The Chronicles of Mingo

Do Not Read This If You Are Fond Of Mice

Yes indeedy, Mingo is now the Great Hunter. Mercifully he is not bringing his prey back to the lair, i.e. my living room or worse, my closet. He passed me on the deck at a fast trot with a tiny foot and a bit of tail hanging from his mouth. It was either a mouse or a lizard but I did not investigate.

Unfortunately, Squeaky DID try to bring the prey back to the lair and I stopped him just in time, took it away from him, and gave it a funeral. The corpse was long dead and (sorry) eviscerated, and I suspect it was Ming’s leavings. Squeaky was extremely bereft and howled for his mousie for half an hour. I hardened my heart.

Mice are only cute to people who have never had an infestation of mice in the house, so I’m not too fussed. Nor do I worry about the lizards. Part of me wishes the damn banana slugs would move fast enough to interest Ming, but the saner part of me thinks about a slime-covered Ming and shudders. Getting bits of twig, seeds, and weeds out of his fur is hard enough. I’m not sure how I’d handle slime.

Everyone says “What a beautiful cat!” but getting repeat volunteers to restrain him while I comb the trash and mats out of his fur is another thing entirely. Once is generally more than enough, because his fur is very thick, his skin is loose, and he’s extremely strong. He’s able to twist around and bite hard, all the while making the pitiful chirps and tiny mewps of a tortured kitten. Nerves of steel and good gloves required. Actually, nerves of steel and gloves of steel would be best.

Pre-Mingo, I was toying with the idea of a bird feeder on the deck. I’m so happy I never followed through. With all the cat activity the local birds have declared the yard a plague zone which is sad but safe. A crow or two stop by to make rude comments from upper branches — Ming hasn’t take to tree climbing, probably because the redwoods and firs are so damn big and vertical and the branches don’t start until twenty feet off the ground. Or at least, he hasn’t taken to tree climbing YET.

I keep Ming in the house after dark. I get him inside by running the can opener. He’s nice and exhausted from a hard day of patrolling the yard. I feed him, he naps, and when he wakes he’s reasonably civilized and hardly bites anyone at all. When he wants something he leaps on my chest (whether or not it is occupied by another cat) and gazes deeply into my eyes. The photo below is not enlarged or cropped. I wedged the iPhone between my chin and Ming and pressed the button.


Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

2 thoughts on “Do Not Read This If You Are Fond Of Mice”

    • Excellent! All the way up a redwood tree using only fingernails and toenails? Ming’s really looking forward to it. In return, Ming is learning to stand on his head.

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