Think again: at the age of approximately five and a half months, this seemingly harmless ball of fluff committed a murder in what he thought was the cover of the night.
Now, as you’ve probably figured out by now, I have three cats: Ayla (6), Lian (2) and Midas (1). At the time of the crime, Midas was just a baby and had exhibited no violent tendencies. In fact, arguably the most affectionate of the three, I could never have be prepared for what was to greet me that fateful night, when I awoke to a traumatizing scene.
Let me set the stage a bit:
It’s midnight on the eve of January 16, 2012. I am all tucked into bed, the soothing sound of the cats sprinting across the house, dragging their little string toys behind them. All is normal. At this point, I’ve learned to block out what others may consider a distraction.
1:00 a.m. – (sleeping)
2:00 a.m. – (sleeping)
3:00 a.m. – (sleeping)
3:45 a.m. – (frantic sprinting-across-carpet noise)
I immediately snap to an upright sitting position.
I come to almost quickly enough to take in the scene. Something’s not right. Lian, the little white autistic, athletic cat is at full speed, barely picking his body up off of the ground in an animalistic pursuit of a little gray mouse.
Now, I admit, I’m not much of an outdoorsy girl, so the fact that a stray and, at the moment, live mouse was scampering in fright around my bedroom was less than optimal.
Suddenly—and this is happening in milliseconds, people—sweet little Midas whips up from his perfectly prostrate position on his neatly arranged black fleece, launches off of the bed and, in one swoop, brings the mouse down.
Poor Lian, the fragile one, all the while looks on in confusion, turning around in circles as the mouse he worked so hard to round up is snatched from under his nose.
And, now for the kill: I don’t think this particular game was much of a challenge for Midas. Occurring almost simultaneously with the leap, the mouse’s neck took a hit—instantly incapacitated. Midas, who had before my eyes turned into a venomous, threatening, torturous murderer, stood, menacingly clutching his kill.
I watched in horror. Never before had I witnessed domestic animals give way to their wild, natural tendencies, let alone my five-pound kitten running around my basement apartment.
Terrified, I trailed the killer as he scurried from room to room, growling as he paraded his prey. As far as he was concerned, the hell if he was ever going to relinquish his badge of honor.
Mind you, it’s 3 a.m., I’m tired, horrified and confronted with an unfamiliar and, frankly, disturbing situation. Like any other self-respecting woman, I frantically dialed my boyfriend, selfishly unconcerned that I might wake him.
“ALEX! MIDAS… HE—I CAN’T EVEN SAY IT. HE— THERE’S A MOUSE… IT’S DEAD…I THINK. MIDAS…he’s a, a killer! A torturous beast. I NEED— HELP ME! WHAT DO I DO?”
Groggily, Alex barely suppressed his obvious amusement.
At this point, I was on the phone, positioned in a heap on top of the kitchen counter. Previous attempts to part Midas from his prey were an abject failure. I was determined to keep the distance for the time being; there was no frickin’ way he was going to drop that thing on me. Or, if the mouse should rise from the dead, there was no way that thing was crawling up my leg.
Before Alex could offer me his guidance, I leapt from the counter and sprinted toward my winter boots, an impervious armor against whatever clever little moves the cat (or the mouse, for that matter) might make. Grabbing a broom, I chased Midas from room to room, nudging him in hopes that it would be annoying enough for him to put that whole mouse-killing business behind him.
To no avail, I returned to Alex. In between trying to calm me down and putting me into a mental state where I could feasibly handle the situation, he suggested opening a can of wet food, which—up until then—was Midas’ favorite thing in the whole wide world.
Here comes the can snap. And…
The murderous monster did nothing but stare up at me with his big, gorgeous yellow eyes.
Plan C: “Try treats!”
Plan D? At this point, we’re losing hope, I’m still frantic and traumatized, and really craving a return to normalcy—a return to my bed. Alex half-heartedly suggests using the hair dryer…
This does, in Alex’s defense, grab his attention for a second, but is still lousy competition compared to the mouse.
Plan D.5: “I have it,” Alex exclaims! “Cat Froli!”
For those of you deprived individuals who are not familiar with FroliCat, it is a wonderful little console that has about 10 programmed laser pointer trajectories. It’s great. You turn it on, adjust the speed and set the timer and it’s cat entertainment without requiring you to flick a string around for 15 minutes.
FroliCat proved to be too much for the kitten to handle. I forgot to mention, at this point, we had resorted to double stimulation: both the hair dryer and FroliCat were in action.
HE DROPPED THE MOUSE! I immediately covered it with the broom and grabbed Midas with a self-satisfied, “Now you go tell your friends who’s boss!” (his friends being my other two cats, who were innocently, and behaving like perfect little angels, quarantined in the other room).
Now comes the hard part. Mustering as much courage as I could, with the power of my whole being, I swept the dead mouse into a plastic bag, all the while physically shuttering and shrieking to Alex, who was still on the phone.
4:50 a.m. – The cats are released.
5:00 a.m. – Bedtime #2
A long night has come to an end.