Pippin, tabby cat, showing his tummy

When is a cat not a cat?

I told you last week how we discovered that there was a mouse inside the kitchen door and that the male biped had a cunning plan. Here is what happened next.

Pippin has a bit of a reputation as a fearless hunter and the male biped said he’d encourage the mouse to come out so that Pippin could catch it. He sent Mulberry and me out onto the terrace, as he said we’d get in the way! It was easy for me to look through the glass in the terrace door, but Mulberry had to stand up on his hind legs to watch.

The biped taped some cardboard over the grille on the kitchen side of the door and then closed the door. He unscrewed the grille on the other side – we still couldn’t see the mouse as the door was hollow.

The female biped said she didn’t want to watch and went to the other end of the room, while Mulberry and I pressed our noses against the glass hoping to see everything. The male biped encouraged Pippin to sit a few feet away from the door. He then put a peanut on the floor fairly close to Pippin. A moment later the mouse appeared in the hole in the door and Pippin moved forwards, which scared the mouse back into the door – not surprising really!

Peanuts

Mouse treats!

The male biped moved the peanut a little farther away from the door and told Pippin he’d have more time to catch the mouse. We didn’t have to wait long before the mouse appeared again. It ran right under Pippin’s nose, picked up the peanut and ran back towards the door. Pippin pounced, but he was too late and the mouse disappeared into the door. The male biped said that he thought it was a field mouse or a wood mouse, but not a house mouse.

Wood mouse

Wood Mouse
from Wikipedia

I decided that, as it was in the door, it was more likely to be a dormouse looking for somewhere to sleep away the winter.

Hibernating dormouse

A sleeping dormouse
Attribution: By Krzysztof Dreszer (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mulberry said he thought it was RebelMouse – he thinks he’s hilarious!

The female biped said, “Whatever type of mouse it is, it has no reason to come out for a while now!”

The male biped agreed that the mouse would probably take a while to eat the peanut, but he put another peanut on the floor and told Pippin to keep his eyes open. The mouse really liked those peanuts – it soon appeared and scurried right under Pippin’s nose, picked up the peanut and went back into the door. Pippin opened his eyes wide and watched it every step of the way but stayed as still as a statue.

The male biped said he’d try again. The same thing happened!

The female biped said that we had the best fed mouse in the neighbourhood and that she thought she had remembered where the mousetraps were packed. The male biped asked if he could get them and she said it would be easier for her as she knew what the box looked like. She soon came back with four mousetraps.

They were the type that is a little box with a door that drops down when the mouse enters. The mouse is unharmed and can be released outside. She put a peanut in each one and arranged them in an arc on the floor below the hole in the door.

The male biped said, “That’ll scare the mouse and make it stay in the door!”

She replied, “Maybe. That’s what I thought about the cat sitting by the door, but that was before I knew that the cat was the mouse’s pet!”

Pippin, tabby cat, showing his tummy

Pippin – the mouse’s pet, allegedly!

The male biped said, “Ouch! Cover your ears Pippin!” But then he asked, “Are you a cat or a mouse? Squeak up!”

While they were busy teasing each other, the mouse came out of the door. It went across and into a trap and the little door on the trap flipped closed.

The bipeds heard that and they both smiled. Pippin just sat there. The female biped said that she’d take the mouse outside and release it, while the male biped put the door back together.

I asked Pippin if the pressure of having an audience was too much for him. He said he could have caught the mouse easily, but there was a slight communication problem. He says he thought the biped wanted to catch it! He says he gave a demonstration of the required moves and sat there giving quiet encouragement.

Pippin is still not very pleased with me about telling this tale, especially the part that answers the question in the title. When is a cat not a cat? When he is the mouse’s pet!

See you next Wednesday!

When is a door not a door?

I’m going to answer that question and tell you about a rather strange door.

This incident happened soon after we’d moved into an old, stone house. There was an open fire in the kitchen which smoked badly if the kitchen door was closed. After they’d had to open all the windows to let the smoke out a couple of times, my bipeds decided to leave the door ajar when the fire was lit.

That’s the first answer to the question in the title – when it’s ajar (sounds like a jar)! There’s a better answer later!

It looked as though someone had tried to solve the problem of the smoking fire by making a hole in the door to allow air to flow through. They had covered the hole in the door with a metal grille on each side. It didn’t stop the fire smoking when the door was closed, but it did make the door very ugly!

Pippin the tabby cat sitting on the terrace

Pippin

One morning the cats were showing a lot of interest in this hole in the door. Pippin was sitting on one side of the door with his nose pressed against the grille and Mulberry was on the other side of the door in the same position. Even when the female biped mentioned breakfast, they didn’t move a muscle. She got down on her knees and peered at the door, but she couldn’t see anything. The cats stayed where they were.

Mulberry, Persian cat

Mulberry

The male biped appeared and asked what the cats were doing. The female biped told him they wouldn’t move but that she couldn’t see anything. He got down on his knees and peered into the grille, but he couldn’t see anything either. The cats still didn’t budge. The bipeds decided to have their breakfast.

They had almost finished when the male biped exclaimed, “There’s a mouse!”

A mouse

A mouse!

He then explained that he’d seen a mouse briefly appear and poke its nose through the grille to see if it was safe to come out. The mouse had decided it was safer to stay inside the door.

If only the bipeds had used their noses, they would have known there was a mouse there much sooner!

Here’s the second answer to the question: When is a door not a door? When it’s a mouse’s house!

The female biped was not enthusiastic about the idea of a mouse on the loose in the kitchen, but the bipeds hadn’t finished unpacking and couldn’t remember where they’d packed the mousetraps. It was a Sunday so the local shops wouldn’t be open to buy new ones. The male biped said he had an idea.

Pippin doesn’t think I should tell you the rest of the tale, he says he may never speak to me again if I do. That was a worrying reaction so I had a chat with Mulberry and asked him what he thought. He said that he (Mulberry) was concerned when I told the tale of his scary encounter with a chair, but everyone was sympathetic to his plight and he needn’t have worried at all. He said he was sure that Pippin would enjoy being the focus of attention.

So I’ll tell you about the male biped’s cunning plan and the part that Pippin played in it another time!

See you next Wednesday!

After you

I had this conversation with my biped when she was helping me with my correspondence this week.

Biped: Someone has left a question for you, Clowie. This person asks, “Why does a Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, always have to go through the door first?

Clowie: We don’t!

B: Okay…

C: I always wait politely for bipeds to go through first, unless whoever I’m with tells me to go first.

B: Yes, you do.

C: You said that as though I wasn’t always that polite.

B: Well, you did want to push through the doorway first when you were a puppy.

C: Oh, I remember now! But there was always a knee in the way when I was small and as I became bigger the door would close again so that I couldn’t go through.

B: Yes, it sometimes took a while for us to get through a doorway. But you gradually learnt to sit and wait patiently.

C: Sit was the first thing I learnt to do well. When I was a bit older and had learnt the ‘wait’ command you would say ‘wait’ to me. Now you hardly ever need to tell me.

B: Why were you so keen to get through the door first when you were a puppy?

C: I think it was a mixture of puppy enthusiasm and curiosity. It’s always nice to discover what is happening on the other side of the door. Why do you want to go first?

B: The main reason is that I don’t like being towed along! It is important for a large dog to have good manners. It is so much easier to open and close a door, or a gate, if you’re waiting patiently and not pulling.

C: Yes, I suppose it is. But you always want to see what is on the other side of a door before I do when we’re in a place we haven’t been before. I sometimes think it would be better if I saw first so that I can protect you better – I am head of security!

B: So we have another reason why Pyrenean Mountain Dogs might like to go through doorways first!

C: Yes, doorways are very important in terms of security. You may have noticed that I often choose to sleep across the door to the room you’re in.

B: It would be hard not to notice you when I have to ask you to move so that I can open the door!

C: True! But I always move straightaway.

B: Can you think of any occasions when it’s been a good thing that you’ve waited to be told to come through the door?

C: Yes, when we stayed at that hotel in the south of France where that big dog was always loose in the corridors. He didn’t like me, did he?

B: No, I don’t think he was used to seeing a dog bigger than he is. It would have been very difficult for us to protect you if you’d gone through the door first.

C: Yes, he allowed you to shoo him away if he couldn’t see me. There was also that time when we lived in that old, stone house when we first came to Spain. There were workmen resurfacing the track by the house and they’d removed the steps down from the front door, without telling us!

B: There was a drop of about four feet when we opened the front door!

They had taken away the step and dug away a lot of the track.

The finished version – they had taken away the step and removed a lot of soil where the track had been

C: I don’t think I would have noticed the steps had gone!

B: It isn’t every day that stone steps just vanish like that! If you had charged through the door, I would probably have fallen over the edge and landed in a heap on top of you.

C: I’m glad that didn’t happen!

B: Me too!

C: It is now perfectly natural for me to wait for you to go through a door before me. When I was a puppy, you convinced me to sit. Then we progressed to ‘wait’ when I was less pushy and didn’t need to sit. Now you never need to tell me because I’m polite!

See you next Wednesday!

P.S. I won a prize on Dakota’s Den – thank you Dakota! Do pop over and visit Dakota if you don’t already know him. And if you do know him, make sure you have his correct address now that he’s moved! It’s http://dakotasden.net/

My prize is a candy jar from DogBreedCartoon with a Great Pyrenees on it. My biped is going to use it for herbs! I’m happy about that, even though it’s really mine! If you click here you can see the design I chose – a Great Pyrenees!