Her Best Cat Life.
And then one day I came out the front door just in time to see a white cat shoot out of the garage. Wait a minute. Whose cat was that? None of our neighbors had a bright white cat. We checked the new footage the next morning. There was Baby Girl, and a white cat. Hmmm. Then we set up shop lights and this is what we found:
An orange cat.
Worse, Baby Girl didn’t show up at all. In fact, I think she’s moved to my neighbor’s house and is killing THEIR mice because I saw her in their driveway licking her paw contentedly. MCVEIGH!!!!
Which means, our cat got a cat and then that cat brought another cat. Pretty soon, we’re gonna be the Torra Agentina of Vermont. Et tu kit-tay?
So, now what do I do? Because here’s the kicker – we still have mice!