We keep the mice in a bowl on top of a book case. The bookcase is in the dinning room* which is separated from the sitting room by a few steps and a guard rail. Originally this served as a convenient way to keep some of the mice in reserve so we didn't have to move the sofa every 2hours to find mice for sad kittens. We've switched to the aforementioned Sheer Quantities of Mousies system because Oliver disovered a way to climb up on the railing, walk along it to the corner where the bookcase is, pick a mousie out of the bowl with his mouth, and bring it down to play with. Often times he'll retrieve a mousie, decide it wasn't actually a very good mousie, and immediately get another one. Today he climbed up with a mousie already in his mouth, realized he couldn't pick up another one, and climbed down today. After several weeks of watching Oliver do this, we finally witnessed Libby do it as well. She's a better jumper and can, if she so desires, jump straight from the upper-level floor to the railing, but for the most part she goes the easy way.
Tonight we were privileged to watch Libby climb up to the railing, make her way daintily along it, select a mousie and start back. Oliver (who had gotten down at least five** since dinner), saw that Libby had a mousie and ran over to the railing. Libby leaned down towards him as if to say, "Yes? What do you want?" Oliver jumped up and tried to swipe the mousie from her mouth. Well, she sat back up and decided that wasn't very nice and tried to walk to the end of the railing, the easy place to climb down. Oliver beat her there, jumped up, knocked the mousie away from her, and followed it over the side.
Remember those steps I mentioned? Yeah, the floor is lower on the other side. He went sailing over the railing, after his stolen mousie, and landed with quite the thump. Chris and I stared in shock, then burst out laughing. A few seconds later, Oliver came trotting triumphantly up the steps, mousie in mouth. Libby, still on the railing, watched this, saw that he was occupied with the mousie, and went back for another. Oliver looked up to see Libby with another mousie and again freaked out and ran over to the railing. Libby ran to the end, jumped down and ran upstairs with her mousie. Oliver followed. A minute later, Libby came back down, mouseless, and once more went on a mouse-retrieval expedition. It's worth mentioning that there are some 7 mice scattered around the dinning and living rooms, but no, Libby wants a fresh one.
Oliver caught up with her just as she curled up on the bean bag chair with her new mouse. He batted it away from her, then just walked off. She looked down at the lost mouse (six inches away) and got up to get another mouse. Her most successful trip was when she knocked a mousie down in picking hers up, and he was distracted by the fallen spoils. She managed to keep that mouse for almost two minutes.
This went on for about half an hour. They seem to have hit a mousie saturation point as they both wandering around the rooms at random, spotting a mousie, chasing it around for a few minutes, finding another mousie (which was there the whole time) and deciding to chase that one instead.
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: our cats are absolutely bonkers. And amazingly. And yes, Oliver bullies Libby. The thing is we know she could kick his fluffy ginger tail seven ways to Sunday if she actually wanted to. We've seen her do it.
*room names are arbitrary and merely reflect the current primary function of the room in question.
**I took advantage of their trip to the cattery this past weekend to do a lot of hoovering and moving of furniture - things that, if they're home, tends to seriously freak them out. Oliver more than Libby - he's a big scaredy cat and Libby is Explorer Kitty.