She is the queen of our home, or so she’d have you believe. She flounces around with high expectations of being rubbed down when she stands before you and pointedly stares at your hand. At times, she paws at your hand just to ensure you get the message. And, just in-case human, you forget your place and ignore her demands, her demanding “Meow ow ow!” alerts you most promptly to her annoyance, and, your infraction.
Since last Saturday, Siberia has caused great panic in our household. As is her norm, each day she strolls off to explore the neighbourhood, but… now we all fret that she will get past us with one of her gifts. Our biggest fear is that we may find it in our bed at night because she’s got it past the rest of us without us noticing. This has resulted in bedroom doors remaining firmly closed during the days and an obsessive monitoring of her movements once she appears in the house. Here is why …
On Saturday, I decided to take a break from marking remotely (the completed work from pupils) in order to do something for myself. The kids, teens now, had still not yet surfaced as 9:45 on a Saturday is far too early to be out of bed. Anyhow, the summer dress I was making was coming along nicely and I was feeling pleased with myself. Hubby was outside doing all sorts of puttering with the car, so, when Siberia wandered in it surprised me as she loves hanging out with him while he worked. What was even more surprising was that she had simply sat behind me as if quietly awaiting my approval. So, I turned around to check why she was busily watching me as she had already demanded her breakfast and usually had no use for me at this time of day, and, that’s when I saw movement. Not Siberia! Nope. Something under her paw moved!
The high-pitched sound that escaped my lungs was one I’d never heard before. I’m sure that is what woke the kids as I instantly heard them moving around upstairs in a sleepy daze. I was no longer rooted to the spot. At some point, unbeknownst to me, I had escaped my chair to put distance between myself and the cat and her new toy. I tried to control my breathing, in order to ensure I didn’t scare her away and end up with something wriggly in one of our beds. Coaxing voice to the ready, I tried again. “Siberia, what do you have there?” I questioned, trying not to let my panic send my voice to earlier unknown decibels. At the sound of her name she looked up from peering at her paw and sort of pasted on her “I am wonderful …” face before removing her paw and unveiling her gift.
“A mouse! She’s brought me a mouse!” my brain screamed. I had instant visions of the house being overrun with mice and germs crawling around everywhere and my heart plummeted. It was then, I believe, that another odd sound escaped me yet again. This one was more of a groan as the kids started heading towards the stairs wondering loudly what was going on. My heart rate became thunderous again as I panicked about what their noisy arrival could cause. Siberia is a show-off and she’d have raced off, leaving the offending rodent behind … with me!
Reaching for my calm voice again, I ordered them to slow down and move quietly. Well, that didn’t quite go to plan. Never work with kids and animals, as following instructions is not their strong suit. That acknowledgement of my instructions lasted all of the two seconds it took them to get downstairs, see the cat’s gift and zoom back up the stairs screaming and exclaiming loudly. Siberia seemed even more pleased with herself at its effect. The mouse decided at that point to prove that it was only playing dead and rushed towards me. My busted ligaments and I were in the sofa faster than my brain had processed the actual decision to jump resulting in the sofa tipping and me having to position just so to avoid being thrown over the back. Where the heck had it gone now and where was my husband?!
The kids that had vanished upstairs now returned to ask if it was ok. A testament to whatever sounds I had made and the ruckus my unexpected landing in the sofa had created.
One of the kids asked after our boy C.J. in the hope that he would remove the offending ‘thing’ but he was nowhere to be found.
It was at this point that Siberia decided she had no intention of sharing. She grabbed her new find and ran out the back door. Hubby (appeared at this point) waited until Siberia was distracted and spirited the very scared but relieved mouse over to the bushes that disappear to the other side of the neighbourhood. Phwee!! That was close😊.
Now, you’d think the adventure was over. I certainly did, but no …Not in the least bit.
Relieved, I went back to work on my summer dress. Just needed to get that lovely bit of red hemline on and I was done. I’d then move on to a black and white number I’d begun for work … whenever we get back to normal … if I can fit into it by then ☹. The patterned scuba fabric was giving me a fight. No matter the needle chosen, I kept getting jump stitches and therefore gaps. Fed up, I decided to hand sew that section and just use the machine for the black fabric which was being compliant. As I re-threaded my needle, Siberia returned and headed towards the foyer that leads to the front door. The door was closed but not locked and she was enthusiastically pawing at it to get in. My husband had popped in for a drink and overheard me asking her what she wanted in the foyer, so he came in to check. When he opened the door, she dashed into the room and dashed around the boxes we stored there. He got worried she’d found another toy and stayed put trying to see what she was searching for which meant I was now transfixed with the activities in that room. As I listened to the dashing around and crashing into the door, silence seemed to have settled rather suddenly. This alarmed me. I felt that, the sought after creature had escaped into a box or the small cupboard in that room.
I was right.
It had escaped. It had escaped back into the living-room and under a piece of my fabric which I had dropped, while hastily relocating to a reasonable distance from the door. This escapee was not a tiny little mouse like visitor number 1. This was a squeaking rat!!
Well, I will refrain from sharing my first utterance and my second, but both were punctuated by screams from a voice I once again did not recognise. It was in my fabric that was partway to becoming a dress!!!
The kids were more aware and therefore prompt in their arrival to investigate. I tried to explain what was going on, but that voice was unfamiliar and filled with panic. My imagination was back on its trip about the spread of germs and this time huge rats taking over my home. My husband pulled the kitchen door closed so we could trap it in one room. Did the room just shrink? This wont do! The kids were on the steps laughing their heads off and I was now standing in a sofa looking over one side then the other like an over curious owl. Stealing myself and reminding myself of my role as mother, fearless role model to my daughter, I gingerly lowered my feet onto the floor, remember then that I was only wearing socks. Sound effects successfully relegated to my head and inside voice only, I began to monitor Madam Siberia to get a feel for where the little monster had ran off to. Who knew there were so many tiny corners to disappear into in my living room?
“I see it!’ my son shrieked pointing towards the back of the television. He had, by this time, erected a barricade to protect himself and his sister from our tiny tormentor. Siberia was now racing around behind the tele which shook nervously as she determinedly tried to reclaim her prize. My husband, now peering down at them, expressed fascinating at the fact that this rat was not going down without a fight. Its squeaks were a loud testament that it was fighting back, which only served to get Siberia even more excited by the chase.
As we tried to determine how to get to it without moving the tele from its home, the rat dashed across the floor and headed under a stationary case near the stairs. His movement resulted in my very very gradually evolving adventurous kids diving up the stairs to escape. My daughter however, caught herself and decided that she was not having it.
Punctuating her annoyance with “Stupid rat can’t sleep in here. Let’s get it! Siberia do your job this is your fault!” she grabbed a broom and began banging near where it had now gone to hide. Meanwhile, Madame Siberia at this point decided a nap was in order. She climbed onto a chair, made herself comfy and, with half closed eyes, watched us chase the little critter around. Well, that drove my daughter up the wall as we had by now turn the sofas on their heads, pulled them apart, all in fear that the creature of the plague and victim of the Pied Pipper was hiding in them. Siberia was picked up, carried towards the next search point and directed back to the job at hand, but, she was rather lack lustre in her efforts. She was now bored with it all and regularly laid down. She even, at one point, tried to exit the room while we screamed, dodged, blocked and rushed around after her new toy.
And, so we continued for the next hour and a half.
Tired and frustrated, my son now standing on the sofa, my husband armed with a range of items, me clutching the broom and my daughter armed with the lazy cat now determined to leave the room, to the point of crying at us, we realised that her behaviour was unusual. We let her out of the room, and she went straight to her litter box. It turned out that the poor madam was bursting for the loo.
Must’ve been all that chasing the rat around earlier.
As we acknowledged her need, and apologised for doubting her willingness to help in the chase 😊 the offending critter, it escaped the living room and fled into the kitchen, bounded out the kitchen door with a now energized Siberia hot on its tail. My daughter promptly slammed the door shut while the rest of us laughed our relief at seeing the back of it once and for all. We returned to the living room and my husband’s face more or less represented all our reactions at the absolute chaos that that little critter and the Queen of cats had left in their wake.
Everything was everywhere!
I couldn’t resist so I muttered… “Thomas!!! That darn cat!” We indulged in nervous chuckles all round. Those chases clearly destroyed that poor woman’s house time and time again in what used to be my favourite cartoon.
As a firm believer in being fore-warned and fore-armed Siberia is officially permanently under surveillance. So now, she does not enter the house without a spot check by one, or all, of the occupants in the house.
Why couldn’t she have decided to bring us some fruit or another cat over for a visit? Honestly, these gifts of love have got to stop.