Tag Archives: mouse

I Caught my Cat

Since our neighbor’s cat has taken up a haphazard Catch and Release program in the adjoining apartment, we have been having occasional problems with rodents. I’m not talking about the three wayward cavies we inherited from our son, dim-witted rotund beasts approaching a good size for Peruvian Barbecue. Though they take up roughly the same amount of floor space as our  love seat and offend my wife’s wolf-like sense of smell, the guinea pigs are not the rodents I am most annoyed with this week.

We have a mouse.

Having a sly, slinking, disease-carrying vermin is bad enough when you only have the evidence of gnawed waffle boxes and droppings behind the coffee maker. This one has gotten bold.

I was sitting at my desk the other morning with the cat at my right hand. We leave a stool there of just the right height to allow my to simply reach down and skritch Kestrel’s neck. His food bowl is on the floor two or three feet to the right. As I typed and the cat awaited the next round of skritches, something moved off to my left.

As I sat perfectly still, a small darkish blur loped out of the kitchen, past my book bags, and directly under my seat. Only then did it realize that I was there and zipped back out to the kitchen. My cat, descendant of ancient hunting cats of the African plains, remained in meat loaf mode on the stool, apparently lacking limbs, curiosity or any motivation.

That’s when the glue traps came out.

I set one trap on the counter where the little bastard had left fecal calling cards. I left one behind a piece of equipment that sat next the cat’s bowl. Two more were set in the space between the stove and the cabinet and along the path he took in and out of the kitchen. The open trays of sticky polymer each were topped of with a dab of peanut butter to taste and left to do their jobs.

Two days later and no sign of the mouse. I told my wife that I believed that the mouse had been intimidated by my reputation and fled to Argentina. There, he found a nice local mouse, settled down and had lots of little ex-pat mouse babies.

I left the traps in place, willing to bet on the side of rodent cunning.

About two hours ago,  my cat began acting more strangely than usual. He thumped around the hardwood floor, making a clicking noise like falling poker chips as he moved. As I got up and approached the disturbed but embarrassed feline, I could see a black plastic tray measuring two inches by four stuck to the under side of his tail.

For some reason only known to cats and the Goddess, our cat chose to wheel his hindquarters around behind the equipment in the living room to get another angle at his water bowl.  When he settled down to have a long slurp, he set his tail across the glue trap.

The big problem in situations like this is that the Catching is easy, the Releasing involves some pain and anguish. I snagged the beast before he decided to bolt and somehow adhere himself to a wall or the underside of a table. I took the tail in my right hand and the tray in my left. With utmost  gentleness, I tried to separate the two. Kestrel tried to imitate the tone used for the Emergency Broadcast System.

I pulled the cat free and found three large clumps of black fur held fast in the goo. His tail was not denuded, but there was enough hair to make one adult male eyebrow or a decent Charlie Chaplin mustache.

I still have not seen a second sign of the mouse, but I think the cat and the cavies have warned him off.

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Run-ins with Rodents

Over the last few months, I have been having problems with wild rodents. My neighbor’s cat, generally a feline defective, caught a mouse. The cat had no idea what to do with a live mouse and ended up releasing it into the walls. We realized it had worked its way over to our side of the building when it started leaving little presents in the pantry that definitely were not capers.

My wife, being as adverse to vermin as she is, immediately pulled all the food and utensils out of the cabinets, scrubbed all surfaces with antiseptics, and then sealing anything edible in plastic. I was given the task of the interloper’s capture and execution.

I have never been fond of the old -style mouse traps since my teenage years. After a long evening of watching horrible horror movies, I was awakened in the early morning by a metallic crash in the kitchen.  A quick search showed nothing out of place and no rational cause for the noise. When I went to my parents’ room, to voice what I thought were normal concerns, my father taunted me with remarks about “The Curse of the Devil’s Kitchen” Mwha-ha-ha-ha!

I didn’t get any apologies later when I opened one of the cabinets and was bombarded by a stack of  Revere Ware. It seemed a mouse had gone after the cheese in a trap and  received its Eternal Reward instead. The torsion of the trap catapulted both wooden base and cooling cadaver into a stack of pots and pans which fell against cabinet door.

So, no spring traps to avoid re-living past family trauma.

I picked a few of the new “spin traps.” Little plastic death chambers the size of a hockey puck, they were reputed to quickly and humanely snap a mouse’s neck. Either that, or overwhelm it with vertigo, forcing it to run outside and throw up its cotton candy just like at King’s Island.

Several days passed without dead bodies or pink mouse vomit, so I moved on to the classic glue trap. We caught him in less two days, a single hind foot adhered to the bottom of his cardboard abattoir. I normally would have put him out my misery, but Kit was feeling compassionate. I put the whole trap into the trash and assured her that the rodent would be able pull itself free and have an enjoyable ride to the city dump where it would be able to start a new and loving family.

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Shortly after that, a squirrel went sky-diving behind our garage. My son found it splayed out like the letter “X” flat on the pavement. Having seen me take in all sorts orphans and wounded critters, he tried to make it comfortable in a towel-lined shoe box with food and water close by. I came home a few hours later to find it a rigid ex-squirrel. I tucked him into his box. My son wanted to bury it in the garden once the weather cleared.

When I checked the box the next day, there was a rather large hole chewed in the top of the box. There was no squirrel inside.

I know that I made no mistake about it’s being dead; I could have driven nails with its little head.

My Arcanum Faire books are hip-deep in undead rodents, roadkill and sacrifices possessed by ancient demons bent on bringing about the end of the world. As amused as I am about tiny quadraped zombies, I refused to believe it was happening in my garage.

I checked the box more carefully, then. The tooth marks were on the outside, and  from the needle-like canines of a cat. My neighbor’s cat had gotten into the garage and made its own disposal arrangements.

God, I hate that cat more than the rodents.

 

 

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