Friday, February 18, 2011

Of Mice and Men and Other Loose Ends

We live in a transient neighborhood.  A lot of the houses are rented, which makes for high turnover.  The houses are small and great rentals or starter homes.  The house next to ours is one of those.  It has changed hands at least 4 times in the 12 years that we have been here.  The last owners did not take care of it at all and finally lost it to foreclosure.

So, it sat empty for a while and the weeds grew and the trash built up in the yard until it was purchased by an agent who wanted to flip it.  That meant that they came in and quickly cleaned out the weeds and took away the trash and turned the sad house into a happy house that sold quickly.

And that meant that all the mice that had been living there came here to look for a new home!  And they all came into the laundry room.  This posed a problem because that is where the dog was, so we couldn't set traps or put out poison and the cats would not go there.  We were able to catch them one by one in the cat food bags, but it wasn't enough and they started to take over the house through the walls.  It was horrible!  You could hear them in the ducts and in the vents.  I really didn't know what to do.  But, as you know, our dog passed away last week, so we could now take care of the problem.

I know that they are mice, and I know that I do not want them in my house, but I also know that if we use poison, then an infected mouse could get eaten by a cat and infect the cat, and anyway, I don't really like to think of the mice suffering.  That is why I didn't really want to use the snap traps, either.  So, I went to the hardware store and I got some of the humane traps.  These did not work at all.  I toyed with the idea of putting the cats in the vents, but common sense vetoed that idea.

But FINALLY!  The cats caught on and we started to see this everywhere!

At last I can justify all that money in cat food!  The cats are earning their keep!  And as much as I don't want to trap the mice and kill them, I figure that if the cats catch them, then it is nature and they have their fair chance.   Besides the fact that I have repeatedly told the mice to go elsewhere and even asked politely.  They had their chance.

The only problem is that we find them everywhere.  Apparently the cats think that it is a nice gift to leave us dead mice where we will most likely step on them in the dark.

But, after a few days of mice bodies EVERYWHERE, I think that they are gone, and I think that the cats are disappointed.   It was really funny, by the way, to see the 2 outdoor cats walk up each one carrying a mouse in its mouth.  I think the younger, more agile cat caught an extra one a just let the older cat carry it around for a while.  I can't imagine that my 15 year old cat can still catch a mouse!

As for old business, those of you who were wondering whatever happened to Elizabeth and her desire to become a vegetarian, well, here's how it went: 

At our last family meeting, we decided together that being a vegetarian is not really what she wants to do right now, nor what will really fit in with the rest of the family.  So, we decided that we would eat less red meat, which we hardly ever eat anyway, and as our budget allows, we will work toward eating more organic and free range chickens and turkeys so that we know that even though we are eating them, they had a good life while they were here.  This seemed to be a good compromise that made everyone happy.

Of course, we could just eat all these mice...they are free range, after all!


  1. Sure Mom. You always said you wanted a farm. You could have a mouse farm. If that's the case i think I'll stick with being a vegetarian.

  2. Yeah but mice don't lay eggs.

    BTW...don't give Gabriel any more of the Cheerios off the shelf above the trash can. They've been snacked upon.