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We continue our saga of Buddy’s best friend with a photo that may seem unrelated, but trust us, gentle reader, this odd contraption is the sole reason for Gray Mousie’s most recent adventure:

Not our favorite toy

Not our favorite cat toy

Now, you might well ask, what is the significance of this rather ugly carpeted cylinder with its one odd antenna? Ah, gentle reader, just sit back and enjoy the story, and your patience will be rewarded.

On Saturday morning, the caretaker visited the grocery store to refill the refrigerator, which had been strategically emptied before her recent trip so as not to leave food to spoil during her absence. Having secured all the nutritional necessities, she thought it might be a good idea to buy Buddy a new toy, as penance for her three-days-long absence. The marketing material for the amazing antennaed-and-carpeted cylinder promised “hours of fun for your cat.” Besides, this wonder of modern toy making was “treated with catnip” and could serve as a scratching post. So the caretaker purchased the toy, promises and all.

But in actual experience, the cylinder failed miserably in fulfilling its claims. At best the toy provided a couple of minutes of that emotion which lives somewhere between ennui and apathie. The caretaker set it down in the living room floor, pulled back the pompom-on-a-spring, and then let it go and waited for the hours of fun to commence. There was a glimmer of hope when Bear wandered over and sniffed the carpeted outsides, but her aversion for catnip caused her to turn up her nose and walk away (“Just say ‘no’ to drugs” is her motto).

The toy held Buddy’s interest only slightly longer. He stuck his nose into the swing radius of the spring, and the pompom crashed against his whiskers. Looking surprised, he batted the pompom with his paw and suddenly decided that this was not the toy of his dreams. So he, too, walked away, leaving the spring to swing and sway all alone until entropy took over. Thus snubbed by the two most interesting creatures in the house, the cylinder stood in silence and waited for Godot, mumbling, “Nothing to be done.”

A few minutes later, the caretaker noticed that Buddy had retrieved Gray Mousie, as if to say, “I don’t care how many other toys that hooman brings into this palace. You will always be my favorite, Gray.”

The previous paragraphs are a (mostly) accurate account of the events leading up to the video linked below. As you watch it, please note that in the distance looms the new, abandoned toy. Please also notice that Buddy’s imagination allows him to stuff Monsieur Mousie under the edge of the bed, pretend he has no idea it’s there, and then sneak up on it less than a minute later. Cats are skilled at self-deception.

So now if you are ready to feast your eyes on Mousie in action, please open The Further Adventures of Gray Mousie and click the play button. It is not necessary for you to hold your applause (or your laughter) until the end. There is no point in turning up your sound because Buddy is a silent hunter. The only sounds you will hear are the hums and thumps of the washer and dryer hard at work preparing pelts for sorting.

Some things never change.

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Note: The caretaker regrets that there are no photos to illustrate the events described herein. But the reason for this omission will become painfully clear in the telling of the tale. . . .

During the spring and summer, the Palace population increases dramatically, due to the influx of various creatures who are coming out of hibernation looking for a temperate spot in which to raise their families and generally run amok. A few weeks ago the kitchen and bathroom were turned into Holiday Inns for tiny six-legged pests, which Buddy took to be his own personal Matchbox insects. No ants were harmed in these incidents, but many were undoubtedly shaken and confused after being batted across the floor repeatedly.

Now, when Bear sees a bug or bird, her first thought is “I AM PREDATOR,” so she immediately goes in for the kill. Buddy, on the other hand, is a man; therefore, his first thought is “TOY!” Depending on the object of his attention, he is either all play or mostly play with a bit of trepidation. Occasionally a lot of trepidation.

Tonight, for example, he was highly diverted by the sighting of a nondescript spider in the room in which the caretaker frequently subjects herself to water torture. He had followed her through the doorway, and after she sat down on the only chair in the room, he caught a glimpse of eight legs shuffling down the baseboard, headed straight for the caretaker. Buddy would like to take credit for valiantly intervening between the fell beast and the frail woman who opens the cat food cans, but he was really just curious to know why the nickel-sized creature was in such a dime-sized hurry. He began to paw and sniff at it, and as he did, it picked up speed. As all twelve legs closed in on the caretaker, she accelerated her progress, so to speak, and stood to attention. Buddy hardly noticed her dilemma as he alternately chased the spider and leapt into the air in terror when it fought back. He followed it down the right side of the bathroom “chair,” across the back wall, and then up the left side of the wall beside the now-vacated seat.

But then something happened that neither he nor the caretaker expected. The spider disappeared. One minute it was raising two clenched fists, and the next minute, it was gone. History. Finito. Vanished into thin air. Just like Houdini. Or David Copperfield (not the Dickens character).

Now, gentle readers, please consider this: The only thing worse than seeing a spider in one’s bathroom is NOT seeing a spider that one is quite sure remains in the bathroom. Somewhere.

It matters very little how itsy bitsy the spider may seem when it is visible, it looms Shelob-tall in the imagination once it ducks under the baseboard. In such cases, out of sight will most certainly never be out of mind.

It is Buddy’s considered opinion that Professor Tolkien wrote the Cirith Ungol passage of LOTR shortly after being trapped in the loo with a Spotted Wolf Spider. He cannot prove this theory, but nor can you disprove it. So just believe.

And be sure to shake out your shoes before you slide your toes into them.

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The Food Network

Dinner

Dinner

There are few things in Buddy’s life more important than his throne. But now that he has recovered his seat of honor, he can concentrate on a more primal need: food.

We have written extensively of his passion for gravy (a.k.a. sauce or broth or bouillon or au jus), but he is also willing to spend a little time daily in crunching dry food, so long as it is not of the healthy variety. One can only imagine that while he chomps down on the tasty morsels, his mouth filling with lovely, meaty tastes and his ears filling with wonderful crackling sounds, he fancies himself a great hunter, tearing into the carcass of a freshly killed gazelle, munching through its tasty bones.

Cats have well-formed—and unnerving—imaginations.

Food Supply

Food Supply

This dining experience sometimes awakens in Buddy an urge to stalk prey, and when this urge evokes Buddy’s cœur de lion, he sets out on a hunting expedition of his own design. And woe be unto the calico mouse who crosses his path under these circumstances. As our gentle readers can see from the photo at right, one hapless navy blue mousie has already been added to the crunchfest, and a stunned orange mousie is waiting in the wings to take part in the meal—from the wrong side of the bowl, unfortunately. It matters very little that Buddy cannot actually eat these toys; he has had opportunity to enjoy the thrill of the pursuit. He is hunter; hear him roar.

Civilized Foraging

Civilized Foraging

Now, considering Buddy’s deep fear of virtually everything loud or bright or swift or large, this poor Mufasa wannabe would probably not last more than five minutes on the savannah. He occasionally gets spooked just rifling through the grocery bags.

But a boy can dream.

And it is his assertion that since you cannot prove he could not survive on the savannah, you should just accept that his great and mighty hunting prowess exceeds that of every lion or tiger that you have ever known personally.

He has you there, gentle reader.

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