Thursday, May 2, 2013

A mystery

TKMom here, to tell you about a mystery, for which I hope you will help to solve.

I was peacefully sleeping at 3:30am this morning, when a great game of chase ensued around the bedroom. Up the cat tree, under the bed, over the sleepy drum.  I sat up just as TK chased Pip, who had a toy in his mouth, across the foot of the bed.

 "Goofy boys," I thought as I tucked the covers over my shoulder and laid down to return to the land of slumber.

At around 4am, TK jumped up on the bed.

"Hey Buddy," I said, leaning over to give him a scritch.  These early morning visits are not unusual. TK often wakes me up to remind me that Breakfast-time is in 2 hours... and 1 hour... and 15 minutes.

Never having opened my eyes, I fell back to my pillow, only to be awakened again by TK softly "mowing" to himself in 30 second intervals. 

At this point I was fully awake.  I'd never heard him make that noise before. Fearing that he was injured or sick, I shot out of bed to turn on the lights.  And there, between his paws, on my bedspread lay the object of his attention... The "toy" from the earlier chase, then in Pip's mouth, was actually a tiny corpse that our furend Max would call a "real live dead mouse."

I actually hesitated for a few seconds to ponder the correct cat-protocol for receiving a gift of such magnitude.  I wondered who had actually caught the mouse, and would it be bad for me to praise TK if he had stolen the kill from Pip.

Grabbing a Clorox wipe from the shelf, I gave TK a lot of praise as I picked up the mouse.  (I figured he was trying to feed me, like I fed him all the time. Even if he didn't actually make the kill, he obviously wanted me to have it.) 

 So what do you think?  Who is the "working cat" that killed the mouse?

The clues:
  • Pip always sleeps with me, while TK sleeps on the couch in the basement. (I've always thought that sleeping with me was the "prize" territory of the house in the evening. But it occurs to me that this might not be true.  Given that TK has always been the dominant cat during the day, and after the first few months with us he has always slept in the basement, it is quite possible that I am the consolation prize.)
  • Pip was with me as late as 2:45pm.
  • TK was in the basement when I went to sleep last night.  He always sleeps on the couch with a good view of the whole basement.
  • TK has retinal-Neuropathy, and has difficulty seeing in low light. (His ears and nose work just fine!)
  • Pip is a formerly-feral cat, he is a natural-born killer.
  • TK has killed crickets in the basement. (He doesn't like to eat the big hopper legs.)
  • TK is top cat, Pip defers to him when pressed.
  • Here's the interesting clue:  We assumed that Pip made the last kill*.  We made this assumption based on the fact that we've never had a mouse kill in the house before. And Pip's presence was the most obvious difference.
          To challenge that assumption:
    1. March was the first time, in 5 years, that there weren't cats in the house for an extended period of time. (We were in Florida.)  So there may have never been mice in the house before.
    2. Why would a formerly-feral kit, whose sustenance, while feral, depended on small animals, hork a perfectly good field-mouse after eating it?
So what do you think?  Was it-
      a) TK
      b) Pip
      c) Group effort
      d) it doesn't really matter, they are both awesome boys!

*Edit- for those not on FaceBook.
When we got home in April, from our month long visit to Florida, my husband noticed a large mound of sunflower seed husks behind the bag of seeds we feed to the birds. (Our neighbor fed them while we were away.)

Three days after our return there was a bit of blood and a mouse tail on the basement floor.  12 hours later their was a partially digested (sorry) body of a mouse, sans-tail.
We had, at the time, assumed Pip had gotten the mouse... but did he?


  1. We're voting "d". Second vote would be "c". :-)

  2. I vote 'd', but 'c' is right there beside it. I have had a real live ded mousie in MY bed too...within a month of Katie coming to live with me. Ewwwwww. xoxox

  3. We vote "d" too!!!! Your boys are pawsome!!!! Yay!! But we think you are awesome too for not freaking out at the real corpse on your bed like I would!!!! Take care

  4. we loves a grate miss tree N while D iz correct; coz both TK & pip be way awesum soooper kewl doods...we iz votin for pip...coz him hada 'toy" in hiz mouth frum de get go

    that ore it bee kernall mustard in de library with de candlestik...

    naw...we iz still goin with pip !!!

  5. We vote C. We think Pip found it and then TK noticed and brought it to you. :-)

  6. Great mystery, lots of clues pointing in both directions. We think if it was entirely Pip on his own, he would have eaten it, so probably TK got it from him. Maybe there were several, hence Pip wasn't hungry enough to take it back?

    If I, the Mom, get sleepy on the sofa, I usually put my eyeglasses just under the sofa to avoid damage. One time reaching under the sofa for them I felt a furry thing, turned out to be a dedded mousie. Ewe!!!!!!!! Simba had kiledd it presumably but he would not eat it. So it got batted under the sofa somehow. We periodically have to set traps in our basement.

  7. hmmmm - that is a mystery. (btw - mom had to laugh at the "consolation prize" comment) We don't think being formerly feral or seriously indoors should make a difference either way.... So we are gonna vote C and applaud them both!!

  8. I tend to say it was Pip and here is why - apparently the last mouse he got did not agree with him (sometimes that happens. I mean heck, I toss up my regular dinner on occasion!). So I'd say he caught the mouse, and remembering that the last one did not agree with him and being a few steps past his feral state and knowing he'd get fed by you, he left it for TK to mess with. And TK, not understanding that Pip left it because the last one made him sick, decided to give it to you!

    But in any case, the answer to your quiz is D!

  9. I suspect the 'natural born killer' wins this one. On the other hand, the big guy may have been silently watching, waiting, learning the lessons from afar and ready to attack when opportunity presented itself. In any case, it matters not, since you were the recipient of the remains! They both knew who deserved this special prize! Personally, I do not think one flimsy Clorox wipe would have worked for me; maybe a dozen or so. Or better yet a shovel ... I mean, I use spaghetti tongs for the gecko's ...

  10. While I do think it was Pip I like answer D the best and you were right to praise the mighty hunters, they really appreciate that coming from Mom!

  11. We like Sparkle's explanation...that makes most sense to us. But we're voting for D because we think Pip and TK are AWESOME!!

  12. They are both awesome but we are voting for TK - a.

  13. We think D is the answer!!! I can tell now when Pops is chirping to me about her catch. Thankfully she hasn't caught a mouse or bird in about three years. She does wake me up to tell me it is raining or that she would like biscuits.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Julie and Poppy Q

  14. We vote for "d." :)

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments when it was time for our Sammy to leave for the Bridge. We are so lucky to count you among our friends.

    Much love and big hugs,

    Kevin, Tracey and Moosey

  15. We have no clue who got the mousie, but our mom has the shivers just thinking about a mouse in the house.

  16. I think it was definitely a group effort!

  17. Well, D of course. But our guess is that Pip caught the "mouse in the house" and put it in a food bowl, where then TK picked it up an carried it a while, mewing softly enjoying the sensation of a "mouse in the mouth", until he decided to bring it to you as a gift as compensation for all the food you give him.

    We have done this general thing here a couple times.

  18. I think it was a group effort and that both boys ARE awesome. Now I admit, TK is a lot MORE awesome to me because I'm sweet on him. He is so stately, so mancatly, so EVERYFING!
    XXXOOO <3

  19. :o ooooh! ^..^ Wow! we not allowed mice ^..^ was it Good????
    Well we agreez wif Katie Bella, we thinkz da answer iz D! ^..^ yup! Efuryone iz Awsum ^.,^

    We jus came by to Fank You fur stopping by with your comforting purrz on acounta Penelope'z leaving fur da Bridge so suddenly. You helped to make da dark dayz ahead a little more bearable ^..^

    Soft Purrz ~
    Sunny, Gabriel, Larry, Lolly, Ana, & sad sad mommeh

  20. We're going to leave the mystery to you to solve. hehehe. But we think, no matter who caught it, you were the intended recipient. How neat to receive a gift - and it wasn't even your birthday. The guys must really love you. :)

  21. Well, we think it was Pip and he very nicely gave it to TK so he could present it to the Mom. Love Ann's comment. We are surprised a shovel wasn't used to remove the poor little dead mouse. We are sorry we are so late responding to this terrific mystery. Too funny. So we congratulate both boys on good job of making sure the Mom got her great present. You all have a great day. Keep your eyes out for more of those fun mice.

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  23. About two years ago I returned from work to find something amiss in the cats at the door to welcome me. When I looked into the living room I saw that all was well and Archie, Ben and Jimmy (Kip not with us yet and Casper deaf, didn't hear the ruckus I'm thinking) were playing with their "mousies". On closer inspection I realized these were REAL mousies: two! I ask you what kind of idiot mouse comes into a house with four cats?! In any case, my boys certainly have the, hunt, pounce, play instinct but they do not know how to kill which must be taught by their mums, and so my mice were stunned and had been "played with" to within an inch of their lives but not killed (I released them outside). So my guess is that it was formerly feral Pip who did the actual killing and TK just got a hold of the mouse somehow and wanted to give it to you :-)

  24. We'll probably never know, but what an original way to announce your present - and one that you are unlikely to forget.

  25. I think that TK caught the mouse initially and Pip got it away, then TK got it back again.

  26. Cats are great at letting us know what is important, namely taking care of them. It is rare to get a gift like a real live dead mouse though. The answer to your question is D of course, but the title of working cat should go to TK. There is more evidence in his favor.

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  27. Oh my gosh!! What a wonderful puzzle! Since we have never seen dead mouses we don't have a clue who dunn it!!
    Howdy from your TX furiends,

  28. FaRADaY: MOWZERS, we can't get past the thought that TK & Pip actually get to play with REAL live MOUSIES. *sigh* they're sooooooooo lucky.....

  29. They are keeping you guessing!
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  30. we vote for TK being the one that actually got the mouse. Sounds as if he has the prime mice hunting territory at night.