Don’t Play With Your Food: My cat catches a mouse and — gulp— eats it

Elsa Clair is offers commentary and judgement

Elsa Clair offers commentary and judgement

From the basement, my cat calls out

Elsa Clair likes to talk to me. Though it would be more accurate to say she lectures me: Dinner is late. Or I’ve been downstairs too long and my presence is required upstairs. Or dinner is late. Or I should not be outside with the dogs because… dinner is late.

The other night, about a half hour or so after dinner, after the dogs were back inside from their evening constitutional, I heard Elsa Clair performing an emphatic soliloquy. Her voice wasn’t coming from upstairs, though; I heard her merows, ows, and wows coming from our finished basement.

Because of the volume and insistent tone, my first thought was something bad had happened to her. Unlatching and opening the door to the basement (we use Door Buddys to keep the door open just wide enough for a kitty, but not enough for a cat-poop-eating dog) I saw a very animated Elsa Clair at the bottom of the stairs.

She was unhurt. Though the same could not be said for the small grey blob lying next to her. A mouse, or as any Monty Python fan would say, it was an ex-mouse. It had ceased to exist.

The mighty huntress caught a mouse

Elsa Clair was singing an ode to her prowess at catching a mow-ess.

The last time my little black-and-white hunter got a mouse, it was still alive when I found her — also in the basement. She dropped it in front of me, it ran for it’s life and I grabbed her and brought her upstairs. The rodent in question was captured alive and sent to live in the country (deep in our woods).

I don’t think Elsa Clair ever forgave me for taking away her toy.

She would not make that same mistake again.

It’s my mouse and I’m not sharing

When I opened the basement door, Calvin heard her song and felt he needed to investigate. Mouse in mouth, Elsa Clair bolted up the stairs past her brother and into the laundry room, where she leapt to the highest point: the drying rack shelf.

Elsa Clair with mouse on laundry room shelf

Elsa Clair with her mouse on the laundry room shelf

From her position on Mount Shelf, she growled and hissed threats at the other feline residents of my home, making it very clear that this was her mouse and she was not — and I mean Not with a capital Not — sharing.

The dogs heard the hissing and the growling and decided that what the current tense situation needed was three nosy and exuberant pups. Lilah, Jasper, and Tucker have declared themselves the Hiss Police and have a habit of running like canine Keystone Cops right into the center of a feline feud, because that’s exactly what unhappy cats need.

Thus, with a growling hiss of an Elsa Clair turning her displeasure up to 11, I thought it best to let the dogs outside for a constitutional encore, while I figured out what to do about the mouse.

After the dogs were sent into the night to bark at deer, I opened the basement door (Brian had closed it after Elsa Clair brought her prize upstairs), hoping that I could  lure Elsa Clair back into a room where I could bar the other cats, and possibly gain control of the situation.

My tiny hunter heard the door open, and I swear she flew from the laundry room shelf to the basement. It’s possible her feet hit the ground, but if so, I didn’t see it.

I ran downstairs, slamming the door on the other cats, who barely had time to register who — or what — had just flown by.

Time to play

At first, Elsa Clair made it very clear she wasn’t sharing her trophy with me, particularly after I had deprived her of last conquest. So, I let her be. The mouse had already left the building, so to speak, so it couldn’t be harmed anymore.  Let her play, I thought.

It's the Best. Toy. Ever.

It’s the Best. Toy. Ever.

And so she did. I had a front row seat, watching my wee beastie toss, pounce, fling, roll on, and otherwise enjoy the Best. Toy. Ever.

And then — WHACK — she slammed the mouse against the wall.

Let’s just say that wasn’t a sound I found particularly pleasant.

Elsa Clair strikes a pose next to her prize.

Elsa Clair strikes a pose next to her prize.

The game was getting old for me, and I hoped if I gave her a few more minutes, she’d eventually grow tired of it too. Elsa Clair is the kind of cat who gets bored when a toy stops moving. So I was sure it was only a matter of time until the mouse became old news.

All I had to do was wait her out, and grab for it at the right time.

But Ms. Elsa Clair, Mouse Hunter, did not approve of my plan. When it seemed like play was winding down, I stood up so I could nab the unfortunate creature. I must have crossed a line there, because and Elsa Clair snatched the mouse and sprinted to the other side of our basement, where she hunched protectively over her catch.

Elsa Clair has her mouse under a table in the basement, and she's not sharing.

Elsa Clair has her mouse under a table in the basement, and she’s not sharing.

And then…

She ate it.

In three gulps.

Don’t play with your food

I guess if had thought about it (and I hadn’t) I would have expected a cat to eat a mouse the way lions eat gazelles. Some gnashing and gnawing and chewing. Instead, it was like watching a python eat its prey — but speeded up.

And I got to hear the sound effects. Imagine a brief kind of crunchy swallowing. And then silence.

We can file that sound, along with the one of the mouse hitting the wall, under Sounds I Cannot Unhear Even Though I Wish I Could.

Elsa Clair stared at me. Her thoughts were loud and clear. “It was my mouse. I caught it. I ate it. Told you I wasn’t going to share it.”

And with that, she began her post-meal bath.

Watch my cat and her mouse

Anyone who knows me knows that — as long as nobody was in danger — I’d have my camera and cell phone at hand to record such a momentous event as The Great Mouse Caper.

The short (1 1/2 minute) video below shows the first two chapters of our story: Elsa Clair throwing her hissy fit in the laundry room, and her playing with her food in the basement. That second part includes the very audible thwack of the mouse smacking against the wall.

I did not get any video of Elsa Clair eating her mow-ess. It happened too fast.

And that’s probably for the best.

My cat caught a mouse and ate it. Now what?

Your vet will probably tell you that a mouse is a perfect meal for a cat. Your adorable kitty is an obligate carnivore (meaning she must eat a diet with meat in order to survive) and mice provide all the right nutrients and moisture a cat needs.

However, there are a few things to think about if you cat eats a mouse.

  • Could the mouse have eaten poison? If you or a neighbor leave poison out to get rid of mice, there might be a danger to your cat. If you think so, it’s worth calling your vet to ask his or her advice. In my case, if we ever have a mouse problem, we use live traps in an area the cats can’t get to. We never use poison; I don’t believe in torturing any animal.
  • The mouse might carry diseases, ticks, fleas, or internal parasites. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to bring your cat to the vet for wellness exams every six months, and to bring a fecal sample along with you. My cats are indoor cats, yet they can be exposed to “outside” diseases by my dogs who may carry something inadvertantly or via mice or other invading critters.

Anyone else out there have hunters in their home?


9 Comments on "Don’t Play With Your Food: My cat catches a mouse and — gulp— eats it"

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  1. Loulou says:

    Oh, I LOVE the mouse and kitty story. And yes, the best toy ever is a tiny field mouse, but when mama sees that little creature being tormented, she just about faints. Hey, anthros are weird. Still, we are jungle creatures and no one is going to change THAT.

    • Thank you! I always try to rescue any creature who’s been hunted by my cats — or my dogs. Sometimes I’m successful and the animal lives. Sometimes I’m not. Casualties are buried in the woods on our property, or their bodies are placed in a spot in the woods where scavengers can find them, thus completing the circle. I really had no clue Elsa Clair was going to eat the mouse. That was just this side of a little too much. It makes me thankful that Elsa Clair is 8 pounds instead of 80.

  2. We’re impressed with Elsa Clair’s hunting skills. Sadly, we have never had a mouse in our house…only bugs and spiders that we will hunt down.

  3. Totally hilarious!

    If I could share a photo I’d share at least one of many, probably the one with seven black cats in the bathroom where Bella had taken the mouse and stashed it in the tub. All of them were staring at the mouse. It was staring back. Giuseppe eventually ate that one. Yes, the crunching is unforgettable. Now there are eight who hunt the mousies who come into the basement when the November nights get cold.

  4. meowmeowmans says:

    Wow. Go, Elsa Clair! That’s super impressive, and yes, it WAS your ex-mouse, so you deserved to nom it.

  5. Appaws, appaws, Elsa Clair ! Great catch ! We’re impressed you caught a mouse as you are an indoor cat only, and even more impressed that you knew how to eat it ! Zorro is our great hunter-eater, but Pixie is only a hunter (and Zorro the eater of her preys when she has finished to play with them). Purrs

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