Mouse for lunch

We’re in the garden, and our neighbour’s cat arrives to say hello.

B calls me: “Dad! Jeeves has caught a rat!”

It’s not a rat, it’s a mouse. Already dead, but knowing Jeeves, it didn’t die slowly. He enjoys playing with his prey. He’ll catch a rodent and allow it to escape once or twice, but every time catch up with it easily, and whack it with his paw. Just before he kills, the prey usually stays still for a while. Alive, but either too terrified, or too injured, to move.

We step closer, and Jeeves moves round, as if trying to show us what he’s caught. See how clever I am? he says.

Then he bends his head down, picks up the little mouse corpse, and delicately bites its head off.

I glance at Barney, thinking that he might be upset. But he’s quite calm.

“Well, that’s the head gone,” he remarks. Indeed.

Jeeves eats the head, making horrific crunching noises as the skull is pulverised by his strong jaws. Crrunch, crrunch, crrunch. Gone. Another bite removes the front half of the torso, including the front legs. He drops the rear half of the mouse on the patio. A tiny teaspoon of blood spatters the gravel.

Next, Jeeves very carefully licks the open end of the mouse’s body. It’s not clear what he’s doing here, but he is very experienced at this; he knows exactly how to proceed. After the licks, he starts on the rear half. He doesn’t use his paws at all, just his mouth. He’s not chewing, he’s dissecting. He turns the rear end of the corpse around, and eats from the tail end. Down it goes, the rear legs follow.

And what’s left, very deliberately and very clearly, is the intestines, and one or two other organs. A liver, perhaps; I’m not sure. They glisten on the stones. Jeeves walks away from them and proudly curls himself around my ankles. Barney watches him, while I look at the still-warm mouse innards he has left behind, and wonder what I’m going to do with them.

Jeeves wanders off, nonchalant and full up. See? See how clever I am? he purrs.

Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

(14th September 2009)