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Chapter 3: Teaching The Cat in this Way


The laboratory’s little white mice were, pleasantly speaking, more docile than common mice. In less pleasant terms, the colony of mice were quite foolish. It wasn’t clear if inbreeding was the reason for this.  

Recently, Zheng Tan has heard Papa Jiao mention this often in his genetics course powerpoint presentation. Which is why, when he saw the cage of mice, Zheng Tan’s heart felt rueful that the situation was truly about the same as what Papa Jiao had said. He did indeed see no fear from the eyes of the mice in the cage. They probably even thought their feeder had come, focused only on getting food.    

Papa Jiao grabbed a mouse from the cage and placed it on the table. He said to Zheng Tan, “Watch him, don’t let him run around.”

Zheng Tan watched the little white mouse which didn’t know in the slightest bit about the impending doom it was about to face. He lifted up one paw and pressed it down on the mouse’s tail. With its tail pinned down, the mouse didn’t struggle too much, except for expressing intentions of wanting to crawl forward.

Look, this is the difference between the wild and domesticated mice. If it was a wild mouse that had its tail caught, it would struggle free for its life, or retaliate with a bite.

Papa Jiao stored the remaining four mice in an empty cardboard box, preventing them from seeing what was happening around them.

“I don’t know how you cats hunt mice, or how you kill them. Right now, I’m just going to tell you the method that we commonly use.

Speaking to there, Papa Jiao took the mouse from under Zheng Tan’s paw.

“Let me tell you, inside our country’s laboratories, the commonly used method is to snap the neck. This method also has the lowest degree of pain for the mouse. If your technique is smooth then the mouse wouldn’t even feel any pain. This is also in line with, what people in other countries call, animal ethics…”  

Zheng Tan sat by the side and quietly watched. He knew that Papa Jiao had entered his teaching mode again. Sometimes, at home, after Papa Jiao had finished preparing his powerpoint presentation, he would practice presenting it once by himself, and the one listening then would be Zheng Tan. So the moment when Zheng Tan heard Papa Jiao say the four words “Let me tell you”, he already knew Papa Jiao had entered his teaching mode once again.    

“Execution by snapping the neck, bluntly speaking, is just dislocating the cervical vertebra, resulting in the disconnection between the brainstem and the spinal cord. Use one hand to grab the mouse’s neck, and the other to grab its tail. Using both hands, suddenly pull apart with force, and done. This is just one of the methods, the other method is also commonly used by us…You can also try it, watch…”

While Papa Jiao was speaking, his left hand clutched onto the mouse’s tail, and his right thumb and index finger moved to the mouse’s neck and gave it a squish.

And then… there was no more ‘and then’.

Zheng Tan looked at the motionless mouse on the table, then looked at the ‘I’m optimistic about  you’ expression on Papa Jiao’s face. His ears twitched.  

“Look, it’s actually really simple. Even if you had never caught any mice before, there’s no need to be nervous, all you have to do is practice for a bit. I’ve seen your speed when you gave Yellowy a beating, there should be no problem with catching a mouse.”

The Yellowy which Papa Jiao talked about was a yellow tabby cat. It was also one of the rascally friends Zheng Tan had recognized since becoming a cat. What made him different from ‘Detective’ was that Yellowy always did things that caused people to not know whether to laugh or cry. A lot of times, whenever Zheng Tan saw it, he wanted to go give it a thrashing. However, recently Yellowy hasn’t appeared, and the reason for that was unknown.  

Papa Jiao brought another mouse out to let Zheng Tan try for himself.

For the first attempt, it took Zheng Tan three presses before the pitiful mouse finally stopped breathing.

When Zheng Tan killed the second mouse, he used too much strength. However, the mouse didn’t feel any pain and its life flickered out with a puff. Zheng Tan felt increasing glad in his heart that he had become a cat instead of a mouse. Being at the bottom of a food chain is just another level of hell.

“Dislocating the cervical vertebra is very easy, and mice have weak cervical vertebra. The main point is just that your technique isn’t well-practiced.” Papa Jiao gave advice from the side, “Don’t hesitate when striking, it’s best to succeed in one try, otherwise the mouse might suffer. Pay attention to separating the spinal cord from the brain stem, but don’t pull off the head. This requires strength control, since you need to break the cervical vertebra while keeping the head on. When I taught some students in the past, due to too much pressure on the eye, the eyeball actually exploded.“

Zheng Tan: “…”

Holy sh*t that’s terrifying !

Zheng Tan watched Papa Jiao maintain an unperturbed expression as he recounted these events. In fact, he suddenly felt that Papa Jiao’s eyes were emitting a cold light.  

Zheng Tan thought of the past, back when he and a group of fair-weathered friends were at a nightclub chatting about this topic. At that time, someone said: “Actually, the greatest killers aren’t those that appear devilish on the outside,  aren’t those that carry large knives, have tattoos, and nose rings, or those people who play with knives and guns all day to give a great display of themselves, but those people that appear completely normal and the next second cut down someone’s life so easily, without their face even changing.“

And so from a certain point of view, some senior researchers were similar to killers in temperament.

Researchers entering research-mode are really fúcking scary!

Zheng Tan started having second thoughts. Perhaps Associate Professor Jiao is the only person in the world that teaches their family cat how to kill mice by snapping their neck.

When he killed the third and fourth mice, Zheng Tan finally had a much better feel for it. Compared to the two before, these last two mice at least had some dignity in death.

Of the five mice, Papa Jiao had killed one to demonstrate, and the rest had been killed by Zheng Tan.

After cleaning up the five dead mice, Papa Jiao turned back and went into the inner room again. Not long after, he returned carrying a slightly bigger cage out. Inside the cage were still five white mice as before, only that their sizes were much bigger.

“These are rats, the big white rats used in the laboratory are a mutated variation of the normal brown rat family. Use the same method as before, but you need to use a bit more power, just a little more. Main thing is controlling your strength and succeeding in one strike. Do you need me to demonstrate?”

Zheng Tan shook his head.

“Good boy.”

Zheng Tan: “…”

Following what Papa Jiao had said, the rats should be somewhat harder by a teensy bit. However, after testing out the five rats, Zheng Tan had become just as proficient.

“Still need to practice?” Papa Jiao asked.  

Zheng Tan shook his head.

“Good, then the rat killing practice will end here. Let me tell you…… “

Zheng Tan’s ears twitched. “…” Here we go again.

Although they had already finished killing off the rats, Papa  Jiao’s teaching mode clearly hadn’t completely ran its course.

“At our laboratory, besides the commonly used execution method of snapping necks of rats and mice. There are also other methods such as execution by chopping the head off, bleeding, beating, anesthesia, and poison gas. For amphibious species we use the marrow destroying method. One injection is all it takes. Oh… Next week I’m teaching the zoology course on dissecting. It just so happens that we’re dissecting bullfrogs, when the time comes, I’ll bring one home to give you a demonstration. Oh, also, what you should especially take note of, is that execution of dogs, cats and so on in the lab are mostly by venous air embolism.” He paused for a moment. Papa Jiao looked at Zheng Tan: “You do understand this, no?”

Zheng Tan shook his head, his  muscles stiffened a bit, the hair on his back and tail stood straight up, and he always just had the feeling that the temperature in the surroundings were quite cold.

“Simply speaking, this method is the intravenous injection of air.”

Zheng Tan broke into a shiver . This he understood. Even if he wasn’t that knowledgeable in this field, he knew what would happen from an intravenous air injection.

“Air that enters the blood circulation will arrive at the lungs, blocking the arteries in the lung and cause critical shock or death. For example, when you swim from deep waters to shallow waters, the change in pressure will cause the air in your body to expand, which causes your lungs to expand too. If you don’t exhale the excess gas or don’t have enough time to remove it, then things become quite dangerous. Some of the people trapped inside the Titanic when it sank have died in this way.”

Speaking up to there, Papa Jiao suddenly realized that talking about the Titanic to a cat wouldn’t be of much use. Therefore he returned to the beginning and summarized, “ Therefore, from now on, you need to be careful, stay away from dangerous objects and pay attention to your safety.”

After learning the technique to kill rats, tonight’s goal could be considered accomplished. Zheng Tan heart also had a list of goals. Although when it came to catching rats he was quite helpless, since he was now a cat, probably only cats that could catch rats would receive recognition. Even the second rate Yellowy could do it. Zheng Tan believed that he could also do it.

When they returned to the eastern residences, Zheng Tan saw a car parked in the empty area on the other side. The car had a familiar looking military sign hung on it.

Speaking of which, Chubs, that guy, had also came back from his trip to his relatives.

While Papa Jiao was parking his car into the parking shed, Zheng Tan took the opportunity to jump onto the balcony of the first floor, and took a peek inside.

A packet of instant noodles was placed on the desk near the window, and squatting on top of the instant noodles was a slightly overweight Dragon Li Cat.


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