Friday, September 09, 2005

Dead mice and live snakes

Now that we let our cats outside, we have the joy of watching them chase critters around the yard. Of course, since our cats are some of the finest felines around, they catch most of what they chase. And give it to us, dead.

Most of their prey are mice (perhaps voles?), and that appears to be their favorite. The mice are quick and keep the chase going for a lot longer than other animals. Of course, most of them end up dead. Right now we have two on the back patio, on by the front door, and one in the garage. I really should dispose of them, but, being a guy, I can step over and around the dead carcasses without even noticing them. It's kind of like dirty laundry. I'm thinking that we need to invest in a dead-animal-only pair of tongs.

The other common prey is snakes. Growing up in the big city of Portland, I didn't have much exposure to snakes. But, in the sticks, we get a lot of garter snakes. And many are pretty large - well over two feet long. Luckily, the snakes know how to play dead - and the cats must lose interest quickly because none have shown up dead on the doorstep (yet). I've rescued three or four snakes so far, and only one had any visible damage (a pea-sized chunk of flesh hanging from its tail).

It's even more fun when the cats bring their catch into the house and let it go. So far we've been able to avoid finding a snake in our bedroom, but I"m sure it'll happen some time soon.

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