In the end, armed with a torch and a stick, I set about trying to break the status quo by dislodging the creature - preferably into my custody - before the advent of Sunday lunch baked the little blighter into the lino. I was convinced it was a mouse. Small, cute, beady black eyes. I now suspect it was just an adolescent rat. Anyway, all I succeeded in doing was driving the thing from out beneath the oven and across the kitchen floor to the fluffy world that exists beneath the washing machine.
Our cats, prime mousers that they are, didn't move a muscle from the oven and indeed continued to sit on patrol for the rest of the night whilst Monty (as I shall christen him) gave them the finger from the other side of the kitchen.
I figured that sooner or later food would drive Monty out into the open and into some risky manoeuvre that would put him squarely into the hungry sights of our cats. I forgot about him. I let the cats wage their war of attrition and got on with my life.
Until I was awoken by terrified squeaking this morning and the sounds of a life and death game of hide & seek out in the hallway. I emerged to find the cats furiously pawing at the unloaded shoe rack and guessed that Monty had indeed made a bid for freedom and had got himself corralled by the cats into a hell of high heels and flip-flops.
If I'd been more awake I would have twigged that (a) a mouse would not have eluded 2 cats for this long, (b) doesn't make a huge deal of noise when panicked and (c) doesn't have a long, furless tail.
Trying to be a hero I thought I'd do the humane thing and rescue the little bugger. I am perversely proud to say that where the cats failed I succeeded and managed to capture Monty within my own paws after a mere 3 attempts.
At this point things went slightly awry when Monty sank his fangs into my finger and began to gnaw with the contempt only usually reserved for the UN by the Russians. I may have cried out at this point (in a manly way obviously) - especially as Monty was freely swinging from my finger like a weird piercing without any support from myself. And I realise with the benefit of hindsight that Monty plainly felt himself caught between a rock and a hard place. He didn't want to be within my grasp so was biting me in self-defence but neither could he let go as gravity would drop him into the waiting jaws of Missy and Kia.
I did that stupid dance that one does in such situations - trying to decide whether it would be best to throw Monty out of the backdoor or the front-door before his gnawing pushed me to the conclusion that to part company in the quickest possible fashion would be best. I managed to get the front-door open with Monty still hooked into my finger and then, once outside, Monty was happy to let himself free-fall into the nearest bush. Missy followed him out and sat, slyly sentinel, for half an hour or so amongst the underbrush before returning empty jawed so I have no doubt that Monty escaped completely and utterly and is no doubt even now recounting to his family how he ran rings around 2 cats and a human and got a bit of a free feed out of it.
For me it has meant a trip to my GP and a week's course of antibiotics as according to my doc any kind of wild animal bite leads to infection in 9 out of 10 cases. Charming. I'm also to return immediately if I start to feel ill anytime over the next 2 weeks - rats can carry nasty diseases and while such infection is rare it can happen.
Next time I shall bugger humanity and batter the bugger's brains out with a pair of Doc Martens.