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A Very Silly Cat Story



Throwing a Cat at a Mouse. It doesn't work. I tried it this morning.

I woke up and made the coffee and put the bread in the toaster and saw a little brown ball behind the toaster, (I think, I wasn't sure) so I ran and got the cat, Fou Fou, our twelve year old Tabby and picked him up and brought him into the kitchen and put him on the counter.

He jumped off and ran into the living room.

We live in the country (although that hardly makes a difference) and in the Fall we get mice, in the kitchen. But four years ago we inherited Fou Fou from my mother, and although he had been an indoor cat for 10 years, he was a great mouser.

Indeed, after the first year, no mice dared come into the house.

Until this year.

Can mice sense something? That a cat has become blase. Fou Fou's pretty fat these days.

I'm more embarrassed by my classic feminine reaction to the tiny varmint.

I went "EEK. A Mouse" and ran to the bedroom to get my husband. Unlike my mother, I am not afraid of mice. (I owned plenty as a child.) But this one was so SILENT. It didn't scurry. It glided across the counter, supernaturally.

Anyway, my husband jumped out of bed, got the broom and said "Where is it? "

"On the counter"

And then he said "There it is in the corner" and he went and got the cat, who had settled back lazily on the carpet,licking his side, picked him up and brought him back into the kitchen and put him on the counter. You guessed it, the normally easy-going  cat jumped off and ran in to the living room, a lot frazzled this time. Like a cartoon cat, with its hair on its back standing up on end.

My husband poked the mouse with the broom and it ran back under the stove to its hole that leads to the porch.

Time for a mouse trap, I guess. And time to wash down the counters.

Anyway, and then I got a phone call, on the landline, from Private Number. I didn't answer. I don't answer the land line unless I can  see who it is. (No one important calls me on the land line anyway, except my friend Laura.). It's almost always con men and hoaxsters or sleazy solicitors of some kind who use that number.

As my husband says, The only people with land lines, these days, are old folk, easy pickings for the con artists. (He's not referring to us, we're still 'young' you know.)

Yesterday, I got a repeated call from a Quebec City number, and looked it up on the Internet and saw it was from people pulling the classic 'You've won a free trip" con.

This morning, no message was left so it was probably just another crook or cheesy salesperson..

Although, I'm a little worried it was from my friend, Laura.

Laura is dying from bone cancer.  (Although her home phone number is always displayed, maybe she is somewhere else.)

Yesterday, I brought her some home-made beef and barely soup and ate lunch with her. She had just gotten out of hospital after a week's stay. I was hoping she wasn't right back in there this morning. All those pills I brought her from the pharmacist,  hundreds of them, 7 days' worth, morphine and otherwise, in those plastic pockets on the giant cardboard cards, designed to help people keep track.

(It all seems a bit like throwing a cat at a mouse, all those medications.)

But how can you keep track, even with those cards, when you are zonked on painkillers? We all worry about that.

After our lunch, yesterday, Laura lay down on the couch and fielded phone calls from her daughter, sister and pharmacist and all the medical people and home-care people, asking if she needed this or needed that.  Laura lives alone, but she is not alone. She flatly refused to have someone come in to cook for her. "I have to do something," she told me.

After each phone call she'd tell me about what went down. And then she said. "TALK. Tell me anything. Talk about nothing. I'm sick of my medical issues."

She knows I don't have much going on in my life. She was the person I did everything with, after all. So I talked about nothing, my quiet existence in the rural burbs. (I avoided the usual complaints about my various aches and pains. )

I told her about my latest foray into film-making, for my audio books. And my husband's happiness at finally getting some 'ordinary food' like beef and barely soup, instead of my usual culinary confusion of fusion. (I made him some soup too). And I talked about the dogs and the cats, since my kids are grown and live away.

Three years ago, when my mother was dying, of the same bone cancer, in the same inexorable inevitable way, Laura made pots of delicious soup and brought it to her. (She's a family friend, her mom was childhood friends with my mom.)

Laura is used to being the Souper not the Soupee. This I think is the hardest part of her terrible disease, about dying. She is not used to being waited on. She is used to being independent.

Anyway, now I have a funny story to tell Laura. Tomorrow when I visit. She loves cats and cat stories. A little gift of sorts.

I guess, when a person is dying, you have to give a person what they  want, what they need. It's terribly sad, but that's all you can do.