Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You may not like this

But I'm doing it anyway. It's part of life in the country, I suppose. Bertie, our new cat, brought home his first mouse on Monday. We took him in to be an outdoor cat, a mouser. And now he's living up to our expectations.

Bertie deposited his gift in the driveway. I praised him profusely, then disposed of the body.

Although, I must say, he brought this mouse home from the neighbors' yard across the street. Oh well. It's a start. I know from his previous owner that he's a good hunting cat. And now it seems he's started to feel right at home in his new territory.

He and Callie had a slight run-in this morning. She's still not used to the cat being here and wants to chase him. The situation is improving slowly, but very slowly. Callie makes some progress, then she goes after the cat when we're not looking. Bertie takes it in stride, knowing he can run faster than the dog.

I've found out, thanks to Susan (she's as smart as David Attenborough!), that this is not a mouse, but a vole. It would be called a campagnol in French, according to my research. But I've never heard that word used, so I'll have to ask my neighbors what they'd call it. I won't be showing it to them, however.


  1. Well done, that Bertie !!
    I felt a slight twinge of pity for the little mouse. Seeing its dead body was bound to do that. However, remembering how mice chewed my brand new sofas when they were stored in the garage for only two weeks, waiting to be transported to France, my sympathy lasted only seconds.

  2. She's living up to her potential.

  3. It's not a mouse it's a vole.

  4. Good kitty Bertie!! There will be lots more to come I'm sure!

    A small suggestion from a veterinarian friend of ours; be certain that Callie knows Bertie is a member of the household by holding the cat close to you etc. while Callie sees you. She said a dog will not harm an animal they think is their master's "child" so to speak. We even did this with our rabbit and it worked.

    Of course, there is always a good scratch on the nose too from Bertie...that works also...

  5. Well, I read your blog to learn things about this area/and about french, so I did like the post about the "vole."
    Good work!
    Tim in Arthenay

  6. Hmm... well... the colors were very interesting in the photo -- very nice mix of textures. I'll just think of the vole as taking a little nap ;))

    Your close-up photos are really amazing -- so clear!


  7. Do the mice in France speak French?

  8. I too have a black kitty, his name is Bomenitous. He is a serial killer. To date his kill list includes 17 asst'd birds, one headless squirell (found on florr at foot of my bed), two voles, and countless lizards.

  9. Your neighbours may just use the more general terms rongeur or quatre-dents but I use campagnol and my neighbours understand what I am talking about.

  10. Are voles as much of a nuisance as mice ?

  11. Good job Bertie! I hope you are praising him when he brings you a gift. I have used "campagnol" as a word when I was young living in the countryside.
    (Hope you are wearing a mask when you sand the walls).

  12. Our cat brought them home to either show off or as a love gift.

    There is a song called "The Mouse Police" with the line
    "eats but one in every ten
    leaves the others on the mat"

  13. I looked up 'vole' on Google. I still don't understand the distinction.

  14. Hooray for Callie and Bertie making progress towards peaceful coexistence! (I'm totally ignoring the dead mouse/vole part of the topic), although I agree with Judy that the furry critter among the colorful and different sized rocks makes a beautiful picture.

  15. jean, I feel the same way (a little pity) since I've never had any real problems related to voles. Moles, on the other hand, are a different story. But I don't know if cats are interested in them.

    rick, yes! He's a he. ;)

    susan, thanks! I'm sure the neighbors will know the word, but I haven't seen them to ask yet.

    suzanne, yes, thanks. I've been doing that and I think it helps.

    tim, happy to oblige!

    judy, a loooooong nap.

    alewis, they "squeak" French! ;)

    kendall, lol!

    vtt, you said it!

    nadege, yes to praise and yes to mask.

    michael, I'm sure there's a lot of cat lore out there... I couldn't tell, though, whether this one was a gift or a showing off.

    starman, look at the wikipedia entry. It explains a little about the difference.

    cheryl, they still have a long way to go!

  16. From Wikipedia:
    Gestation lasts for 3 weeks and the young voles reach sexual maturity in a month.

    Now that's scary!

  17. Voles of this size don't cause many problems for people. About the only anti-social habit they have is sometimes eating bulbs in the garden. Their numbers never get out of hand because everything from domestic cats to most raptors preys on them. This is one of the reasons they breed so prolifically. They never come inside the house, and rarely into buildings at all.

    Any small mammal is at risk from a domestic cat which is allowed to roam at night, so your moles had better learn to watch out.

  18. When I look up vole, I see the common name "field mouse." I remember hearing about those when I lived at the edge of the cornfields in Illinois.

  19. We recently got a kitten and our big tough hunting dog who has a VERY strong chase instinct didn't know what to make of it all. I thought for sure poor kitty, Max wouldn't last the week. but it's been a month now and the dog allows the cat to "nurse" in the eveing. I never thought I'd see the day.

  20. Hi Walt ! I love reading your blog and likes the passages which deal with the relationship between Bertie and Callie (or "vice-versa"!)

    I found this link where one can try to understand the difference between "the vole", i.
    e. "le mulot" or "rat des champs" ou "campagnol" and... "la musaraigne" :-)


    Bises d'une musaraigne :-) Mary/Marie (Normandy, France)

  21. Hmm, je tape trop vite !/I type too quickly ! Can you suppress the "s" at the end of "like", please ;-) ? Mary


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