Enter the mouse: scritch, scritch, rustle, squeak. In the wall of the bedroom. He’d never been here before, and the surroundings were unfamiliar, making silent running an impossibility.
Rustle. Rustle, scritch, rustle.
Enter Thumbcat, padding into the room on soft, silent cat paws. A simple hop onto the bed, and he stares silently at the wall, eyes following the invisible trail of the mouse on the other side.
Scritch, rustle, rustle, scamper, rustle, rustle.
Thumbcat slaps the wall with his paw, and the noises stop abruptly.
The next night the play is repeated.
Rustle, scritch, scritch, scritch, squeak, rustle, rus-. This time Thumbcat steps on a bedspring and it squeaks. The noises in the wall stop abruptly, interrupted mid-rustle. Silence reigns.
Scritch. A hesitant pause.
Scritch, scritch. Rustle, scritch.
Rustle, rustle, scritch, scamper, rustle, rustle, scritch, rustle. Thumbcat’s eyes follow every imagined move.
This continues on a regular basis for two weeks. Mouse on one side of the wall, Thumbcat on the other. Never meeting, always knowing the other is there.
Until one night.
Scritch, scritch, rustle, scamper… what’s this? A hole? A hole into the side of the wall where the bedspring-squeaking, wall-thumping-with-paw animal lives? Yes, it is! What else may be on the other side? Food perhaps? A warmer place to sleep? A roomier place, certainly. It’s worth the risk. The mouse squeezes though the hole and steps gingerly into the room and comes face-to-face with…
Thumbcat. The room is the bathroom, where the Thumbcat likes to sleep on the fluffy bath mat. And Thumbcat’s sensitive cat ears heard the quiet, but not silent, entrance of the mouse.
The battle was epic. Around the toilet! Up and over the sink! Into the bathtub – hiding in the shower curtain – but never for long as Thumbcat buffets the folds with his paws. Behind the toilet again! Around the trash can!
The battle ended as many of these do, with a solid thunk from the Thumbcat’s paw. The mouse lay where he fell, never to rustle in the walls again. The Thumbcat walked away, to sleep somewhere that did not play host to invading mice.
At least… this is what I believe happened. We humans slept through whatever battle there was, lulled by the absence of scritching in the walls. The only fact to show there was a battle was the dead mouse on the bathroom floor that I almost stepped on. That, and Thumbcat sleeping on the couch instead of the bath mat, and licking his paws.
At least he didn’t bring it into the bedroom and give it to us as a present! And we will sleep better knowing he is on the prowl.