This is a story that made me laugh on Saturday. Nothing like a bit of irony to make you smile.

Comments

Unfortunate, coincidental, comical, it's all of those things and more, but I don't think that's ironic.

However, given the widespread use of the word in similar circumstances, no doubt one day the definition will change to accommodate such usage.

I can't find it on the net, but Dave Eggers' book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius has a great rant about the misuse of irony in it.

Anyway, nice pick, Nick. Very funny story. 

There is a degree of situational irony here. If you put mice and cats together in any environment, the expectation would be that the cats kill the mice. In this case, the reverse has happened. And the fact that they were in a shelter - where they're supposed to be saved from harm - adds an extra layer.

I'm at my in-laws, so only have access to Odhams Concise, but one of its definitions for irony is: result precisely opposite in effect from what might have been expected from its cause.

Admittedly it would have been better to pass the irony test if the mice had been introduced into the shelter specifically to protect the cats in some way - but nonetheless, I'd say it just about makes it.

That Dave Eggers book, incidentally, is magnificent.

Ian Reeves is deputy head of the Centre for Journalism

Yes, loved that book.

Mice suspected in deadly cat fire