Our little house has four residents: Dan, Nina, Beau, and Heidi. I'm Nina, and Dan's my husband. Beau is an overlarge tabby. He is part bobcat and is a true attack cat. Heidi (which is short for "Hideaway") is a shy, skittish little calico. I've had Beau since he was a kitten, and I've had Heidi since she was three. She was a stray living on State Street, a "Bohemian" area near LSU, where some of my grad-school friends were living at the time.
Over the years, I've bought dozens of cat toys for my "children." The only one they play with, though, is a grey, furry catnip "mouse" tied to a long, white string. Heidi plays with it most often. She's normally a very quiet little cat, but when she has that mouse in her jaws, she comes straight to us, emitting a raspy, long, urgent M-E-E-E-O-O-O-W several times before dropping the "mouse" at our feet.
It's so cute.
Well, on Friday evening I was home alone because Dan wasn't back from his business trip. I was in the kitchen and Heidi was on couch duty. Suddenly, I heard "M-E-E-E-O-O-O-W," but it wasn't Heidi's raspy voice; it was bolder and more musical. Beau.
I watched Beau as he came upstairs, the familiar furry object in his mouth.
But wait ... it wasn't tied to a string.
And it was dark brown, not grey like OUR "mouse" ...
He dropped the furball at the head of the stairs, and the CHIPMUNK, still very much alive, took cover beneath the nearest couch. Beau was close after him, and sat sniffing at the couch once the chipmunk was safe.
I lifted the couch, and the chipmunk ran out. I chased it toward the door so I could put it back outside, but Beau was faster. He cornered the terrified creature and chased it back toward the couch.
Chipmunk back under couch. But I had a plan. I opened the front door and propped open the screen door so the chipmunk would have an easy out. And I wasn't going to let Beau scare it back under the couch.
I lifted the couch again, which is actually rather heavy. No chipmunk.
"Beau, where'd he go?"
As if Beau was going to answer.
So I lifted the other, much heavier couch. No chipmunk. The La-Z-Boy. No chipmunk. Beau, too, made an honest effort to find it. I lifted the first couch again, high this time, to see if maybe it had crawled up into it somewhere.
Beau walked under the lifted couch. The phone rang. I'm standing there, end of the heavy couch in my hands, and I couldn't put it down because it would crush Beau.
He sniffed the bottom of the couch, obviously in no hurry.
I was finally able to get the couch on the ground and answer the phone. It was Dan, calling from Iowa.
Dan laughed. He thought my chipmunk story was funny. I KNEW it was funny, but I didn't want a CHIPMUNK taking up residence in my house!
As I hung up with Dan, I saw Beau sauntering nonchalantly and lynx-like out the front door. I followed him. He walked to the deck, lay down in the sun, yawned, and shut his eyes. Guess he lost interest in our indoor excitement.
Ah, the joys of having children.
It's Sunday. Two days later. I still haven't found that poor chipmunk!