Monday, November 21, 2005

There's more than one way to catch a mouse.

scritch-scritch, scratch-scratch......(pattering of tiny feet running across the ceiling)

The cats freeze, their ears perk up, and they crouch low to the ground. John hits the mute button on the TV. "Did you hear that?" he asks.

"Hear what?" I say playing dumb. I am not about to be involved in the witch hunt.

"Huh. I don't know, I thought I heard something, like maybe a mouse in the attic." He turns the volume back up while I begin to sweat trying to come up with a plan that will work. I'm on a mission to keep this uninvited creature out of harm's way.

A few years ago, Molly (the cat) had taken to sitting on the dining room table and staring at the wall for days at a time. I knew why, but John, who had never had a pet before I brought my cats into his life, hadn't a clue. I tried to distract her with catnip infused toy mice but shortly after the herb induced buzz wore off, she'd be back to staring at her favorite wall.

The next night, John woke me up to tell me that Molly had a mouse. "So?" I said pulling the blankets over my face. "No, Deb. A REAL mouse."
I jumped up out of bed and started to have flashbacks of a childhood spent wrestling varmin out of my cats' clenched teeth. The poor little mole or baby chipmunk that they'd catch a bring home bleeding a squealing in pain that I'd end up burying or trying to nurse back to health. My mom had even fashioned a little shoebox kennel with holes and a little cut-out window with a screen so that I could do my veterinary duties.

Almost always, the tiny animals would just lie in there shaking until they died. One time a baby squirrel recovered pretty well, but when I finally set it free outside it was still in shock. It didn't run away when I set it in the woods, it just sort of sat there and looked at me. It started hop away cautiously, and then I just said a little prayer hoping for the best. I went back inside and put my eyedropper of milk and shoebox away just wishing it wouldn't have to come that again.

I grabbed my glasses and ran into the dining where Molly sat growling with a mouse head sticking out of one side of her mouth and a limp tail out of the other. Lucy (the other cat) sat next to her waiting for her share, I shooed her away. No animals were gonna to die a gruesome death on my watch.

I crouched down next to Molly and cooed her telling her what a good girl she was that she caught the mouse, but she wasn't buying it. Mouse in mouth, she trotted off down the hall and into the cream-colored carpeted family room. Now I had to save a mouse without staining the floor with blood and guts. Without thinking I grabbed Molly and a pryed open her jaw. The mouse dropped and layed still. It was too late. Molly growled and squirmed wanting at it, and then all of the sudden the mouse perked up and took off crawling along the wall and disapeared. John yelled that I should have let Molly kill it and should have known better that the mouse was only playing dead. I told him only possums play dead and did he really want to watch Molly commit murder and ruin the carpet at the same time?

The next night was a deja vu. John woke me up and there was Molly with the mouse again and Lucy sitting next to her like a guilty accomplice. Didn't the mouse learn it's lesson the first time? Whatever, I knew exactly what to do. "Get me a big cup!"

"What? What big cup?"

"You know, one of those big plastic cups, like the one you got at the Indian's game- Hurry!!"

"I don't know what good that's gonna do, just let her kill it! It's a goddamned mouse, Debbie."

"I don't care! Now get me that cup!"

"Jesus Christ..." John came back with the cup, "Is this one okay?"

"Perfect, okay, now Molly, open up..." I straddled the cat and placed the cup over her face and worked my fingers into the back of jaw forcing it open. She growled and made noises like demons were taking over her body, she wiggled around and I clenched her tighter between my knees, "Now, hold still, will ya?" Even though her mouth was almost open all the way the mouse was still stuck, so I tried to get it out and then when I got it I felt this incredibly painful pinch on the inside of my pinky finger. "Motherfucker! I'm trying to save you, you little shit!" I only say the big "F" when I'm in pain. It's just a knee jerk reaction.

I put the mouse in the cup and brought it outside. The following day I went to the doctor to get a tetnus shot. "Wait a minute, yo got bit by what? Are you telling me that you were saving a mouse? Do you know what a problem those things are? Serves you right getting bit. I hope you learned your lesson."

I can't help it. I just can't stand seeing an animal suffer. What a horrible way to die, being eaten by a cat.

We still get mice every Fall, and this year I finally found a humane trap that really works- and yes I've tried others. Even though John wants to use poison, (which I will not allow, because if the cat catches the poisoned mouse, it could get poisoned, too) he lets me catch them alive and he drives them out to the Metro Parks to set them free. He's afraid that if we just take it out to the back yard it will find it's way back in. So far, the new mouse catching system has been working out just fine, and all is right with world again...


At 22 November, 2005, Blogger micycle tricycle said...

Awwww! That's cool. I agree, meeses shouldn't die like that - they should be free! If they were shiny crunchy bugs however, I'd react differently. 'Cause bugs are not cute.

This reminds me of my two mouse-realted stories I'll have to write about sometime, one of which involves my pet mouse who was preggers, about to pop, and running loose in my parent's house for about a week. That was a real blast, let me tell you.

At 24 November, 2005, Blogger Jenny said...

yes! humane traps

i recently saved 2 bees from being stepped on by high school children. one was missing a leg and walked unevenly in circles and the other had a broken leg (?).


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