The cat seems to be going through a phase of hunkering down low with her chin on the ground peering underneath things: she spent a couple of days staring under the fridge and has most recently taking to looking intently underneath the table that holds the television. As far as I can see, there's nothing there. Mind you, she once spent a few days staring down a drain in the road outside, where we assume she may have seen a rat, so perhaps this is just another normal day for our cat. As it's autumn now and we seem to be in the middle of the annual migration of the spiders into the house, I thought she had probably chased some poor arachnid undercover.
We do have a huge spider in the house at the moment. We call her Aragog because she's one of those spiders that's so big you can pretty much hear her footsteps. The cat was chasing her around - at a respectful distance - the other day when Aragog suddenly changed direction and started moving towards her. The cat - perhaps sensibly - backed up and then ran away.
There was a slightly funky smell in the front landing the other way. It was a sort of cheesy mustiness, so I assumed it was probably my trail shoes (which have been in some pretty boggy places this year). I picked them up and gave them an exploratory sniff, but then went to fetch the vacuum because the act of picking them up revealed that I should really get on with some rudimentary domestic tasks before my wife got home from France. I carefully moved all the shoes in the hallway, hoovered, and then put them all back and nice and tidily. I then moved on to vacuum the rest of the house (I like to call it hoovering, even though I know that's a brand name and not the makers of our particular vacuum cleaner. I persist in using the word because I know how much it would irritate James Dyson, and he's the sort of person who needs this kind of low-level trolling).
The next time I was in the hall, the smell was worse. By the time C got home, it was positively rank... so the first thing she did after dropping her bag was to hunt about to see what might be causing it.
She quickly found out.
It was a beautiful little mouse, quite dead and curled up neatly in one of her old running shoes that was next to the radiator. Who knows how long it had been there. Long enough, I guess. I suppose my moving of the trainers released the full bouquet of decay. It was quite heady.
Our cat is not a killer, but she seems to have some dormant instinct that has taught her to chase things, but she has no understanding of what she is supposed to do if she should catch them. Her track record with mice is somewhat limited and restricted to tossing one poor thing around in air because she wasn't sure what else to do with it and holding another one down until it died of fright after emptying its bowels and trying to gnaw its way through the carpet.
How this one wandered in, I don't know.... but I rather suspect that it tried hiding from the cat underneath the fridge and then underneath the telly but eventually took refuge in that shoe where it quietly died trying to avoid a predator whose fundamental ineptness it couldn't possibly know.
Poor little thing.
What a smell, though.
The Treasure Chest
2 days ago