Thomas was the best mousehunter in the litter, he boasted every day. "If I'll see a mouse, I'll just pounce on it like this!" and he would pounce one of his six siblings and they'd roll around pawing at one another and fake-biting until their mama would say it was enough or pick them up by the skin on their neck and put them back in the cat basket they'd been sleeping in since before the kittens' eyes had opened up. She'd lick them clean and give them milk and told them to be good little kittens and go to sleep. Thomas always huffed at that. "Mo-om, how am I going to be a good mousehunter if you keep making me go to bed this early in the day?" he whined, but mama always licked his cheek and said his time would come one day. And really, Thomas could never quite fight the sleep once mama cuddled them close.
As the kittens grew older, they strayed farther from their basket and started to explore the house some more. The kitchen especially was an interesting place for Thomas. All the smells of food that lingered there.. The humans sometimes picked Thomas up and set him down in the basket again, but he always ran right back to the kitchen. Eventually they just stopped paying attention to him and he eagerly learned of which cabinet produced which smells as the human family prepared breakfast, lunch and even dinner. Thomas was a big kitten, he was. He could stay up far later than he could before! Except he couldn't, and he often fell asleep right there in the kitchen on one of the kitchen chairs, under the table, on a cabinet.. wherever he was at the time.
One night, as Thomas had fallen asleep in the kitchen again, he woke up from some rustling. A tiny voice came from somewhere close to the rustling and Thomas lifted his head to try and figure out where it came from. From where he was lying, on one of the kitchen chairs under the table, he could barely see one of the cabinets had opened up slightly and a mouse was standing in front of it. "Did you find the cookies yet?" it asked of the open cabinet, and a muffled voice from inside of it squeaked something back that Thomas couldn't quite hear. "No chocolate chip cookies? Only tea biscuits? Aww.." the mouse outside said in response, and shook its head, making its big floppy ears flop around. "Well, just bring some of those out then."
Thomas raised an eyebrow at the mice as a tea biscuit was lowered out of the cabinet, then another, and a mouse came dropping out of the cabinet afterwards. Each of them took hold of a tea biscuit, and they started to drag them away across the kitchen floor. "Er.. what do you think you're doing?" Thomas demanded, jumping down from the kitchen chair and rushing over to the mice. "A CAT!" they peeped, dropped their biscuits and started running for a small hole in the wall. Thomas ran after them as fast as he could, ignoring the biscuits as he ran past them. One mouse already made it into the hole, but the other.. he could just grab it if he pounced it, he thought. So he did. With a loud "Mreow, now I got you!" he jumped forwards, but the mouse just jumped off to the side! Thomas didn't know mice could do that!
Thomas still shot forward, though.. and his head disappeared through the hole in the wall before he could stop himself. But then he stopped. And he tried to pull his head back out. And found that he couldn't. "Mew? What's this? Why is my head not coming out?" Thomas thought to himself, but no amount of tugging and squirming made his head come out of the hole. He really was stuck. The mouse inside the wall carefully walked up to Thomas' head and tilted its head at it. "Oh dear, it looks like you're stuck? Do you need some help?" Thomas blinked at the offer. "Why would you help me, mouse? I tried to catch you!" The mouse shrugged. "Most cats do. But we can't just leave you stuck like this, can we? What would your mother say if she saw you like this? Nono, we'll have to free you." Thomas blushed at that. What would his mother say? She would probably send him to bed without a saucer of milk.. And Thomas really really liked milk!
"But how can you help me?" he asked of the mouse, and it walked up closer to Thomas, feeling its little hand on Thomas' neck. "Hm.. A little butter should work?" the mouse offered, and Thomas made a face. "Butter? That's so icky. It's like milk gone bad!" The mouse walked up in front of Thomas and raised an eyebrow. "It's not for eating, silly cat." "But what is it for then?" Thomas demanded, not knowing what the mouse was planning. Do you?
"Tessie, can you bring a stick of butter down?" the mouse called out past Thomas, and Thomas could just hear a muffled "Ok" from outside the wall. It took the other mouse a little while to get the butter all on her own from the cabinet the humans stored it in, and the other mouse sat down in front of Thomas' face and stared at him. Thomas stared back as there wasn't a lot he could do other than that. "So.. my name's Terry. What's yours?" Thomas raised an eyebrow, but said "Thomas." "Oh, hi Thomas! Pleasure to meet you." Terry the mouse said. "Why are you not scared of me?" Thomas asked, and Terry tilted his head. "Should I be?" Thomas thought of that question long and hard. "Well, I AM the best mousehunter in the house." he started. "Oh, undoubtedly." Terry agreed, "But you're not a mean cat, are you?"
"No.." Thomas admitted, and Terry nodded. "So you wouldn't hurt us. You would just hunt us and then let us go again when you captured us?" Thomas blinked heavily at that. "Well.. er.. I think so?" he stammered, wondering what Terry was getting at. "The same as what Tessie and me are doing now. We captured you, but we're going to let you go again." Thomas felt something cold and gooey get rubbed in his fur from the outside of the wall. "Hold still a bit.." Tessie called out from that side, rubbing butter in Thomas' well-groomed fur. "Eww.. now mama is going to have to wash me over and over again to get it all out.." Thomas whined, and Terry giggled. "Would you rather she got mad at you being stuck in a wall?" Thomas blushed. "No.." Terry giggled again. "Then the butter will help. Just wait until Tessie says you can move."
Thomas didn't understand one bit of what the mice were doing. His fur was getting all soggy and gooey and he didn't like the feeling at all. "Ok, push forward." Tessie called out, and Thomas blinked. "But then I'll just go INTO the wall!" he said. "Trust her." Terry offered, and Thomas sighed but pushed forward as far as he could go. Which wasn't that far at all. Terry walked over to the hole and looked at Thomas' butter-covered fur. "Good! Now pull back hard! Tessie, get out of the way, please?" Terry said, and Thomas closed his eyes before pulling out quickly!
With a plop! sound, Thomas' head popped out of the hole in the wall and Thomas went tumbling backwards over the kitchen floor for one, two, three tumbles before he stopped sitting on his butt. Feeling a bit dizzy, he shook his head some, then focused on the two mice at the hole, the stick of butter lying beside it. "I'm free!" Thomas realized, and the mice nodded in unison. "Oh, thank you thank you! Yes, you're right Terry! I will let you go, but can I still chase you?" "Well, of course." Terry said. "That's what we cats and mice do, right?" Thomas giggled and nodded. "I'll have to go explain this to my mama.." he realized, and got on all fours to pad over to the basket. "Don't worry, I'm sure she'll understand." Tessie offered.
And what do you think? Thomas' mama did understand him of course. And his brothers and sisters giggled a little bit. His mama already knew about Tessie and Terry. They were good friends of Thomas' mama, and she licked Thomas clean like mama cats do to their kittens, even if Thomas protested that he was a big cat already.
And the mice? They took their tea biscuits home after putting the butter back where it came from and had a lovely dinner inside the wall.