Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Everything but an OFF switch!

Have you a moment to share a laugh?

Chloe's first Christmas produced a deluge of generous presents. Each one was greeted with wide-eyed enthusiasm and a thorough investigation of its potential. Amongst a wonderful variety of catnip toys and other gifts was a totally unexpected novelty - a battery-operated mouse.

Never having come across a battery-operated mouse, I studied the instruction sheet carefully. This was no simple rodent, it needed to be opened with a screwdriver in order to insert the batteries. I went in search of a screwdriver.
The base removed . . . the batteries inserted . . . and the base screwed firmly back into place . . . Chloe's mouse was ready for action.

What form would this action take? We soon found out!
Having woken from its trance, the activated mouse was not only mobile, it was also highly vocal! What was more, far from restricting itself to muted squeaks, it had aspirations to be a veritable diva.
As Chloe and I watched in startled amazement, it darted across the carpet to a lively accompaniment of high-pitched squeaks, purrs and chirrups! Yelling with excitement, Chloe dived after it! Sitting back on my heels on the floor, I burst out laughing.

Ten minutes later, with Chloe now thoroughly over-excited, it seemed the moment to switch off the noisy newcomer and let the situation calm down. Too late I discovered that the mouse had everything but an OFF switch!

Turning in desperation to the instruction sheet, I made a discovery. The mouse, I found to my surprise, was voice-activated . . . it was Chloe's enthusiastic miaows and my laughter that were keeping it on the move!
Have you ever found yourself in animated communication with a mechanical mouse? Believe you me, it's enough to get any human laughing, and any cat over-excited!

In search of a moment's peace, I plunged the toy deep inside one of the festive carrier-bags. Peace? From the noises coming through the silver paper, it seemed that there was nothing wrong with this mouse's ears!
Meanwhile, Chloe, upset by the disappearance of her new plaything, succeeded in turning it round inside the bag. With a loud, triumphant squeak, the mouse came rushing out again!
At this point I was laughing so helplessly that I could barely hold the camera.

There was only one thing left to do. An indignant, wriggling Chloe was put to rest in the bedroom and, as silently as I could, I carried the mouse (still in its bag) into the book-room. Here, I placed it on a top shelf and crept quietly away.

It will be invited to come down to play at regular intervals in the future, but, for the moment, the more peaceful catnip toys have come into their own.
What worries me a little is how loud the volume of sound would need to be to rouse the sleeping mouse into strident life?
Perhaps I'd better keep the radio and television at low volume . . . just in case!