doodle by andre: feline spirit of non-cooperation

JACK THE FORMER DEMON CAT has made it perfectly (purrfectly?) clear: He takes his vacation time in winter, without exceptions. And so his pitiful mother is charged with all the offseason hunting, which at the moment isn’t going so well–since nothing but Jack seems to be in hibernation this non-winter. Thanks, Andre Jordan, for outing my failures (e.g., two traps totally missing this morning when I went to check–missing!), and by the way: Jack prefers we call them thrones, not pedestals, and wants it made public that he currently has five to choose among, from which to look down on me. Nice.

  1. Andrea Hupke de Palacio says:

    Dear Margaret, I am a painter and illustrator and I came to your blog searching for tree pictures of the Pinus Bungeana . I saw the picture with the sapsucker damages, and used it for a pencil drawing, which I would like to publish on my artist blog, asking you for permission first, as I drew from your photo! Please let me know if that is ok, I’ll credit your blog in my blogpost. Thank you very much in advance for your kind answer, best regards, greetings from Paris, Andrea

  2. Linda Secrist says:

    i came home from work one night to find my 2 demons sitting in the kitchen staring at a mouse but doing nothing about it[ it was alive and healthy] Perhaps they wanted me to catch and bake it for them but instead i caught it and sent it to the happy mouse kingdom in the sky. The outside cats however do a good job of controlling the little varmit population and as i live in a wooded area is wonderful. They are well fed and very fat and happy

  3. Kristina says:

    Our first home after we were married was nothing but a mouse magnet! I basically ran a trap line with at least 15 traps (not even kidding) and checked it three times daily. I remember opening a kitchen cupboard to get out a brand new, 2 lb bag of pasta and discovering it had been chewed into. Ugh! We didn’t live there very long and we can laugh about it now but I know what you’re dealing with! Wish I had some good advice for you!

  4. Naomi says:

    Ha! I am remembering my Benny-
    not a hunting bone in his body.
    I once came home to see him snuggling
    with a skunk (and he was a tuxedo cat-
    I thought I was seeing double), and
    another time watched him share the cat food
    in the dish with a vole. Sigh. I do miss him,
    no matter how little he did to earn his keep.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hilarious imagery, Naomi, thank you. The skunk! The vole! My Jack can kill anything up to about 3/4 his size, but simply will not get out of bed (or away from the food bowl) now that he has discovered the wonderful world on winters indoors with heating. We are having a test of wills. He is winning.

  5. Ginny says:

    Our cat lives in the hallway. I had to move his food bowl right next to his bed to prevent mice visiting it! He was a feral cat who is quite capable of hunting. So I keep a trap line too. Our old log house is a mouse haven. I’ve lost about four traps so far. I was dismayed when I did catch a flying squirrel in a mouse trap last month. They are such pretty critters but they don’t belong in a kitchen!

  6. Cynthia A. says:

    Our Jack Russell terrier is a supreme hunter, but only outside. He won’t even deign to lift his head up from his favorite sleeping chair to peek at a mouse in the house. Outside he is the terror of any mice and voles that dare to show their whiskers. So I have resorted to a dine and dunk my husband fashioned out of a 5 gallon bucket (a paint stirrer with a dab of peanut butter at one end, which is screwed onto a dowel. They literally walk the plank to what they think is a meal, then drop into a gallon of water) and an electric trap. Both seem to work well, though disposal is still an issue.

    I sympathize with Kristina as I have literally thrown out $$$ worth of food over the years because the mice decided to help themselves. Why is it that I adore them in a Beatrix Potter book and loath them in my basement?

  7. Broken Barn Industries says:

    Almost touched a bold mouse when I reached for something on the pantry shelf recently. No help at all from our animals!

  8. andrea says:

    Thank you Margaret:) I did the little drawing in my sketchbook on my daily trainrides to Paris, took several rides…Your photo made me feel for the poor tree but I liked that you just let the sapsucker be the sapsucker….

  9. Amy Azinger says:

    The warm weather in Wisconsin has caused other creatures to come out of hibernation early – a garter snake made his way into my living room recently. My cat pretended not to see it and was of no help at all.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Amy. The chipmunks showed up today for the first time since December (when we had a warm spell and they came out for a few days). No snakes yet. Wonder if the bear will be here soon as well…

  10. Connie says:

    I can identify with Ginny’s post from 2/16. I too live in an old log house (well, part of the house is an old log house). Almost two years ago I live-trapped three flying squirrels that had found their way into the attic. I was amazed at how gentle and tame they were! I guess this was because they are nocturnal and rarely have contact with humans?

    1. Margaret says:

      They are adorable, aren’t they, Connie? But not such good indoor companions (like any squirrel!). They do seem to get quiet in the traps (unlike red squirrels who go crazy).

  11. Martha says:

    re Ms. Margaret’s comments & Andre’s marvelous doodles:

    I’m sure you know the Buddhist folk-belief that if we follow and stay on the Middle Path, live a life of good and kind works, thoughts and Spiritual Practice, our next life will be a “rest life,” usually described as “a well-fed cat in a happy household.” Thus you might consider that you are living with a Spiritual Master, Jack. Thus his slightest Whim to be your command.

    CC: Jack–Namaste

    1. Margaret says:

      Haha, Martha, and I will read this to Jacko the Wacko (who is biting my knee right now because I am not getting up fast enough to tend to his wishes)!

  12. Nora Sirbaugh says:

    ROFL….yes, and our dog used to chase the rabbits out. Note the “used to”, now he barely opens an eye to look at me when I nag…. .

  13. Betsy Wells says:

    A few years ago I discovered mice in my kitchen. They were coming up from the basement where I had a bag of squirrel corn. The nice had moved in, set up housekeeping and were raising their families. I took Tucker down to catch the mice. He sat down next to the bag and said “If they come out, I’ll play with them.” Next I took Mary Cat down. She had been a barn cat and was a wonderful hunter. She said “Get me out of here, I’ve retired and don’t do this any more” as she ran toward the steps. At this point I decided to get some mouse traps to get rid of the mice. That night about 2:30am, Bart woke me up. I thought he wanted to go out. But that wasn’t the case. Somehow he had gotten into the basement and caught a mouse. He had laid it out on the kitchen floor and wanted to show it to me. I praised him, got rid of the dead mouse and went back to bed. Unfortunately I couldn’t get back to sleep. I think I finally caught about 15 mice.

    1. Margaret says:

      Oh, Betsy, I hear you! This is how rural living goes: the cat sleeps, the lice take over. I go into the (nasty) cellar hole every morning, and who knows what I will find. UGH. I do the barn, sheds, etc. — anywhere/everywhere they can get into. Jack? He gets his beauty rest — and mine. :)

  14. Dahlink says:

    This brings back memories of our dear departed Cleo (who lived to be 21 and a half–my other occupation was “cat nurse” in her last years). She was an enthusiastic mouser and virtually eradicated all the voles that lived in our pachysandra. One day my young son urgently called me downstairs. “Cleo brought in a bunny!” I thought I would see a baby bunny, but the one hopping around my dining room was a teenaged rabbit, about as big as Cleo herself (who never weighed more than 7 lbs. or so). We rescued the rabbit, but never did figure out how Cleo accomplished THAT trick.

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