Down the Road a Piece
Have a bit of cheese, mousy
After the owl called our two remaining kitties’ names and had them for a midnight snack when they were outside one night, sound asleep in the driveway, Dolores said, “No more cats!”
“They’re a nuisance,” she said, “always underfoot and always using the litter box.”
I said, “Yup.”
That “yup” was actually a fib, and within a week she had phoned a veterinarian about a FIV-positive cat, Scarlet, he had advertised. Next we went down and visited Scarlet and found Tom, Scarlet’s also FIV-positive roommate for we’re not sure how many years.
And this week, we’ll go down and adopt them.
Which should frighten the mousy enough that he (or she) quits running around our house and eating the cheese out of the live trap, leaving the trap open for business -- with no cheese.
We’ve been feeding a deer mouse -- or family, not sure which -- for several years in our shed at night. We make sure there is enough sunflower seed in our bird-and-raccoon-feeding bowl to make his (or her) midnight snack satisfying.*
The shed is attached to our kitchen, but it is not on the foundation as it is a separate structure. He (or she) enters the shed via a hole in the floor we’re careful not to cover.
Imagine trying to crawl up through your hole some night and finding a size 11.5 shoe blocking it. We can’t, so we make sure the hole is clear.
Sometimes we turn on the shed light and watch the little guy (or gal) nibbling away. He (or she) stops and stares at us beneath those big deer-mouse ears. Once in awhile, he (or she) dashes across the floor and scrambles down the hole.
One of the deer mice, assuming there are several, has gotten so obese -- the evil term applied these days to too many people -- that we may have to enlarge the hole. Or he (or she) will go on a diet, because the hole has shrunk around a too-chubby waistline.
The night after Dolores had declared no more cats for us, at about 3 a.m. I heard a bell jingling in the curtain above my window.
“What is that bell?” I asked Dolores, as she rubbed her eyes to be sure she wasn’t dreaming.
“Oh, its a decoration I hung there,” she said, after she finished the eye-rubbing routine.
“It’s not a mouse is it?” I asked. “The wind is blowing pretty hard, but I don’t think it’s blowing in the window hard enough to ring that bell. The bell’s too high.”
She got up, walked around the bed, and began to remove the bell so it would stop ringing.
“It is a mouse!” she said, waking us both fully.
The little guy (or gal), like the ones in the hickory-dickory-dock tale ran down the windowsill and the wall to the floor. (We have no clock down which he (or she) could have run.)
I watched it running around the floor for awhile and decided perhaps I’d pick my bare feet up and put them back in the bed. Not that I’m afraid of a mouse, nor are my feet. It’s just that....it’s just that my feet are more comfortable in bed at 3:05 a.m.
We didn’t see Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. Mouse again that night.
But, having no kitties whose body odor would discourage such little critters from ringing our bell, we sent for one of those live traps.
To keep the little critters in their place and out of ours until we pick up Tom and Scarlet, it turns out.
The live trap came swiftly, within a few days, which so far is the best thing we can say for it.
Unless you’re a cute little mouse who likes cheese.
The first night we set it, we heard a snap in the wee hours of the morning. Since it is a live trap, I decided to let it enjoy a nap after cheese until I got up about 4 a.m. to get ready for work. When I crawled out of bed, I went out to the kitchen, picked up the closed trap, and saw inside a cute little mousie (or mousette).
I got my shower, dressed, and on the way out to the car in the dark (with no hooting owls nearby), I released the little guy (or gal). He (or she) didn’t say, “Thank you for releasing me,” or “Goodbye, see you tonight.” It just disappeared.
That was our most (only) successful night with the live trap. Each morning after, I’ve found the trap not sprung, the cheese gone, and the mouse gone too. Two of three times I fiddled with the really poor arrangement of metal stick-like gadgets that are supposed to slip off each other and allow the trap’s doors to close when the mouse nibbles the cheese and springs the trigger.
We had switched to a live trap, because once a regular mouse trap caught a mouse by a foot down in the basement. I took the trap and mouse outside, released the critter with a pair of pliers, and watched it limp off into the sunrise.
Never again. No more hurting mice. Who knows, he (or she) might be another mousie’s father or mother. So, with our two kitties gone, including Big Guy, who we’d heard some nights crunching something -- a mousie? at night, we sent for the trap.
The trap is the only thing we’ve bought from Amazon.com we wouldn’t recommend. Unless you want to provide a safe haven for your resident mouse, while it nibbles cheese.
We don’t. Nor do we want to hurt the little critter, just not have he (or she) running around our bedroom while we’re trying to sleep.
For over a week now, I’ve fed the little guy (or gal) via the live trap each night.
As I stood early on a recent morning, contemplating the unsprung trap, no cheese, and no mouse, I thought about one of those great life’s questions?
How can that little mouse with such a tiny brain be smarter than I?
That day I shared with one of my two or three friends my great life’s question.
“I can understand that,” he said.
*We feed the raccoons in the evening with this year’s little ones being of the third generation at our house. At a previous house, we had four or five generations, totaling about 15-20 each night. Of course, in Maine, all raccoons are “known” to have rabies, which makes all those mommies and babies showing up year after year a bit puzzling. One full-grown male made the mistake of biting a youngster, while Dolores was hanging clothes. Thinking such behavior inappropriate, Dolores whacked the big bull with a broom handle. He dropped the little one and ran into the woods. The little one was fine with a few scratches on its face about which it likely is now bragging to its grandchildren.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at email@example.com.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012