Mousey is no longer with us.
I purchased Romeo and Juliette in a misguided attempt to grow snake food. The cats bided their time until I went to work and quietly dismantled the cage and, I assumed ,the mice. But then I saw one little furry under the fridge, so I sat out some food until I could purchase a live trap. Unfortunately, the mouse was a noisey eater and the kitten fit in the space between the fridge and the sink......
Mousey squeaked, I shouted "don't bite don't bite" and chased the cat down, cleverly shoved my thumb down his throat and caused him to spit out the mouse, no worse for the wear. I thought it must be Juliette and I hastily built a deluxe cage out of Elvis's feeder cage and sometime in that process Juliette went from food to pet.
Only I never was sure if she was a he or vice versa-to be blunt, the creature had aspects of both. My mom said we should call it Victor/Victoria, but I always just referred to it as Mousey. Mousey got a salt lick and a new exercise wheel for Christmas. I know Mousey enjoyed that wheel to the end-at least all night last night.
But, alas, when I went to check on Mousey after tucking in the dogs, there was no movement and it was uncharacteristically curled up in the center of the cage. I did the proper post mortem, looking for wounds (although who could have wounded it?), signs of diaherrea (I fed it spring mix the other night) and lastly, starvation-there was an adequate amount of meat on the cold little bones. No trauma and no starvation, Mousey just curled up and died.
And strangely enough, I felt sad. What IS the difference between food and friend? I kill or caused to be killed 4 or more such creatures a week to feed the snakes and don't feel particularly bad about it all. In spite of being a former vegetarian, I really didn't feel guilty about eating the chicken I had for lunch. It's all a part of the cycle of life, predator, prey. But I chose Mousey for something else-friend.
Maybe that's what we all want-for someone to choose us for friend. Pikachu-I choose YOU! Maybe the difference between terrorist and hero is a matter of choice in the eye of the beholder. Yet, it somehow seems out of the natural order of things-we aren't supposed to prey on each other. (Elvis the kingsnake begs to differ and when he can type he is invited to post a rebuttal).
Mousey, I think, became friend when I snatched him from the jaws of death in the form of a mighty hunter kitten. At that moment he ceased to be an irritating livestock problem and was transformed into something that I had a connection with. In the heat of the moment I just lost my head and FELT something.
Isn't that what friendship is?
Fortunately for the snakes, it didn't transfer to all rodent kind, so there will be mouse on the menu again. But not THIS Mouse. THIS Mouse will achieve a proper trashbin burial.