Wildlife is a joy to behold, as long as it stays outdoors. A wild animal running around the living room definitely ramps up the excitement around the house.
Each state has its hunting seasons, but those of us who are owned by a cat know it’s hunting time all the time for our pointy-eared masters of the home.
Here at the shack-ri-la, I answer to TC, a sweet little girl of a cat with a camouflage coat. Tortoise shell, cat people call it. She’s always good for a laugh when she’s chasing her tail around, which is how she got her name, Tail Chaser, TC for short.
TC is the twin sister of my late tom cat Boat Dock, the feline outdoors columnist on this page for years. After Boat Dock went off to life No. 10, TC took over his duties of protecting the hovel. On yard patrol, she keeps her bright eyeballs peeled for dangerous critters, such as the wily field mouse.
Friends and neighbors, I’ll wager she’s caught every mouse that ever dared to enter the weedy patch of rocks that passes for our yard. Of course, she brings home each trophy, sitting there with it outside the patio door.
Wise owners of indoor-outdoor cats quickly learn to always inspect their little mouths to make sure they’re not bringing any surprises into the house. That’s easy during the day. It’s tricky at night.
I’m usually up at dark-30 in the morning, about the time TC wants to come in. She stays out most of the night if the weather’s decent. I keep a flashlight by the patio door for a quick inspection before I grant her entrance.
Naturally, the one time I was lax in that duty she comes prancing in with a mouse. A live mouse. There in my robe and slippers I hit the ceiling with a loud scream, “TC!”
Now TC drops the mouse and it’s running willy nilly across the living room carpet, and under my rocker, with TC giving chase. She’s having the time of her nine lives and I’m freaking out (I hate mice), trying to herd the field mouse out the patio door to save its tiny hide.
No luck. I left for work and TC was still gleefully after it. When I got home, she was deep in the throes of a 19 hour power nap so I assume she caught the mouse. TC lives by the motto all cats follow: Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
The other afternoon I peeled some shrimp to cook on the grill. Birds love shrimp shells so I stepped outside to toss the shells out in the yard. Like a dummy, I left the door open. I wasn’t outside 10 seconds when here comes TC proudly strolling in with another surprise.
She wasn’t letting go of this one while I chased her around the carpet. Miss Camo Cat could tell I was upset. The yelling, wailing and gnashing of teeth must have clued her in. At least she’d already dispatched this mouse to that great cheese wheel in the sky. A miracle happened, and TC obliged by taking her trophy back outside.
We have lots of luxuries here at the shack-ri-la, like an outdoor shower and a nice pile of firewood. A cat door isn’t one of those amenities. No telling the zoo we’d have, with TC bringing in every lizard, field mouse and June bug she can get between her whiskers.