I can hear the mouse’s final defiant scream before he is killed by my cat

The execution nearly always takes place under my bed in the dead of the night. Until that moment I can hear the screams of a mouse at a distance as he vainly tries to fight off and escape my cat’s attentions. When he brings mice into the house my cat makes a special noise. It is like a dog’s bark. I instantly know that he has prey in his mouth and it is almost certain to be a mouse.

Cat eating mouse under bed
Cat eating mouse under bed. Camera phone shot by Michael.
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He starts by playing with it away from my bed where I am awake because I sleep poorly nowadays for various reasons. He then brings the mouse to his den to eat it. This is the space under my bed. To be more precise the exact spot where he kills mice is right under my pillow.

This is why I can clearly hear the final, desperate scream of a brave mouse the instant before my cat delivers the killing bite to the head. There is a pause in the noises and scuffles, which is quickly followed by the sound of crunching bones, the skull of this once brave mouse is devoured first.

Within sixty seconds there is not a trace of him. Nada, zip, zilch. It is all eaten. Sometimes there isn’t even any blood. Granted, he’ll occasionally leave a half eaten mouse and there will be blood sometimes but in general my cat is a mean, lean killing machine.

Immediately after the last gulp of mouse, he’ll jump onto the bed to lick his lips as he sits nearby. Within a minute he’s settled down nicely next to me with my arm around him. He purrs and looks up at me. ‘Good boy’ I say.

I fall asleep and he will eventually jump off the bed onto the kitten counter to eat some dry cat food (Hills Oral Care) which I put down for nighttime grazing.

When I wake up I remember that defiant scream. It was chilling and sad for me. I don’t want him to kill mice. It’s a reminder that we live with a top-of-the-league predator who happens to be domesticated and my companion.

How did it come about that we decided to live with killers? There was a time when all domestic cats were utility animals. Their role was to kill and eradicate rodents. That era, thousands of years ago, is long gone. Domestic cats are our companions. That’s their role. When they kill and eat prey in the home it is not what we want to experience or hear…

Afterthought: about half the mice that my cat brings home I save and release outside. Mice are hard to catch.


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