The evil cat’s new torment

She has decided to pursue a new career as a mouser. That wouldn’t be so bad — every time the weather fluctuates and cools, the local mouse population decides to move indoors until it warms up again — except for a few small problems.

  • The mouse hunting hour begins at 3am. It can then go on for a few hours.
  • She is not a stealthy feline making swift, silent pounces. No, she’s a klutz. Hunting involves much bouncing off of furniture and knocking things off tables or just generally over.
  • She’s a sadist. One mouse is good for hours of bumbling, brutal torture.
  • She is finally succeeding at her profession. She used to just bat her prey around like a toy, but now she eventually actually kills. This is not for me, at all — she doesn’t proudly present me with a trophy. Nope, she leaves the sad little corpse where ever it eventually succumbs, and then it is my job to find it before it rots and stinks up the house.

It’s not just the classwork that is turning me into the shambling undead. It’s also my roommate.


  1. cartomancer says

    Come on PZ, think this through…

    The cat kills mice.
    The mice begin to decompose
    The decomposition attracts flies
    the flies attract spiders!

    By concealing the rotting corpses around the house, she is only trying to encourage more of your little arachnid friends to take up residence.

  2. says

    This is progress, though. Weren’t you telling us not long ago how you caught the cat just chilling with a mouse?
    Maybe leave a camera out in the living room to record the bumbling cat. Do some David Attenborough style voice over of the routine. Might be worth some YouTube revenue. People like cats!

  3. says

    They like cats? Why? Spiders are quiet and don’t cause any trouble and eat vermin without leaving messy rotting corpses around. Spiders win on all counts!

  4. garnetstar says

    I’m afraid that sadistically playing the mice to death is not unique to your cat. Many do think that these little fast-moving things are toys, and want to prolong the fun game as long as possible. I’ve seen poor mice simply die of exhaustion, and the cat still trying to nudge the corpse to get up and play some more.

    Mine try to play this fun game with fully-grown, very active, bats. They bring the bats indoors so that I can join in the fun. They never, never learn that, not only am I not going to join the game, I’m going to stop their fun immediately. (Yes, I am now excellent at catching bats and releasing them uninjured. An acquired skill, just ask any time you need to learn it.)

  5. PaulBC says

    Sounds a little like Quentin Tarantino meets Sylvester and Tweety. (This could work.)

  6. blf says

    @5, I’m thinking the evil cat is Baron Silas Greenback, his toy is Penfold (actually Stiletto in a Penfold costume), and poopyhead has amnesia, forgetting he’s Danger Mouse and afraid of spiders, and is, in any case, exhausted from fighting teh multi-essay monster, when in fact he’s really Penfold, and the real Danger Mouse is in a huge factory (with Big Brother, similar to Bill Gates, motivational posters) kicking some microchips who want to invade the vaccines. Then the opening credits roll, and it starts to become hilariously confusing…

  7. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    @blf, isn’t it Penfold who finds spiders to be utterly “Oo, ick!”?

    @garnetstar, do you think the same technique would work on live birds, and if so please share

  8. says

    Sounds like the beast was raised indoors. So was ours, she had to figure it out on her own. Kinda cool to watch even as cruel as it became. Naturally that meant dragging a variety of unharmed animals into the house to show of. Sadly he developed a preference for slow worms (small legless lizard). That was fun at first but after a while she started killing them :-(

    Cats can be very nice creatures, ours was gentle, social and trusting. She would walk into any of the neighbors houses, even open front doors to get in. As for biting and scratching that was only in self defense (like washing or brushing out tangled fur).

  9. R. L. Foster says

    She needs to learn the neck snap. One of our previous cats (Gracie) lived on the street for a while and was forced to hunt to survive. Not long after we adopted her two mice decided to sneak into our home. Bad move. Gracie was on them like an old pro. I watched as she killed one quickly and efficiently — grab the mouse firmly in her jaws, swing the mouse back and forth forcefully a couple of times, and voila, its neck snapped. Then she left its corpse by the food bowl. Her contribution to household, I guess.

  10. flange says

    My cat, Fred, is a good mouser, but otherwise a sweet, social animal. He was originally a stray, I think. He catches a mouse, and without much play time, eats it. He always leaves a small organ the size of a kidney bean, which I assume is a stomach, not a present,

  11. says

    I’ve been considering getting a cat. I grew up on a farm and all our cats were outdoor cats. We had a small army of furry little murder machines. When we moved into town we brought most of the cats with us. Our next door neighbor worked at the Pendleton Woolen Mill for 50 years. He was a total packrat and had a shed with all the scraps he’d collected since the Great Depression. Massive infestation. Our cats didn’t touch their cat food for a month. No trophy offering, they just ate them.

    So if I get a cat, I’m looking for an old tom on death row who is as grouchy as I am.

  12. says

    Nothing for it then. You’ll have to find some spiders that eat mice.

    It seems you have to go to Australia for that. Some species of Australian huntsman spiders are reported to hunt small mammals like mice.

    Not sure they would appreciate the minnesota climate, though.

    This made me wonder if Australia is the spider capital of the world? But is seems that title goes to a farm in Denbighshire. :-) This article makes an excellent point about diversity of habitats necessary for biodiversity. So I learned something today.

  13. says

    She’s helping, or trying to. Why not just appreciate the effort?

    Also, she’s not doing it at 0300 to annoy you, it’s because that’s when the mice are active.

  14. blf says

    @14, If the evil cat chased and played with the mice at 15h00, then that‘s when they would be active…</snark>

  15. blf says

    @17, That would (eventually) cause the house to be overrun with beserker mouses. Like certain inquisitions, this will happen at the most unexpected moments. One might think an evil cat bouncing off things at 3am is a problem, but it’s nothing to a few thousand beseker mouses swarming through the house and bouncing off things at 2am one day, 6pm and then again at 7pm the next day, before they move in for a month or two, constantly squeaking at high volume and gleefully using those pikes that have been so thoughtfully provided.

  16. garnetstar says

    @7 Numenastar, I think birds need a different technique. My cats don’t bring them in, but when birds get in, the only thing I’ve ever been able to do is leave the doors open and hope they get out.

    The bat techique is simple: get some soft, like a T-shirt or a very soft pillow. Make the bat fly, and, as it flies by, just tap it with the shirt. Do NOT swing at it to swipe it out of the air: just a gentle tap or touch.

    When bats feel this tap, they apparently assume that their sonar (? whatever it is) isn’t working, and they will immediately drop to the ground, to prevent themselves from smashing headfirst into a mountain, I guess. You then put the bristles of a broom or large brush on top of the bat (a whisk broom works well), and, while holding it down with the bristles, wriggle a dustpan underneath it.

    Now take the boorm-bat-dustpan sandwich outdoors and toss the bat up into the air. As soon as it’s up, it’ll take off flying like….like a bat out of hell.

    This is extremely fast, you can usually tap the bat on the first or second pass, and it gets the bat right out there completely uninjured!

    Please tell your friends: I’ve seen people try to kill bats with tennis rackets, do not injure them!

  17. unclefrogy says

    lets try that again
    would build a bat box if I thought I could attract some bats to live around here but I doubt there are any here any more. The group of cats that live around here are a wellcome change from the rats, mice and invasive squirrels however.
    uncle frogy

  18. brightmoon says

    NYC where the only cats you see are deli cats. Or other people’s pets

  19. garnetstar says

    @unclefroggy, you need mosquitos. Lots of them. The bats live on them. If you can walk outside on a summer night without being eaten alive, there aren’t enough mosquitos.

    So, you could try breeding and releasing huge colonies of those, but it seems like a lot of work and unintended consequences. The cats you mention seem like they’d be better.

  20. says

    I’m sorry, but that cat doesn’t look evil in the least. She’s pretty darned cute. (I love black cats. They are awesome. I should know: I have a tuxie girl of my own.)

  21. PaulBC says

    Autobot Silverwynde@24

    I’m sorry, but that cat doesn’t look evil in the least.

    Neither do many other serial killers, though it’s true they may not look as cute. I like cats, but I still think they’re evil.

  22. PaulBC says

    garnetstar@19 I honestly doubt I would have the presence of mind to recall those instructions while a bat was in the house. Does the tap have to be with a soft cloth? Could be be paper? Also, I’d worry about hurting it with the broom.

    Are there any electronic devices that could produce sounds at the right frequency to confuse bats?