Mouse number two arrived early in October 2010, just a couple of weeks after I’d lost Tiger to cancer. Through attending a caravan towing course a few weeks previously I’d become friends with Roz, the young woman I was paired up with – she only lived about ten miles from me and invited me to tea one particular Sunday. As we were sitting chatting over a brew in her kitchen she pointed to one corner and there, sitting under a dining chair, was the most adorable tiny kitten. It was nine weeks old but was so small it looked to be only about five weeks; Roz worked in a pet shop and this was one of a litter taken in to be sold but because it was so small she had taken it home until it grew a bit bigger. Apart from not having a ginger streak down its nose it was identical in colour to Mouse number one and it also squeaked – and I fell in love immediately. No way was that kitten ever going back to the pet shop, it was coming home with me, so Roz phoned the owner of the shop and got the okay for me to have it and I brought it home – and there was only one name I could possibly give it.
For the first few weeks Mouse stayed in the bedroom with me at night but she was such a playful little thing that she would often jump onto my head while I was asleep – it was quite amusing at first but it got a bit annoying after a while so I put a cosy bed out on the landing for her and that’s where she stayed. As she grew she developed lots of strange but often funny habits, and though she had her own personality she was very much like Mouse number one in many ways. Right from the start she has been a very affectionate cat – she’ll follow me around like her namesake used to do, and I can pick her up, turn her onto her back and cradle her like a baby, and she’ll purr for England.
Mouse was about a year old when I discovered that she could open every door in the house by jumping up and swinging on the handles – I put a stop to that little game though by taking the handles off and putting them back the other way up so they have to be lifted up instead of pushed down. It confuses any visitors who want to use the bathroom but at least it keeps Mouse out of various places. She also likes to hitch a ride on the back of the front door; as soon as she hears my key in the lock she jumps up and clings onto the inside letterbox flap so she gets a ‘free ride’ as the door opens and closes – it’s quite amusing to shut the door and see a cat clinging to the back of it.
Her sleeping arrangements are another source of amusement; she has a lovely cosy bed but vary rarely goes in it, preferring instead to sleep in the most peculiar places, and every few days she’ll be in a different one. Right outside my bedroom door is one of her favourites – I’ve stood on her more than once first thing in the morning – then there’s the top step of the stairs, the bottom of the stairs, halfway down the stairs, the window ledge, behind the plant pot, in the plant pot, and even in the litter tray. The most amusing though is when she sleeps on the rail at the top of the stairs; as her muscles relax she loses her balance and falls on the floor, sometimes landing halfway down the stairs – more than once I’ve come in from work to see her land in front of me from up above. And it doesn’t matter how many times she falls off, she still gets back on there.
One of Mouse’s favourite games is something she only seems to play late at night, usually when I’m in bed – she runs along the landing and throws herself at the bedroom door. It makes one hell of a noise, though fortunately she gives up after doing it two or three times. I’m used to it now,and so is my son, though it’s a good job I never have any guests staying over – they’d probably think a mad axe murderer was trying to break in! Another of her games is to run into the bathroom as soon as the door is opened and take a flying leap up onto the loo – after she’d had a couple of unexpected ‘baths’ we had to remember to leave the lid down at all times. And she has totally trashed the stair rail and a couple of the spindles by using them as a scratching post – she has a perfectly good heavy duty scratching post on the landing but she never uses it. Sometimes I wish I could give her a pot of paint and a brush and tell her to repair the damage she’s caused! In spite of that though she’s my Mouse, she’s unique (or would that be mental?) and I love her to bits – I could replace the stair rail but I could never replace Mouse.