A Dead Mouse Breaks the Heart

This morning, one of my four cats surprised me as I lay drowsily in bed. Spica is the only female of four cats. She's getting old, as they all are, yet is showing her age more than the boys. I worry about losing them daily, but more about her lately due to her physical aging and a recent upper respiratory infection.

I was awake in bed, contemplating additional sleep or getting up. Suddenly, Spica comes proudly prancing into the room with a mouse inside her mouth. I was incredulous. I don't honestly recall her to ever have a mouse in her mouth. I've seen her play with one of the boy's catch, but usually they are the grotesque felines with an appetite for furry mini-meat.

In my surprise, I quickly went to her. I failed to grab my camera, afraid the moment would pass. I captured a bad image of her using my iPhone4S, but will always have the visual at least.

What I didn't realize is that today I would become the murderer of miniature innocence. Upon my arrival, Spica lost concentration. The mouse zipped across the floor until it was quickly obtained by Spica. This happened twice.

I attempted to take a photo of her again and she became agitated. I feared she'd crush the life from its body.

Whenever they catch a mouse and it is alive, I usually grab a glass Ball Mason jar and a lid so that I can attempt to catch and release the unlucky creature far away outside. Although feline saliva typically is lethal injection, a few mice are lucky and skin has not been broken during their capture. I raced to the kitchen, grabbed a jar and lid. In my haste, I mistakenly startled her again. The mouse was again free. This time, it was quickly apprehended by Gizmo who leapt upon it with brutal force. I heard the terrified squeak of the mouse as it was crushed inside Gizmo's feline jaws. I froze and my heart sank. I knew without looking, but still turned slowly. I had hoped the squeak was one of fear, so I continued my routine of catch and release. With precision from experience, I placed the jar over the mouse and massaged Gizmo's neck until it was released inside. I immediately closed the jar and apologized to the cats. I told the mouse how lucky it was to be safe...truly hoping that my instinct was wrong about the deathly cry.

I looked in the jar to check the victim. My fears were reality. The poor innocent victim of another feline murder. For this time, my attempt had failed. The mouse was truly dead. No breath rose his chest. No twitch upon his limbs. Only the dying squeak to echo and be forever forged into my guilty conscious. For had I not allowed my males near, maybe he'd lived. The softness of which Spica bites would've been only deadly through the fear the mouse itself would feel. The precision that Gizmo used to pounce and grab the mouse was unmatched and deadly. Zero chance for longevity.

It is a rare innocence inside my humanity to feel such remorse for a creature so destructive and germ infested. Even while disinfecting my carpet, I feel guilt. How can I not?

Amber FlowersComment