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?