The dogs, half the cat population of the household, and I were out on the patio yesterday in the late afternoon. The sun was sinking behind the aleppo pines, but the northern mockingbirds that nest in my grapefruit tree were still zipping around, cackling away. When suddenly, the brown tabby blur streaked in front of me, racing faster that I've ever seen her in our 5 years of joint habitation. In front of her was something small and brown and scuttling as fast as little legs would let it. I shrieked.
She was immediately followed by two large white blurs, not moving at top speed and clearly disturbed that she had spotted something they had not. I dropped the phone in my hand and raced after them. Tabby Girl had it corned in the patio, but it managed to get around her and race along the side of the house, passing in front of Mr. Big and me and finding sanctuary--through the door into my house.
I grabbed Mr. Big's ruff to keep him from following, slammed the door shut, and then squeezed myself in. I was a little nervous, not sure what I'd find. A rat? A mouse? A packrat? Something bigger and scarier?
Cowering against the wall of my dining room was this little guy. His little heart was pumping and his little chest was heaving. After 5 minutes and the help of a piece of cardboard, I was able to gently shoo him out the side door and back into freedom. Probably completely discombobulated by going in one door, out another; in from the backyard and out into the driveway; out of the jaws of death to having this big, scary human chasing him with a piece of cardboard to freedom. But carnage was averted.
Tabby Girl was praised for her hunting instincts (which happily are not well honed), dogs were praised for not jumping onto top of Tabby Girl to get at her prize, and I patted myself on the back for saving the life of one lost wanderer, probably startled while out hunting for his dinner. I hope he sticks around and eats the mosquitoes.