I woke up late yesterday. Not the kind of late where you feel all rested and refreshed and ready to take charge of the day. The kind where you know you’re in last place before you even get started because you went to bed way too late and in fact you might cheerfully kill for an extra hour of sleep and your eyes are open but not quite focused and you’re damn glad no one else is awake because if you had to actually speak to someone they might spontaneously combust.
You know, a typical workday.
So I can perhaps be excused for not noticing right away — in fact, not until after I had fed the cats and put the tea kettle on to boil — that there was blood all over my kitchen floor.
Okay, fine, it wasn’t “all over” the floor. There were a couple smallish strategically placed globs of it and several big streaks. And a few scattered smudges. But it pretty much covered the span from wall to wall and cupboard to baker’s rack.
It was all over the damn place.
My first thought was, Oh hell. Am I bleeding? How could I be bleeding and not know it? I hobbled around like a demented stork, peering groggily at the bottom of first one foot and then the other. I was not bleeding. I looked twice, just to make sure. Did I mention I was not quite awake?
Then I thought, Oh crap. One of the cats is bleeding. So I watched the two of them stalk each other around the kitchen for a while, seeing as how I was too bleary-eyed to pick them up, turn them over and inspect their paws. Trust me, that kind of maneuver is risky even when you’re wide awake and fully caffeinated. But no, there was no blood creeping in on little cat feet. Phew. Not an injured cat.
So, what the hell? Why was there blood all over my kitchen? I decided one of the cats must have gotten into something during the night and cut a paw but had since stopped bleeding. Made sense to me. And I know darn well which of the two cats [ahem] is wild-ass crazy and likely to get into things. And which cat owner [ahem] should have to clean up the carnage.
So I’m pretty sure that on my way out the door to work [late! GAH!] my still-groggy self said to my half-awake daughter, “There’s blood all over the kitchen floor.” I ignored her startled exclamation. “I think she’s fine now, but check your cat’s feet for cuts. Oh, and clean up the mess she made. Gotta run!”
I got a text message an hour later: Her feet are fine. I think maybe she killed a mouse.
A mouse? Okay, now I’m skeptical. My cat has killed a wayward mouse or five in her time, but there was never any blood involved. Do mice even have blood? Apparently my cat is too polite to inflict death by exsanguination. Plus she doesn’t have front claws.
I texted back: Eeeww! But where are the random parts? She wouldn’t eat ALL of it would she?
So I got home from work and asked again. “Where is the rest of this supposed mouse? Are you sure she didn’t just cut herself? I can’t believe she ate the claws and the tail and . . . and . . . the skull and–”
“Mom! Stop! That’s just gross.”
“Well, the carcass has to be here somewhere,” I said. “Help me look.”
We looked. No mouse parts.
My daughter said, “She keeps going over to her litter box. Do you think . . . maybe?” So she went over and cautiously poked around in the litter box. No mouse.
Then her cat went over and poked around in the litter box. Vigorously. And ten seconds later came charging into the room where we were sitting, proudly flipping a little dead mouse body up into the air and swatting it before it hit the ground and then flipping it up again.
My daughter was horrified and rushed to separate the triumphant cat from her battered trophy. “Mom, grab her. Or grab the mouse. Quick, before she–”
Too late. The cat swatted the mouse and flipped it across the room, narrowly missing my daughter as it flew past. “Mom! It’s not funny!”
I thought it was hysterical. I know, I’m weird. But the cat buried the mouse in her litter box, for godsakes. And waited for us both to come home so she could pull it out and show it to us. Practically preening in anticipation of high praise.
Instead she got yelled at, her prize revoked. Poor thing must have been wondering whatever happened to the concept of hail the conquering hero. To the victor go the mouse spoils, and all that.
I was laughing pretty hard by the time our uninvited guest was duly shrouded in double-bagged plastic. Until I realized I still had mouse blood all over my kitchen. No, my daughter hadn’t cleaned it up. She’d been out visiting friends most of the day. Plus she claimed it wasn’t her responsibility. Hrumph.
“It was your cat who made the mess,” I said.
“It was your mouse.”
So we both cleaned it up. I thought a wet paper towel was sufficient.
“Mom! Are you just using water?”
“Gross. You don’t know what that mouse had in its blood.”
“What, platelets? Geez. It’s not like it had AIDS.”
“Oh. My. God. Where’s the Lysol?”
By the time she was done, my kitchen floor was so clean you could have eaten off it. If you were a cat. Who had just caught a mouse.
So, how was your day? Clean up any crime scenes lately?