I was making macaroni and cheese in the middle of the night a week or so ago, because I couldn’t sleep and was at least a little hungry, when I caught my cat – the regular sized one – flattened to the floor, her eyes widened at something in the corner. I thought maybe she was perplexed by my backpack’s strap for some reason (she is a tiny ditz) so I bent to move it and a mouse leapt onto the counter and hid between a stack of cookbooks and the wall.

Oh.

I do not care about mice. I have a very vivid childhood memory of my father in the basement, trying to catch one he’d just hit with a shovel but not killed. In the apartment I lived in before I moved for grad school, I instinctively (why is this in an instinct I have?) reached out to pick one up because another of my cats was harassing it and carried it outside. In one of my last years in undergrad, a person I was dating called me minutes after I’d left their house to head home because there was a mouse caught in their DIY paper towel tube trap and they didn’t know what to do with it; I went back and moved it behind the bowling alley across the road.

I do, however, have a problem with watching animals kill each other, no matter the natural course of predator and prey relationships, and I did not want to have to gather pieces of a dismembered mouse from my kitchen floor when I had just come down for macaroni and cheese, so I carried my cat around in one arm while I cooked and let her go when I was upstairs and hoped for the best.

(She is an avid fetch-player; ‘the best,’ I thought, would be anything cleaner than waking up to her trying to get me to toss a dead rodent to her.)

A day or so later I got home from getting coffee to find the mouse (or a different mouse?) on the doormat among my shoes, tiny feline teeth pricks across its chest, and all three cats sitting calmly in the recliner. No blood, no paws or ears or tail strewn elsewhere in the hall.