‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Thursday, September 11, 2008

wild kingdom

It seems I have a new house pet. I had seen it out of the corner of my eye a few times and knew intellectually that we were sharing house space, but it wasn't until last night that we met formally.

I was cleaning the kitchen and all of the sudden there was a mouse looking for crumbs on the floor under the coffee maker. It noticed me noticing it and froze. Tiny wheels spun in its tiny mouse head as it weighed the possibility of me as a threat. It decided I wasn't, and carried on. My own tiny wheels spun in my own head as I decided that it WAS a threat and called the cat, who sat less than five feet away. The cat ignored me. I think he had already eaten his fill and was all, "oh, I just can't eat ONE MORE MOUSE." Instead he rubbed his belly to aid digestion and initiated a nap. The mouse and I both shrugged our shoulders and went about our business.

Lucky for me, I'm not afraid of mice. There are, however, things related to mice which I am afraid of, such as stepping on one in the dark when I am barefoot. I am also afraid of extra work, including but not restricted to cleaning my pans before I use them just in case.

As I put things away in my kitchen and estimated how long it would be before I routinely washed everything, I became sort of hypnotized by the mouse. I figured since I was just standing in the kitchen watching the mouse make itself at home, I should grab my camera and take a few nature photos. In case National Geographic calls.

I took one picture of it peeking out from under the table and then waited for it to come out. It did. I tried giving it some direction - run towards the camera, hold your tail still, chin to the left - and it tried to oblige. We were both so busy with the photo shoot that we failed to notice Hunter S. Tomcat, who had awakened from his nap and was careening straight down on the mouse like Tom Cruise in that scene from Mission Impossible.

Except Hunter didn't stop before he hit the floor. He caught the mouse, dropped it to adjust his grip, and lost the mouse. The mouse squeaked in a most convincing way and darted back under the table. Hunter patrolled the area but came up empty.

mouse - 1
cat - 0

So now we have five adults, four chickens, two children, one cat and one mouse living at our house.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Did you hear that? I said we have ONE MOUSE. As if while the one mouse is being all charming in the kitchen there aren't another eleventy hundred of its kin developing gated communities in our walls, starting businesses and sending their kids to charter schools.

So they must go, or we must move them into a habitrail.

Any suggestions that don't involve spring-loaded splattering?


Fred said...

I can tell you one thing - don't try a home-made trap using a piece of wood (floor), shoebox (trap), pencil, and string - at least, if you do, tie the string tight around the pencil and don't pull to fast, or else you might end up with the string in your hand and the box still balanced on the pencil. AND, if that happens to you, definitely do NOT try to shoot out pencil with a bb gun.

No sirree, Bob, definitely don't do that.

It'll haunt you for years.

JAbel said...

What about those sonic or whatever they are called pest things.The one you plug into a socket and it's"supposed" to drive away the animals.I have no idea if they work or work on mice or that the sound would bother cats.Or you could play Tom &Jerry dvd's or tapes while out of the house though that might make the mouse or mouses more comfortable.

Kristin said...

The sonic things don't work. I speak from experience.

You could get another cat, one that knows how to catch a mouse and then HOLD ON TO IT. I recommend a cat that began life in a barn. Those barn cats will tackle ANYTHING, including things that they should not tackle, like possums twice their size.

Otherwise, you're limited to traditional traps (spring-loaded squishing) or the live traps, which require you to release the mouse or drown it so it doesn't come back into your house. All fun options.

sophie said...

You are more than welcome to barrow my cat. She was born in a barn (as Kristin sugjested). It's always a shock to see my sweet, adoring cat turn into a creature from deep in the forest-she's not afraid of anything. However, there was the unfortunate there's the head, so where's the body? mouse incident. Hard on the eyes.

Patty said...

my neighbor has effective relocated one good sized beaver with these traps. you have to want to deal with lively mouses....

Bella said...

oops my mom did not have a neighbor who moved a beaver...i did!

Susan said...

Fred - I had to read your suggestion to my family as they were wondering what all the giggling was about.

jabel - they're comfortable enough, thank you.

kristin - I have been trying to trade in this model for YEARS. He's a fine hunter but, like my children, enjoys playing with his food.

sophie - hmmm, mixed blessing now isn't it? Stepping on live mouse vs. stepping on mouse head. Jury's out on this one.

Bella - are you assuming pen names to up my comment count? I'm okay with that. The trap sounds a little like Fred's shoebox, though. And I don't have a bb gun.