Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Cat-Flat

Last night as we were preparing to go to bed after BBC-2's Newsnight, I saw a flicker of motion in the hall. The cat had started his night's hunting early, and a young and highly active vole had been released to rush around the skirting board in a blur of motion. As I leaned forward to try to grab it, it slithered under the door into the room we use as a library-cum-'exercise' room.

Where it vanished.

With the cat safely locked down, we turned that room upside-down. Eventually the vole was tracked down by dint of the little scratching noises it was making behind the Scrabble box. After much chasing it around behind various pieces of furniture, I eventually captured it in a plastic cylinder normally used as part of a blank CD-ROM container. The creature was put outside at midnight, leaving the room a shambles as pictured below (the capture device is shown ringed).


We then had a big discussion: Something Had To Be Done. We eventually decided to put the cat in the small vestibule behind the front door and close the interior door, so that it could only get out through the cat-flap. It would therefore be barred from the rest of the house all night, hopefully sparing us any more house-voles.

This morning, when I got up, I checked the entrance hall and there was only one small, dead creature which I duly threw out (pictured below)

The haul from last night

There was also no cat. Omigod, I thought, the cat has taken offence and upped and left us. But it was not to be. As the kettle moved to the boil, I heard a sharp slap from the vestibule and the cat came through the cat-flap horizontally at approximately 40 miles per hour. I guess it was pleased to be allowed back into the house.

Clare, meanwhile, had developed a further inventive solution to the carnage-problem: a little vole-refuge.

A Vole Refuge

The refuge is to be placed, as shown below, in the new cat-flat.

The New Cat Flat

Meanwhile, the protagonist of all these adventures calmed himself down, took a little light breakfast and then retired to lick his paws and doze.

R&R after a Hard Night

We hope we finally have a solution to our daily vole problem, although I believe Clare's secret project is to teach the cat to adopt a Buddhist attitude to voles altogether.