Mice and their cats

Mice and their cats

We have mice in the house. Field mice, not house mice. Why do we have field mice when the fields are full of things for mice to eat? Why do we have any mice when we have two cats and two dogs?

This house-boat leaks, broken tiles, mud walls, planking chewed and holed. Internal doors with pieces cut out at the base to let cats through, shutters in the attic with holes for the owls, a separate exit for the pigeons. Mouse highways.

So we put everything edible in plastic tubs or glass jars, keep the fruit in a meat safe, sweep up crumbs.

Yet we still have mice. We hear the scritch-scratch in the night while the cats sleep. See them scamper across the kitchen in the daytime while the cats sleep.

In the long ago and far away, a wise ancient had the bright idea of inviting cats into his granaries to eat the mice. I don’t suppose there are records of his success rate, graphs to show rodent populations, champion hunter tallies.

All we have are the memes, household cat gods, sleeping in the sun, by the stove, waiting for the next meal to appear from the fridge.

Balance
in the stars planets
the orbits of satellites
day and night plenty and famine
we strive
balancing on the tipping point
dancing
between too much and too little
what is and what should be
like the stars and their music
the deep tragic silence
of felled trees.

Cats

The dverse prompt is cat poems.

800px-Franz_Marc_-_Drei_Katzen_groß.jpg

Cat-shadows slip,

silent as the water’s breath

above the stream,

creep

where, quick as dragonflies,

barred and spotted as tree bark and sun-dapples,

hunters watch with green eyes,

patient as stone statues until

the leap.

And when dusk fills the spaces,

a tide of darkness, washing colours and birdsong

into the night,

cats slink, grey as mice and storm clouds,

to  corners, curled and comfort-scratched,

at the centre of their realms,

to sleep.

Progress report

Grazing

Trixie found a baby mouse,

Scared it half to death and watched it quiver,

Hunched over its fear.

Bored, she stretched and let me take it,

Put it on the sill in the quiet sun.

No sport in babies, she said,

Let it grow.

Then we’ll see.

 

Finbar found a toad,

He’s good at that.

He never sees the pheasants or the hares,

Or any largish prey.

He hunts toads.

At night, they lumber from the ditch

Climb the banks and hunker down

Among the brambles.

Finbar spots them,

Overcomes his fear and pounces,

Perhaps because he is on a lead

And knows we’ll hold him back

So he’ll not take any harm.

Still, he finds toads for us,

Even if we choose to leave them be.

 

Ninnie hunts cobwebs

And dog biscuit.

She finds lots of both.

Life is good, she says,

When there’s a barn and an attic,

And the dog biscuit tub

doesn’t close properly.

 

 

 

All wrapped up

We can’t move for boxes now. I’ve packed up most of the kitchen utensils so I don’t know how we’re going to eat over the next few days. Still washing clothes, towels and bad linen and hoping it will all be dry enough to pack.

cats
Trixie does not like having that little cat so close…

catonabox
The little cat’s favourite perch.

Finbarwrapped
Finbar obviously thinks it’s his turn for the bubble wrap treatment.

Cats, stars and the night

This evening’s clutch of twitter prompt poems. Funny how they follow a theme.

1024px-Franz_Marc_-_Drei_Katzen_groß

Do you see me

through the cigarette haze

as you pour another glass of champagne?

Am I a ghost

that hangs in the rafters of memory?

 

Is dawn breaking or night falling?

Time stopped when you went away,

the sun and moon,

guttering candles

compared with your face.

 

A cat in my shadow stalks

with eyes of fire.

A light at your window breaks,

I see your silhouette

and wait, cat-like,

for the dark.

 

Watch the stars fall and wish,

for all the things you’ll never have,

like sun at midnight,

a crown of stars

and me.

 

Cat sleeps with half-open eyes

and dreams of birds

that shine like stars

in the coping of heaven’s roof.

Black cats

Ninj3

This critter is our Little Cat. She’s the one with problems. We found her in the street outside when she was tiny, had hardly any fur, was full of worms, with a ruptured bowel, and suffering from acute malnutrition that affected her motricity and sense of balance. She had two operations on her bowel, which seem to have been more or less successful except for a bit of incontinence. The eczema is chronic and periodically, her fur still drops out. All of it, right up to her shoulders.

As you can see from the weird position of that back leg, she has difficulty managing four limbs. Her legs don’t bend in the right places so she plods, flat-footed and very noisily and extremely un-cat like. Because she has lost her sense of balance, she falls out of windows, off walls and out of trees. For the first couple of years we had her, she wasn’t allowed outside because we were afraid she would fall into the neighbour’s garden and be eaten by the German Shepherd. So we kept her indoors and she fell out of the second floor windows instead.

I thought I’d post a pic of her while her fur, if not luxuriant, is at least present and covers most of her. Her expression baffles me. It’s a world-weary, leave me alone-type of expression, which I don’t think is intentional. She’s a sweet-natured little thing, absolutely fearless (which we can probably put down to some kind of brain damage), and terribly destructive.

Her name is officially Nina, sometimes Ninja, after her habit of rolling off window ledges, Ploddy or Scabby, for obvious reasons. She doesn’t respond to any name, so I’m guessing we haven’t discovered it yet.

The one below is Trixie. The Boss. Nuff said.

Trix8

 

Night

Three twitter poems on a theme.

 

Moonless night,

orange sky,

packed with cloud

and the sour taste

of city waste,

but far away,

stars light up a sky

black as dreamless sleep,

and in between

peace drops,

pearls from worlds

that have yet to wake.

 

 

Against the black,

a sliver slice,

a curved pool of light,

a rent in the fabric of the sky.

We call it moon

for want of a better word.

 

Cold glitter falls

onto a silent land

of stone and grey trees,

where grey cats prowl,

looking for love,

pad padding

on frosted tiles,

singing their wild songs

to the moon.

Not fate, just cats

A twitter poem that went down a side stream.

768px-black_cat_of_istanbul

Not fate,

not chance,

not wheeling stars in parabolas,

not black cats crossed or not,

made you leave,

just the shop glitter

of plastic grass

on the other side.

 

Cat sits

flits bat

cat knows

snows come

some stays

days and days.

 

Stars in eyes,

winter in thickening fur,

our fate pad padding in his step,

he watches you pass by

and in a blink is gone,

to hunt another heart.

Flash fiction: Sheba Epilogue

Couldn’t resist it.

768px-Tabby_kitten_playing_with_lure

Hilda Scally put down her cup of tea and her head turned slowly, following the antics of the kitten as it chased an imaginary mouse behind her chair.

“Whose is it?” she asked.

Irene started. The idea that the little cat might belong to someone hadn’t crossed her mind.

“Nobody,” she said, defensively. “It just wandered in.”

The kitten made a grab for Hilda’s ankle and she swept her feet out of the way.

“It didn’t just drop out of the sky, though, did it?”

“I’ll leave a notice in the shop. If anybody’s lost a cat they can come and claim it.”

“I’ll bet it’s got a dozen brothers and sisters,” Hilda went on. “You’ll have ’em all traipsing in sooner or later.”

The kitten rolled on its back and looked at Irene upside down. She smiled. “Sheba used to do that when she was little.”

Hilda huffed. “A dog’s different. More intelligent. You can talk to a dog.”

Irene gave her a look. “Not like your Stan.”

Hilda huffed again and chuckled. “Let’s just say, I get more sensible conversation out of Blackie.”

“I’ve never had a cat,” Irene said. “It’ll be an experience.”

“You’ll have to get it spayed.”

Irene shrugged. “Time enough for that. We’ll see if somebody claims it first.”

She cleared the tea things away and got a piece of paper and a biro out of the drawer. Stripy kitten found Nelson Street, she wrote, and added her phone number at the bottom. She looked at the paper wondering what it would feel like if the phone went and it was someone who’d lost a cat. She knew. She felt it already, the slow, tearing pain of loss. She sighed and the sigh came out as a sob. Suddenly aware that she could no longer hear the skitter and patter of paws, claws and balls of tin foil, she pushed back the chair in a panic. She looked under the table and the dresser, behind the coats in the hall, inside the corner cupboard. Her breath was short, her heart pounding when she found the kitten in the bedroom, curled up asleep in Sheba’s basket.

Irene went back into the kitchen and tore up the notice.

“You’re my Sheba now,” she whispered. “Don’t let anybody tell you different.”