Fall in New England is when the thoughts of critters of the woods, normally happy with their woodland abode, turn toward winter. Winter means cold, snow and ice. “Why should we suffer when there is a lovely little warm house right there in the middle of our yard?” they say.
Squirrels crawl around roof lines looking for openings, the local raccoon looks to see if that chimney really is closed off, and mice galore find small nooks and crannies in which to sneak in to snuggle down for the winter. We have our home, which yes is built right in the middle of their woods, sealed up well from the bigger intruders. The only problem is every Fall the mice still find a way in when the temperature goes down.
This is why we have always had a cat. The cat serves not so much to kill the mice, as the convince the mice it’s not nearly so bad outside as they thought.
A cat usually need only catch a few mice, before the word somehow gets out and we don’t see anymore mice for the rest of winter. But you need a cat that knows just how to treat a mouse. Our current cat Moxie is sadly a failure. We have had cats that are the quick kill type, such as my cat Toni. She knew how to dispatch a mouse with one swipe of the hand, and then proudly put it in my shoe to find in the morning. I learned to always check my shoes before putting them on, and also to appreciate a cat that kept the home mouse free. Othello, the next up, tended to play with the mice a bit. Still, he was also proud to display his kills, though they seem to have expired from exhaustion.
Moxie however finds the mice the best toys ever. She has mastered the art of keeping a mouse alive to play with night after night. She doesn’t want to hurt them, they are just so much fun to bat around and make squeak. She carries them gently, but firmly, in her mouth and eventually loses them. That’s alright, she always finds them again to play with later.
This week Moxie decided to bring one of her play pals into the bedroom closet. I awoke to her batting her buddy around, and turned on the light. While Moxie looked up at me, what appeared to me to be a giant black rat with huge fangs, laser eyes, and rabies, ran away from her and under my dresser. Moxie didn’t notice. She was too busy looking in the closet for the mouse she lost. I tried to show her it was now under my dresser, but to Moxie, the mouse is always where she last saw it.
I had to move into the spare bedroom to get any sleep. In the morning I looked and the mouse was still under the dresser. I could have whacked at it with a broom, but then it would have just morphed into a giant rat and killed me with the laser eyes. You may wonder why I tolerate such a poor mouser. Moxie was a stray we brought into the home, and she decided not to show gratitude and love to the person that saved her, but to firmly attach herself to my husband. My husband isn’t a big fan of cats, but Moxie is nothing but determined. Like most middle aged men, he fell for her flattery and charms. She is the only one in the family allowed to pick her up and hold her for any appreciable amount of time. She even does “happy paws” in the air when he holds her like a baby, saying to me, “Does she let YOU do this?” She is a gold digger little tramp. I have to put up with her bad mousing behavior as she has my cat hating husband wrapped around her little paws.
I had to take mouse matters into my own hands. I went to Target and stood there in the mouse killing section, looking at the high prices of buying mouse traps that kill and then seal up the body. The expensive model I bought has a sign that shows when there is a body inside, you’ll never see even a hint of a tail. At $5 a mouse, well worth it. My husband, as always happens during a crisis like invasions by rabid rats with laser eyes, was on a business trip. He called just as I was piling up the cart with “Kills them clean!” traps.
Our conversation went a bit like this:
“Your stupid girlfriend can’t do her job, and I don’t care if you are my husband and love her, she’s getting kicked out if she can’t stop being so dumb!”
First I should point out I mean kicked out of the bedroom, if she is going to not catch mice she can not catch mice in the entire rest of the house. She does not need to not catch mice in the bedroom when I am trying to sleep.
Second I should point out I live in a very small town. When you are in distress, say from rat invasions, your voice tends to be a little louder than usual. You are never far from many people you know when you live in a small town. This is why I need to move to a big city where people yelling in the mouse killing section of Target about girlfriends to their husbands is downright boring. As it was, more than a few people looked at me. It’s always people you sort of know, like your plumber’s wife, that over hear things like this.
My neighbors are all used to me by now, or at least always know I’m not violent usually and fairly harmless. They probably saw my light go on and heard me screaming “Dammit, cat, under the dresser!!! Get your ass under the dresser!” and the cat’s resulting meows as I tried to stuff her under it. She’s a small cat. She could fit, she just didn’t want to.
I do adore my husband’s girlfriend Moxie. I named her that as she was a feral kitten and as my husband said “We got her just a few days too late for all the wildness to be gone!” She considers me the “breakfast lady” and tolerates me about as much as the neighbors tolerate me. But, someone has to catch those mice, and this year I am going to have to do it.
- Moxie Boxie (twodifferentgirls.com)
- The Cat Question (puzzlesandmusings.wordpress.com)
- Husband has the Heebie-Jeebies (4princes.wordpress.com)