I'm not a morning person. I don't leap out of bed with enthusiasm, rubbing my hands together in anticipation of starting my day.

No, I stay in bed with the duvet pulled up to my chin and only crawl out grumbling when my alarm has run out of snooze.

But this morning I leaped out of bed like an Olympic high-jumper. Except for the screaming ... I've heard the odd grunt from a high-jumper but never a high pitched scream.

It was justified though. There was a mouse in my bed.


And it wasn't alive.

It was, however, warm - because I'd been cuddled up with it.

I recognised the mouse as I'd seen it before, at 3am. That was when Stanley the hay shed cat strode down the passage shouting at the top of her lungs that she had actually done her job for once, and here was the proof, and wasn't she clever (the SPCA thought she was male when they named her).

I informed Stanley that she wasn't clever, just loud, and to take the mouse back outside and eat it. No, not drop it where I will stand on it, eat it.

Stanley promptly took the mouse under the bed and played noisily with it until I got up and threw shoes under the bed until she took her mouse and ran back down the passage.

I next saw the mouse at about 3.40am. It was in Stanley's mouth and Stanley was on my pillow. Apparently I'd been a bit ungrateful about the mouse the first time, but Stanley was prepared to give me a second chance to admire it and be suitably grateful.

I wasn't. I shoved the mouse-and-Stan combination off the bed, flung a box of tissues off the bedside table at her to hurry her on her way and went back to sleep.

Until the alarm went off. I sat up to reach for it and hit the first snooze cycle and as the duvet fell back there it was. Snuggled into my side. One slightly chewed dead mouse.


Hence the rocket-propelled bed exit. And some screaming and scrabbling about for the tissues I'd flung. And a rapid exit via the window of tissue-enwrapped mouse followed by a very long hot shower for the fling-ee.

The bedclothes are in the washing machine now, I'm not sure when I will take them out. I might just leave them there and keep pushing the heavy duty wash button for the rest of the weekend.

Stanley has been following me round the house looking daggers at me. I assume my refusal to accept her gift has offended her greatly.

But surely even a cat knows humans don't eat mice, or sparrows, or rats? They know what we eat - they stare at our plates and they pinch stuff off the bench. Is it ever fillet of mouse? No.

Recently I got the dubious gift of bird entrails on the toilet floor in the middle of the night, and twice received a live gecko hidden in the clothes I'd dropped on the bedroom floor.

I've had the dead weta under the bed too and, worse, the smallest dead mouse in the world. I know I was talking about going on a diet but that's a low blow, especially from a cat.

You'd think there would be an upside; fewer vermin in my garage and hay shed.

Nope. I swear if you stand quietly you can hear munching in the hay shed. And something, or some things, ate most of two horse-covers I had folded up and stored away. At least they left me the buckles.

I suspect they are even driving Stanley out, as she's become less of a hay shed cat of late and seems to have taken up residence on the couch during the day and the end of my bed at night. With the occasional foray into the kitchen to pretend there are mice under the dishwasher and that's why she's kindly decided to come in the house - to catch my rodents for me.

But let's face it, cats rarely come bearing gifts you'd actually want. Especially in the middle of the night.

There must be some other reason we keep them around.

I'll try and work it out by next week.