We have mice in our house. This is one of the things that comes with living in the country. They mostly stay in the cellar, and the cats keep the ones who venture up in check.
In the beginning, just our cat Edwin caught mice. Since then we’ve learned that the other cat, Lili, catches them, too. But Edwin then steals them from her, so it’s as if Edwin caught them all. And in the beginning, Edwin somehow killed them instantly without leaving a mark, bringing them to us dead but undamaged. But since then, either the mice or Edwin have adapted, and for awhile, Edwin would play with them for long hours before finally killing them. My soft little heart didn’t know what to think of this, but mostly it happened in the middle of the night while my soft little heart was fast asleep and unbothered by any mouse torture that it may or may not have objected to.
But we’re past that now, too. For awhile, we thought either there were no mice, or they were no longer getting caught, or they were getting caught but getting away again, because there were no mouse bodies found in the mornings anymore. But then K walked in on Edwin chomping down on one, gnawing on it head first and eventually swallowing the whole thing down. And this seems to be the thing now. He catches them, and then goes more or less straight to eating them.
I, soft little heart and all, don’t know what to think of this. Granted, I still don’t want mice overtaking my house, and I still think cats are better than poison for achieving this. And as the cat has gotten over playing with them first (because they taste so good he can’t wait to eat them?), I can’t imagine mouse traps are any better than cats from a mouse’s perspective at this point. So I think I still think this is the way to go for mouse control. Cats eat mice, right? This is how the world works.
But my sweet cat Edwin? When he started catching mice, it didn’t change the way I thought of him at all, except maybe I gave him more credit for being swift and dexterous. Now that I think of him as a skull chomper? Is his face any less adorable? Is his belly any less soft? No, but I think of him as more of a killer. More than when he started catching mice and they died right away. More even then when he played with them. Now, right below his sweet eyes, I notice his sharp teeth more than I ever did before.
For all that I think I’m comfortable with predator-prey relationships (I’m not the one to look away when the lizard catches the fly or the fox closes in on the rabbit), it turns out I still have issues. And there’s something different for me between a carnivore in the wild and the fuzzy guy with a name that sleeps at the foot of my bed.
I don’t have any conclusions here. Except I think I’ve still got a lot to learn about death. And things with fuzzy bellies and sharp teeth.