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When I came downstairs in the morning, I saw the tip of the cat’s tail sticking out from under the recliner. I tweaked it, and she came out purring. When I stopped petting her, she went back in, and stayed there.

“Hmm,” I thought. “What are the odds there’s a dead mouse under there?”

I reclined the chair to let in more light and crouched down, my head on the floor, to look for something gross. I could see Matagot on the other side of the chair, examining the new openings I had revealed by lifting the footrest. Then she put her face through one of the holes.

Suddenly a very alive mouse scampered toward my face. I leaped back and headed toward the kitchen to get a cup and something to trap the mouse.

That was when Harpo noticed the commotion, and came to investigate. He sniffed out the trail the mouse had taken from the radiator, where there is a small hole that goes through to the basement, to the chair. He sniffed around and around the chair, wagging his tail as he became engrossed in the chase.

We failed at catching the mouse that day. I accept the blame–I rotated the chair and exposed it when I didn’t have the cup ready to nab it, and the mouse was able to get to the hole under the radiator. I hope it told all its friends that our house is protected by a cat and a terrier, and a crazy lady who puts her face right down next to your hiding place.

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

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