A Game of Cat and Mouse

“Stop it! Keep her away!” I yelled to my mom, hand extended to keep the frenzied cat at arms length. The small creature in the net was running from side to side, trying to get out. Holding a ball of netting, I quickly stood up and looked at him.

This whole ordeal had started the previous day. I walked into the bathroom when I saw something moving beside the toilet. Internally gasping at what it was, I backed out slowly and closed the inner door. Closing the outer door at a much faster pace, I ran down the hall to my mom’s craft room, not stopping to pay attention to the old plastic rocking horse I tripped over.

“There’s a mouse in the bathroom,” I explained in disbelief. To some this may not be so strange, but we hadn’t ever had one in the house. With three cats, it was expected they would be kept away. She looked away from her knitting project and at me. I stepped back out into the hallway with her behind me, and like a perfectly planned escape, all we could see was a blur as he ran down the stairs.

“I didn’t think it could get out!” I told her defensively, though it probably should’ve been obvious.

“Nothing we can do about it now, so just don’t worry about it. The cats will find it.”

I wasn’t convinced. If the three cats hadn’t noticed its presence yet, what was to say they would now? Being indoor cats, they hadn’t been exposed to mice before. I turned to her, grinning.

“I’m gonna call it Levi.”

As it turns out, they did find it. Walking into the front room the next day, I was greeted by Chloe and Turtle, the larger of the three cats. Turtle was a muted tortoiseshell with white at her tips. Chloe, her sister, was a warm-grey schemed tabby, with a touch of salmon on her stomach. They were chattering and crying excitedly, looking at the bottom of a fake children’s keyboard. I crouched down beside the chair where they were. My mom was at the desktop computer, either oblivious or uncaring. Chloe stuck her arm as far as it would go into the hollow bottom of the keyboard.

“I think he’s under there,” I said aloud to anyone who was listening. Between yesterday evening and today, I had internally decided that Levi, or Leviathan (named from CAOS), was a he. Just then, a small head poked out, retreating when another paw came at him. 

“Yeah, he’s under there. I’m gonna catch him.”

“Leave him alone, the cats will catch him,” my mom replied. Which may have been true, but I didn’t want him to be killed by the cats. He was small, and I loved mice. It was unclear how I was going to catch him, though. What about the butterfly net on the porch..? Now that just might work.

I headed towards the front door, made sure no cats were at risk of escape, and stepped out. The net had been used to clear spider-webs off of my bike, and I was hesitant to touch it. But I ended up grabbing it and running back to the scene in the front room. My sister, Savannah, had gathered in the area now, accompanied by the third cat– Stu. She rubbed her charcoal head against Savannah’s legs for attention. The twins were still looking at where the mouse was. I gently pushed Chloe back and stuck the opening of the net over the hole. 

“He’s not gonna come out,” I noted after a few long minutes. “We need to pick the keyboard up.”

“Don’t hurt my keyboard!” Savannah protested. She didn’t use the thing anymore, and I didn’t know why we kept it around. 

“I won’t. I just wanna get him out.”

And so with one hand on it and the other on the handle of the net, I lifted it up. Leviathan ran out onto the open floor, and I slammed the net down, capturing him inside. Everything did not go according to plan. The net wasn’t down flat due to being bent out of shape over time. It was a cheap one that we’d gotten a few months back at the Dollar Tree, and this was not its intended purpose. Leviathan found this fairly quickly and bolted. 

“AAH!” my sister screamed. “He ran over my foot!”

The cats, sitting and watching until now, went to make their move. Chloe pounced on the mouse, picking him up in her mouth. 

“No!” I scolded, and she dropped him. Not because of me, but because of his squirming and her unfamiliarity at this. I put the net back down over him. “Stop it! Keep her away!” I yelled to my mom, hand extended to keep the frenzied cat at arms length. The small creature in the net was running from side to side, trying to get out. Holding a ball of netting, I quickly stood up and looked at him. He was light brown in color, with a tan underbelly and dark brown on the tips of his fur.

“Look at him, he’s so cute,” I gushed, holding the handful out to my mom and sister. They were less impressed.

My mom and I took him outside and down the hill in the backyard. Just before the edge of the woods, we decided, was far enough. I set the net down on the grass and released my hand from the part around Levi. He didn’t move as I stroked him gently and picked the now bent-up net up. Crawling slowly, as if unsure what was happening, he started moving around. His nose and whiskers twitched as he smelled his surroundings. After many aww’s, mostly from me, we left him to go his own way. 

“That was.. Something,” she said to me as we dragged ourselves up the hill. It didn’t look it, but it was steep and fairly exhausting to walk up– especially from the bottom.

“Yeah. He was so cute,” I replied.

“I just have one thing..” she started, stopping to look at me. “Don’t tell your father.”

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