Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cat and Mouse

Cat: furry creature to be found on the wrong side of the door. Mine prefer human company to each others'. Gotta love 'em! Last night, as a special and rare treat, I allowed them to sleep on the bed. They were there for a while, but not for long. Sure sign something's out of the ordinary.

Mouse: smaller furry creature who leaves disgusting droppings in your pantry and other places, such as all over your knives, spoons and forks. In larger numbers, they spoil your food, make your house smelly, chew up things you wanted left whole, and spread disease. We called the exterminator at the very first sign, days ago; he's coming tomorrow.

Our Molly spent all of this morning staring into the narrow space between a tall bookcase and the wall. She never moved; only her ears and tail occasionally twitched. She may as well be a hound at alert. We always know, when she does this, she's watching a mouse.

I just now moved the bookcase out from the wall to expose the wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie. It didn't seem very lively; perhaps it was Molly's toy overnight, accounting for her defection from the bed. I laid a grocery bag, narrow side down, before the mouse and with a yardstick chased it gently into the bag. Now I've transferred it to a plastic aquarium, where it sits.

What to do? It reminds me of Tiki, the mouse I raised this Spring. (Except she was a Deer Mouse, while this is a House Mouse.) If it were a baby mouse, I'd give it anti-biotics for three days (because cat saliva contains the bacterium Pasturella, toxic and fatal to birds and small mammals) and then keep it until it was ready for release. But an adult mouse! That's an escape artist par excellence, with mean teeth besides. The teeth I can deal with, by wearing gloves, but if she escapes from my hand, the exterminator is coming tomorrow.

I suppose her best chance is if I do treat her before releasing her (far away from human houses!) but take the aquarium outside each time. That way, if she escapes, at least it won't be in my house - for the moment, anyway, or for very long.

It happens every time. I don't rehabilitate baby wild mice every year, but when I do that invariably is the year they also infest the house and we are forced to call the exterminators. (And I release them very far away, I promise you. MY mice do not get into the house!) Raise one or two Deer Mice, kill perhaps a dozen House Mice ... perhaps its because they are all more than usually plentiful some years, but it seems so ironic.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

(Find the whole poem here.)



Christopher D. Hall said...

I think it kind and gentle that you rehabilitate animals. Having said that, surely you see the irony in trying to rehabilitate one of the creatures that would have been EXTERMINATED the next day?

I know I am callous, but I would have let the cat have the mouse.

But I am a brute.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Oh, yes, I do see the irony. I said so. (See the last line of my post before the Burns poem).

In the event, poor mousie didn't make it. At least she died peacefully, surrounded by love, and to me that seems better than dying in a cat's jaws.

Poor Molly has a thing or two to learn about being an efficient mouser.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

P.S.) You're no brute, nor are you callous. Gimme a break. It's just a mouse.

Christopher D. Hall said...

Sorry I missed the last line! And despite your kind words, I am callous and brutish in my heart, God have mercy...