The Clerk in the Country

Thursday 23rd July 2020

The Tale of the Cat and the Vole

One field vole’s encounter with a cat was worthy of a Beatrix Potter tale.  It began with cries for help in a high squeaky voice emanating from the garden, where I found Twinkle, a slightly rotund middle-aged cat, confronting an equally rotund and middle-aged looking vole.  Miss Potter would have provided it with spectacles and a walking stick.  Twinkle’s origins were unknown but I’m sure she had grown up as an indoor cat.  When it came to hunting, she knew some of the theory but had obviously never done any practical work; the only thing she ever caught was a leaf.  The vole was proving more difficult than that and made its escape into a flower bed.  Twinkle knew that what went in at one side must come out at the other, so hastened round to the other side.  After a few minutes’ fruitless wait it occurred to her that the vole might double-back.  She returned to the point of entry, thrusting her nose in among the pansies just as the little creature emerged between her front paws.  Still squeaking, it traversed the whole length of the cat, through her back legs and across the garden path, only to become entangled in some strawberry netting, prompting even louder lamentations.  By the time I’d fetched gloves and scissors the vole had freed itself and was making slow and noisy progress through the strawberry plants towards the long grass of the meadow, leaving Twinkle enthusiastically combing the flower bed for her first (and last) “mouse”.