Monday, May 31, 2010

A Matter of Proportion

We recently discovered an infestation of mice in our downstairs storage area (here, "infestation" is defined mathematically as "a number of mice greater than or equal to 1"). Those of you who know this family will wonder how that can be possible, given that we have been associated with so very many cats in the past. But the fact is that we are down a few cats from, say, last year at this time, since two have passed on to that big easy chair in the sky, one has apparently wandered off as suddenly as he wandered in, and a fourth has been reclassified as an "outdoor" cat for reasons that good taste preclude a complete description of (i.e., I can't say he peed on things). So, that leaves us with one actual indoor cat.

Ming, also known occasionally as "Catness," and "Ouch! You little snot!"

(I will add two comments here unrelated to the real story: First, as I type this, Ming has assumed her usual position lying between the keyboard and the monitor, this time with her twitchy little tail covering the keys from the I to the Backspace. Every time I have to backspace, it pulls her tail hair a little. Eventually she will bite me. Second, as with a fourth or fifth child, I find that I can find fewer pictures of this fourth or fifth or sixth cat than of the first two or three.)

Now Ming is pretty much an indoor cat, and so you'd think we could maintain a fairly mouse-free environment. But that would be assuming that Ming is a useful cat, whereas in truth she is largely decorative. Also, she is no dummy. She has figured out the rudiments of multiplicative mathematical structures, and has at least this basic picture in mind:

"Hmmm. I wonder which one has the most bacon?"

Now I can't honestly say that Ming is waiting for a pig to appear in the downstairs food storage room, thinking that she'll save her energy for that moment and then eat for a year. But I do know she turns up her nose at fresh fish, but positively dances on her hind legs for bacon. She is not a maritime cat, more like a cat from America's heartland, say Iowa, where pork is king and there's plenty of it. Just sayin'.

So, until a herd of wild boars runs through our basement, Ming will remain largely decorative, and we will have to deal with the mice ourselves. Time to lay in more peanut butter.

1 comment:

KimberLeigh said...

I especially like that you will resort to "Mouse Trap:" the game that my parents had completely regretted ever buying their children. "Mouse Trap" = "Royal Pain in neck for parents to put together."