The Real Boss
I am no different than most people who consider themselves to be the “head” of the household. As the “head,” there are always conditions that affect that honorary title. I say honorary title because my eyes have recently been opened to the fact that while I may be the head of the household, I am not the boss. I can accept not being the boss, because, if I’m not the boss, my lovely bride Mrs. B is…right? Wrong! A recent political uprising has occurred in our household and neither Mrs. B nor myself is in the position of boss. In our household hierarchy, our status is just barely above that of Timber the Wonder Dog or the goldfish. Our status change is the result of adding a cute little kitten to our happy home. Guess who our new boss is? Miss Ella joined our family a few months ago as a rodent control specialist and has performed her duties with a degree of efficiency that is brag worthy. After a spring and summer of me trying to control a herd of mice by trapping and baiting, we adopted a 12 week old tabby from the farm. Within a few days of her arrival, she had caught her first mouse and did all the right things with the pesky critter. Things like tossing it in the air and catching it, then playing the old cat mouse favourite of catch and release, all while the helpless rodent squeaked in terror much to Miss Ella’s delight…and mine! I knew then we had made a smart decision. We apparently have not had a mouse in the house since. Miss Ella seemed to know that her position of rodent control specialist is an important one; in the next few weeks, she went from being the cute affectionate little kitty to being a cute affectionate little kitty predator. The secret of her success is training. For a few weeks in the beginning of our relationship, Miss Ella did her training in the middle of the night by attacking and trying to kill any toes that dared move under the blankets. Timber the Wonder Dog suffered from these midnight attacks, as well, when the killer kitten would attack and try to slay his big fluffy tail. In a way, I got some workouts during those midnight romps because I would get up and either try and catch the feline assassin or herd her out the door. Not being very successful at those attempts, I did get some exercise standing, half asleep, in the hall in my tighty-whiteys trying to lure a wide awake killer kitten out of the bedroom with a sparkly stuffed cat toy on a string. If only the fish in Liars Lake would take the bait like Miss Ella goes for a stuffed toy on a string. After a few weeks, we did get Miss Ella to adjust her schedule to be closer to ours. There was a cost, though, and that was a few hours of play before bed time. Play time means toy time and a bright and active kitten needs a variety of toys that will sparkle, tinkle, roll and if possible, do all of the above while being stuffed/laced with catnip. We may have a “user” on our hands because Miss Ella “killed’ and then dismembered her favorite stuffed mouse and then ate and rolled in the stuffing of catnip. Her reaction to catnip was mostly predictable as she drooled a bit in the beginning and then she smiled like the Cheshire cat for a few minutes, but when she began to speak in tongues we decided to limit her use of the catnip herb. It is just a good thing we never caught her smoking the stuff because I do not know if we could afford a recovery program. Once we got Miss Ella off the herb, we had her fixed …and I never even knew she was broken!!! Rim Shot!! It is an old joke, but Miss Ella seemed to calm down from supersonic light speed to just light speed after her spaying operation but she tried to make us feel guilty about her inconvenience. She would lay in front of the TV and lick her nicely healing shaved belly as if to say, “Look at what YOU did to me! Meeouch!” but she would be so sarcastic in her tone! We are adjusting to our new family member and she is allowing us to play with her, feed her, water her and clean her litter box in return for critter control… and for being the boss! So far it is a good trade…no mice!