Yesterday Buddy ambled into the dining room with a gray object in his mouth that, upon inspection, proved to be a live mouse rather than an inanimate cat toy. With a little encouragement, he agreed to carry it back into a small, unoccupied bedroom for further proceedings.
Buddy and Shadow then caucused with the poor creature for a couple of hours. It spent a lot of time in their mouths, but they would drop it every now and then, only to swat at it and pick it up again as soon as it showed signs of life. Pretty much like tag team wrestling, only it didn't have a teammate. Poor thing must have thought it was at Guantanamo or something, and I felt quite sorry for it though agreeing that its life should be forfeit under the circumstances.
They eventually lost interest when it stopped moving for good. At this point I deposited it in the trash outside. Unclear whether an autopsy would have identified shock, internal bleeding, or heart attack as the cause of death. But the grand jury would have had a clear basis to indict for first degree murder.
Buddy and Shadow then headed to their food bowls for refreshment (they had no interest in eating the mouse), and remained too stirred up to nap for a couple of hours.
Two movies I always think about when I observe this type of activity are (1) The Incredible Shrinking Man (Grade B 1950s sci fi in which a man, hiding in his daughter's dollhouse, is attacked by his cat once he has shrunk to being a few inches tall), and (2) the Nightmare on Elm Street [CORRECTION - thanks to a reader!] movies. Freddy Krueger is rather cat-like, from a mouse's perspective, what with his playfulness and retractable razor blades on his fingers.
Later on, Buddy was purring, kneading with his paws, and rolling over as I thanked him for the trouble-free vermin removal. As they say in the NBA, you can't teach size.