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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And perhaps a nice fall cocktail.
Autumn Sunset Cocktail
A variation on the Jack Rose
- 2 oz. nonalcoholic apple cider
- 2 oz. applejack
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 t maple syrup
- 2 dashes bitters
- Combine ingredients in a shaker or mixing glass with ice and stir.
- Strain into a cocktail glass or serve over ice.
- Garnish with a slice of apple.
- CSA Harvest Party
- Kale (or Other Greens) with Prosciutto