Monday, August 17, 2015

A Mouse In the House

I'd like to start by saying we have a cat.

Not a very cat-like cat, to be sure, considering he's hairless and partially blind. But still, we have a cat.

We also have two dogs, one of which hunts squirrels and moles and birds in the yard with reckless abandon.

So I can't figure out how in the world we got another stinking mouse in the house!!!

It all started early last week when I got in one of the lower cabinets to grab a couple of dog treats and I noticed that the bag had been completely chewed open, dog treats were scattered willy-nilly, and there was trace evidence of mouse excrement.

I freaked.

The dogs, it is interesting to note, also freaked…but only because I had gone to the treat cabinet, retrieved the treats, then refused to give them so much as a crumb. “We’re throwing the whole bag away,” I told the dogs firmly. “You don’t want a bunch of vermin-ridden, mouse-chewed treats. That’s disgusting.”

The dogs allowed as how they saw nothing at all disgusting in mouse-chewed treats. What they thought was disgusting was throwing away perfectly good treats when there are dogs starving all over the world.

Seriously, these dogs are a little over-dramatic.

In any case, the next step was, of course, to eradicate any evidence that any mouse had ever been in residence.

“Don’t!” Opie insisted. “You shouldn’t clean until after we catch the mouse.  Cleaning will eradicate his scent and he might not come back to the same place.”

“Maybe it will make him move out,” I suggested. “But it doesn’t really matter because I can’t live here knowing we have mouse poop in the cabinet.  I have to clean it or we might have to move out.”

So, I cleaned and then we set the traps and for 3 whole days they were undisturbed.

I considered this a screaming success—mouse gone, house clean, everything was right with the world.

“We’ll give it one more night,” I told Opie. “Then I think we can trust that he’s moved on.”

“I don’t think mice just move on,” he said skeptically.

Which just goes to show you that he hasn’t seen The Rescuers.  Because mice do move on. Heck, sometimes they fly to Australia, fighting crocodiles and cliff diving.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a cartoon mouse.

Or, if we do, we have a mouse that is more like one of the Rats of Nimh—a super smart, mutant freak of a mouse that can skillfully remove every bit of bait from every mouse trap in the house and the garage without setting a single one of them off.

I did not handle this well.

I also didn’t handle it well the next night when we got this super-sensitive trap that’s supposed to snap if so much as a whisker touches it. And I can attest that it was so sensitive the stupid thing snapped almost every time I tried to move it to 
the appropriate location.

To be fair, the mouse did trigger this trap.  I mean, sure he also got the bait out of it and got away completely unscathed, but he did snap it.

Which was more than I can say for my attempt at humane, catch and release mouse-catching. See, I smeared peanut butter on the end of a strip of cardboard, extended that halfway across an empty bin and waited for the mouse to go after the peanut butter. This would cause the cardboard-and the mouse—to fall into the bin, Opie could take it to a field a few miles away and we all maintain the appropriate karmic balance.

The only thing that we caught with that elaborate setup was a couple of dogs sneaking in and out of the kitchen, irresistibly drawn to the intoxicating scent of peanut butter.

And that’s when I lost it ever so slightly. “That is IT!” I screamed at Opie.  ‘” I can not live like this!  I can’t stand thinking about that thing using our cabinets as an all night diner,  scampering around like an uncontrollable scamper mouse!”
“A scamper mouse?” he asked. “Is that a specific breed of mouse?’

“Don’t start with me!” I shouted.

In any case, we are in take no prisoners mode. I got everything mouse-friendly out of the cabinets and stuffed it in the refrigerator or a huge cooler.  I found these high-tech, super fancy mouse traps:

and I even have the humane trap set up again—except this time, instead of a piece of flat cardboard, I got a leftover paper towel roll, filled it with bait and then balanced it ever so gently on the edge of counter above the bin.  The theory being that the mouse didn’t fall for the other trap because he could see over the edge of the counter and perhaps he is too afraid of heights to risk it for some peanut butter...I just hope he isn't afraid of heights!

Honestly, if I don’t wake up to a trapped mouse, I may have to concede defeat and just move.

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