In Search of the Wild House Mouse (and a Fall Cocktail)

I got my first mouse about a month ago. Not on purpose, however, and not in a pet cage.  I got it with a broom. I am still shaking and it’s taken me this long to get the story on paper.

fall cocktail

An appropriate cocktail

The reason for so much distress from a tiny creature?  Well, buried in my memory is an old news report of the hantavirus death of a computer programmer in a not-so-distant town.  He’d been cleaning up after some mice.  I used to be a computer programmer…

There was, in hindsight, a forewarning before all this happened.  I was vacationing “up north” and when daughter #2 joined me, she had an interesting story.  Two days prior, her cat Morgan had brought her a present at bedtime–a live mouse.  Deposited at the foot of her bed, it sent her into a screaming fit and Dad out to find mousetraps.

“Aw, she loves you,” I said, secretly happy I was out of town.  Stay calm, I thought–you don’t want to raise timid daughters.

“Naw, “ inserted her sister, “she just thinks you’re too stupid to catch your own mice and she doesn’t want you to starve.”

But after a lovely weekend (including the purchase of a new kitten from the local humane society and many “too dumb to” jokes), we returned home.  The mouse story was quickly forgotten.

Alas, briefly.

I was in the kitchen when my youngest, in the adjacent hallway, started to sputter.  I eventually made out the word “mouse” and immediately stopped working, looking up just in time to see our yearling cat drop a live mouse into daughter #2’s favorite (and most expensive) pair of shoes.  The mouse, sensing freedom, immediately darted out and began running around the living room, pursued half-heartedly by the cat who clearly didn’t care if he caught it.  I grabbed our new kitten.

The teeny spitfire immediately started running the mouse vigorously in circles, but I knew she was never going to catch it.  “You know, she wouldn’t even have the clearance to get a mouse off the ground,” my husband (uselessly away at work) later commented.  The yearling decided to lay on his side and watch.  “Go get Morgan ,” I ordered my youngest.

Dilute Calico Kitten

Our “baby” now a bit older

Morgan, our senior cat and most experienced mouser, came downstairs, circled a few times and quickly had the mouse in her mouth.  She headed toward the door and I thought, I’ll get her to drop it outside.

Well the one problem with this is that our cats are strictly indoor cats.  To reduce any tendency to wander outside if a door is left open (with three kids how often do you think that happens?), we have conditioned them to associate the outdoors with bad weather.  (Torrential rainstorm–carry the cat out and let it run back.  Deep snow bank–deposit said cat on top and wait for the charge indoors. ) So when Morgan got a look at the open door her eyes grew wide, she dropped the mouse and they both fled back to the living room.

And so I got the broom.  Pretty soon Morgan, the kitten and I were all chasing the mouse.  The yearling rested on his side;  I thought I saw a yawn.

Then the mouse disappeared.  Wide open spaces, no hideouts, no mouse.  Two confused cats and I were thinking, how does a mouse vanish into thin air?  Our yearling kind of rolled his eyes and looked away,  and I thought, no, it couldn’t be.  I gave him a nudge and the mouse ran out… from underneath him.

One good broom whack and it was all over.  I went out to buy more mousetraps and Lysol.

Kitten and Cat Sign

Guess it’s’ true…

So my dearest kitties, I have a request for you.  You now know that we are not too stupid to catch mice.  Can you please leave them in the basement with the traps?

Fellow blog readers… if you encounter a mouse yourself, see this information from the CDC.  The incidence of hantavirus is low but with a fatality rate of over 30%, it clearly demands proper attention.

Black cat

Kitty #2 in a typical pose

Calico cat

Our intrepid mouser (tougher than she looks…)

And perhaps a nice fall cocktail.

house-mouse-drink-closeup

Autumn Sunset Cocktail

A  variation on the Jack Rose

.
Ingredients

  • 2 oz. nonalcoholic apple cider
  • 2 oz. applejack
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 2 dashes bitters

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker or mixing glass with ice and stir.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass or serve over ice.
  3. Garnish with a slice of apple.

Cocktail & Pumpkin

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17 thoughts on “In Search of the Wild House Mouse (and a Fall Cocktail)

  1. Karis

    I’m thankful to have never seen a mouse, but could also do without the geckos that the boys are finding in our apartment. They are crazy fast and I’m thankful it takes just a cat paw to keep them in place before we can get them back outside. p.s. That cocktail looks fantastic!

    1. Inger

      Aww, geckos sound cute–though I guess the mouse was actually cute, just not in the house. BTW, it was the Joey Gerard’s event that made me cocktail obsessed. Our liquor caches used to just have wine, beer and the fixings for Margaritas and chocolate martinis!

  2. Freeda Baker Nichols

    Beautiful cats–all three! Good story! I love it. What is your black kitty’s name? If you’ve said before, I’ve forgotten. I still have my black one and yellow one, plus visited by the grandkids’ 2 cats from next door. Our yellow one, the senior, caught a mouse from the round bale of hay this week in the pasture. I didn’t see it, but my husband told about it. One problem, Inger, about your story. You don’t have a picture of the mouse! 🙂 lol Nor do I have a picture of our yellow cat with the mouse. I’m sure you were too busy with the broom. 🙂 A fun story.

    1. Inger

      Thanks Freeda. The black cat is Ollie. My niece named him, since he was hers first. Don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but she brought him home without asking her dad, which is how we got him 😉 Not that I mind!

    1. Inger

      You know I almost didn’t know what to do. If my mother hadn’t told my sister in law (who told me since my mother never did) her story of killing a mouse with a broom, I’d have sat there like a (more) complete idiot. And I’d have needed the drink even more!

  3. Louise

    What a story Inger! I too would need a stiffer drink after an “adventure” such as that. The story does have an overtone of humor but I’m sure it is the way you and “yours” handled it:)

    I tried to chase a chipmunk out of the garage the other day and I’m sure if it were on video tape I, and the chipmunk would be all over You Tube. This sounds like that kind of story, lol…

    Thanks for sharing, Inger. I’ll take two of those drinks:)

    1. Inger

      Isn’t it amazing how funny things can be–afterwards that is! I can just picture you chasing after the chipmunk. And you’re right, it’s a good thing we don’t have friends who run around with video cameras!

  4. Kathy

    Enjoyed reading this story. Do NOT enjoy having to trap & kill mice. We’ve entertained each other with dozens of mouse stories like yours over the years. Killed yet another one the night before last.

    1. Inger

      Normally my husband takes care of them, but I was not going to wait on this one! I suppose they are trying to come in before winter–hopefully we’re both done for a bit.

  5. grace

    i HATE mice and they truly scare me, which is ridiculous because i’m more than 100 times their size. so far, my cats are doing their jobs…knock on wood. this cocktail sounds like one i’d actually enjoy!

  6. ivysew

    Hi Inger, talking about mouse, oh no, I hate it too. Just can’t stand the sight of it and even hearing the word MOUSE or MICE. Grrrrr….. Oh, by the way I like your cocktail. This is very refreshing and simple to prepare too. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day ahead 🙂

  7. Kathy

    Ahhh, how I can relate to your story, Inger. We used to have cats, too. They were not very successful in catching mice inside–although they did better outside. It’s one of the hazards of living in the woods in a house that has been pecked by woodpeckers and has cedar siding…

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