MOUSEY MAY MEANDERINGS…A Mouthful of Fur and A Bit of China-Bashing

| May 4, 2012 | Comments (0)

Ours is a rather creaky household here at Fawlty Towers.  Its three denizens are all getting on age-wise; two humans and a cat with one tooth. But there are still Phoenix-like moments here on East 140th Street when one or more of us rise to the occasion in spectacular fashion, often in the most unexpected manner.

Most recent was an act of courage and useful household policing by our eighteen year-old tiger cat Putri. Putri, or Putri Dunn to give her full name, she having been born in the barnyard of Dunn Farm in Orange County, New York, has seen better days. Save for the occasional bout of incontinence, she has slipped into graceful retirement, dwelling in the twilight of  her feline  years. Rarely does she perform her time-honored morning ritual, leaping from the floor to my shoulders as I busy myself at the kitchen counter, sinking her claws into the nape of my neck, growling her matinal greeting to me in hopes of a saucer of milk. No longer does she roar out the kitchen door when neighborhood feral cats prowl the back garden, thrashing them into shameful retreat. Alas ! Her days as Warrior Princess are over.

Most regrettable of all, her mousing skills seemed to have gone the way of her athletic prowess and fierce territorial protectiveness. But what can be expected when one is deaf and dentally challenged as she is ?

No doubt, sensing that Putri is no longer the guerriere she used to be, swarms of rodents, rats and mice, descended on Fawlty Towers this winter leaving their fetid calling cards in the form of pungent mouse droppings and that most off-putting of liquids, rat urine. Our efforts at elimination brought little success – poisonous pellets, baited traps and sticky pads –  the rodents’ version of water-boarding – were all for naught. Sightings and droppings increased exponentially as frantic measures met a brick wall. The low point of our campaign occurred one morning in the bathroom when I cornered a small mouse, a cute little thing. I could have done it in on the spot with my foot or the nearby broom, but hoping  the call of the wild could somehow  be re-kindled if I engaged Putri in a mano a mano with the mouse, I dragged her by the nape of the neck into the bathroom and pointed her at Mr. Mouse who had been trapped in a corner. The two faced off for a moment and then Putri executed what seemed to be the cat version of a yawn, and walked away.

Sitting disconsolately on our dilapidated kitchen sofa, I was overcome by a wave of resignation and defeat. I felt the house no longer belonged to us – Rodentville had arrived. That night I dreamed of giant rats gnawing on the legs of our kitchen table, daring us to face them down.

The next morning, descending to the kitchen sure to find a leering legion of these creatures making waste of our chair legs, I was surprised beyond description at what I saw. There was Putri chewing on the still wriggling body of a medium-sized mouse. We eyed each other with delight, Putri and I. She had risen to the occasion, pausing to gaze triumphantly up at me with what was certainly a sneer; then she continued chewing the now lifeless form, her near-toothless mouth awash with mouse blood, fur and bits of pink flesh.

Seized with a surge of joy, I scooped her up into my arms. As the mouse dropped to the floor I planted a huge kiss on Putri’s face. Our mouth-to mouth encounter was beyond description. As I ingested bits of mouse meat and rodent fur, I knew what it must have been like when that  Frenchman from long ago discovered the first morsel of roquefort cheese in a cave  in ancient Gaul. Oh Joy ! Oh Bliss ! Oh disgusting flavor ! How to describe the overpowering fusion of aging cat breath and freshly slaughtered mouse garnished with  pinches of glossy mouse hair.

Like Scarlett O’Hara’s father, riding madly and gallantly on his steed when everybody thought he was over the hill, Putri seized the moment joining the ranks of other brave souls who had been mistakenly written off. Gloating over her kill she proved that being deaf and toothless was no barrier when a woman with the right stuff is involved. As I picked the mouse fur and rodent flesh from my teeth, I allowed myself a bit of credit for our victory. It was teamwork that had done it. I was sure my bathroom gambit with Putri and the cornered mouse which I so cleverly orchestrated,  had brought home to her the purpose her life had been destined for.

Since that momentous morning there has been quiet on the kitchen front. Word has gone out in the feral community that Putri is on the prowl. Nary a mouse turd nor a smelly puddle are to be found around the house.  Putri RULES! Putri ROCKS !

On the other side of the planet word has come to me about the cruel treatment of Pandas in the Shanghai zoo. It seems that these marvelous animals are kept in squalid conditions in their captivity. Their cages are filthy and, even worse, visitors to the Panda House taunt the animals poking them through the bars with sticks. How sad that an animal in captivity that is also a revered national symbol  should be mistreated by both the zoo and its visitors !

And I’m not through with you yet, China ! The purveyor of this depressing news, my friend “J”, also reports on the shocking outcome of an automobile accident he was involved in towards the end of  his  recent visit to Shanghai.  In a swirl of downtown traffic, the vehicle  “J” and his friends were riding in was violently tail-gated by a truck, smashing their car with  excessive force. As  “J” and his fellow passengers emerged, bruised and traumatized, several, as it turned out, with broken bones, crowds of on-lookers closed in,  pointing and laughing ! Surely, there is a cross-cultural barrier here that must explain this otherwise inexplicably barbarian behavior !

As the sages say, these are “interesting” times we are living in. I have no plans in the forseeable future to visit China or any other foreign destination. With the home front quiet here at Fawlty Towers, Putri and I have no program beyond living another  mouse-free day.

Note to readers and friends: Putri is available – for a fee – to perform her “guaranteed result” counter-insurgency on rats and mice. Just call us 24/7 !

 

 

 

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