Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mouse Over

After spending a quiet morning upstairs in my studio, I came downstairs to feed the cat.  As I was walking past the living room door, something caught my eye in there.  Something small, sitting in the middle of the floor.  I did a double take.  I then shrieked for the cat, "Tasha, where the hell are you?!!!"

Cats are never anywhere to be found when one wants them, and this was an instance when she was really wanted, for sitting in the middle of the living room floor,bold as brass, was a mouse. 
Eek! Ugh! Yuck! 
I hate loathe and detest rodents. 
They fill me with terror, dread, and repulsion.
Especially if they are in my house.

Being desperate, I flung open the front door, which is near the living room, and left it open, then exited out the back door, thinking that perhaps the mouse would take the hint and leave through the open door for the green fields of freedom and non-shrieking humans.  After some time, I re-entered the house, because I basically had no alternative.  The coast seemed clear.  Only I soon found that  it wasn't!  As I traversed the living room I saw a grey shadow make a mad dash under a small wooden chest in the corner. 
Eek!  Ugh!  Yuck! turned into SCREAM SHRIEK BELLOW!!!!

For the rest of the day and until I went to bed, I had the radio blasting in the kitchen, the studio, and on the computer in the office.  I put on heavy-soled shoes and stomped as loudly as I could any time I walked through the house.  I was hesitant to go out and see if the local pharmacy had mouse traps as I was afraid the cat would go after the cheese or peanut butter in the trap and then I'd have a hurt feline to deal with.
Big quandary. 

After an uneasy night, spent with blankets barricading the space below my bedroom door, I stomped downstairs in the morning with the waste baskets to empty into the garbage bin for pick up. I forgot them  in the basement but fetched them later in the day, leaving them in a stack at the foot of the stairs next to the kitchen to take upstairs with me later on.  I decided a nice hot bath to relax my nerves would be a good idea, so carted the baskets up with me, distributing one to my studio, one to the bedroom, and the last one into the bathroom.  I ran the bath, thinking to myself that I should be safe enough from rodents in there.  While I was waiting for the tub to fill, I noticed that I hadn't completely emptied the garbage basket, having left a chunk of my recently trimmed hair in the bottom of it. 
Wait a minute...that's not my hair, it's MOUSE hair!!!
Yes, there in the bottom of the wastebasket was a small grey mouse.

I grabbed my sweater, threw it over the top of the basket and carted it, at arm's length, out into the back yard, far from the house, and set it down, then ran back to the house to fetch my camera.  When I got back, I gathered my courage, uncovered the basket, and snapped a couple of pictures for the blog.  The tiny creature was absolutely motionless, ready for its close-up.  I didn't want to get too close, though!

Now how and why was that mouse in the basket?!  
That basket could have easily ended up in my studio, beside my bed, or unobserved in the bathroom while I languished in the tub.  And  how fortunate  it was that I happened to notice something in the bottom of the basket before I stripped down for my bath!

What extraordinary measures the universe concocted to demonstrate that I am being looked after!

Unless it was a gift from the cat?!


  1. Such a funny story! I'd be shrieking too. Your kitty is gorgeous, but she failed miserably at her job of keeping mice away. But her screw-up gave you a wonderful story!

  2. Anonymous02 July, 2011

    What an adventure !

    Who knows what's behind. There's a wonderful book called "Firmin, Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife, by Sam Savage", that I read in a single night.

    Please have a wonderful Sunday you all.

  3. I think Tasha has some serious explaining to do !

    She probably tossed the mouse in the air and then batted it right into the basket... and was waiting for you to reward her for her excellent basketball skills...

    So was it alive in there ???

  4. I think that Tasha had been playing Hide and Seek with the Mouse and it was hiding in the waste basket
    while Tasha was counting up to 100.

  5. Oh dear, I think Tasha is giving you a get her some fabulous cat food and a manicure!

  6. my nephew got a humane mouse trap from a dollar store - not sure how well it works, but it's definitely too small for the cat or even squirrels to get in it, and built in such a way that it would not hurt them or the mouse. the little one in your garbage bin would definitely fit in it.

    i gotta say, the little thing looks tiny and fluffy in that big white basket - do you think it was a baby mouse? though compassion disappears entirely when i remember waking up one morning to find a mouse in my toilet bowl, in cambodia. i did not shriek only because i was still half asleep, but i did flush it.

  7. jann,
    The odd thing is, my cat's a real hunter--outdoors. I guess wildlife inside just does not compute for her.

  8. Robert,
    The Great Unsolved Mouse Mystery, or Misadventures of a Missing Cat could be alternative titles for this post, I guess. The Firmin book you mentioned looks intriguing, although I don't know just how sympathetic I could be to a rat protagonist. I'll try to get it from the library. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Owen,
    I don't know if was alive or not, it certainly wasn't moving. After getting its picture, I tipped over the basket and ran. When I returned much later in the day, the mouse was gone, though I don't know if it was by its own legs or if it was dragged off as lunch by some other passing critter.

    I am considering taking punitive action on the cat. See today's maxim over at Ragzedge.

  10. Shirl,
    Well that explains it: Tasha would have fallen into a deep cat nap in the middle of her counting, long before getting to 100!

  11. Saj,
    Oh, now you've really got me worried. What might the cat be planning next--a bunny head next to my pillow when I wake up?

  12. m,
    I think it's humane enough to catch the blighters in a death trap and dispatch them permanently! My neighbour's going to pick up a trap for me (well, it's not a trap for ME per se, but for mice) at Wal-mart tomorrow (I'm stuck in the sticks without a car for 3 weeks). If it actually traps anything, I will have to call another neighbour to come and dispatch it because I would be too traumatised to go near it (speaking from experience).

    I think that's hilarious that you flushed the mouse! I would have been terrified to ever use that loo again.

  13. Aww poor wee thing. I like mice, but fully understand your feelings since I look at snakes and spiders in much the same way.

    Twice over the years, I've come downstairs to discover my cats trying to trap a wee little mousie. Once, one was cowering under the water bowl (recessed lifting spots). The poor, wet, bedraggled creature couldn't find an escape route so it just sat there looking around from cat to cat. I foolishly (in retrospect) picked it up in my hands while my son opened the door and I let it go outside.

    I survived the incident unbitten. I hope the mouse did too.. but I have my doubts.

  14. Hilary,
    A snake in the house does not bear considering! (and a bear in the house would make me go snaky!)

    Although you weren't impressed with your cats' action (or lack thereof) I'm pretty sure they would have been even less so with your own. I'm impressed, though, by your crazy bravery! Yuck! I can't even pick up a trap with a mouse in it to throw it away but have to call in reinforcements. The last time that happened was in 1976 but I am still suffering from the trauma. However, a mouse in the house is slightly less horrific than a bat! (speaking from experience again).

  15. I'm going to check all my wastebins now. Even if I am ten floors up. Not nice and how brave you were.

  16. Mme. DeFarge,
    Good idea to check your wastebins regularly as I think mice are not afraid of heights and would therfore have no trouble scaling those 10 storeys! People claim that mice are more afraid of humans (women) than we are of them, but I have serious doubts about this. Thank you so very much for recognizing my bravery!

  17. Anonymous04 July, 2011

    The book is just great. It is this small rat discovering the world while eating all kinds of books, just before he understands it might as well be just a joy to read them first.
    Please have a good Tuesday - on holiday break until Thursday 14th.

  18. Robert,
    I really have a feeling I read this book a long time ago but I am going to read it again because clearly I need my memory refreshed. It's great to have a book recommended by a friend. Thanks! And I hope you have a great holiday, with much relaxation and happiness.

  19. haha, the cat-related posts continue :-)
    i am sorry that you have to go through such terror, but i know i have just had the best laugh of this summer, i have almost spilt my jasmine tea on the keyboard :-)

    what about making a painting to work on some of these fears and surreal happenings? :-)

  20. Roxana,
    I would be too traumatised to face this rodent phobia by making images on paper. I resisted posting this story because I hated to look at my photos of the mouse! I'm sure I'd feel much better about the critters if they all wore little pinafores and vests and such as illustrated by Beatrix Potter. I think reading those books as a child raised my expectations of the natural world a little too high. I'm glad my tale provided you with a good spluttering laugh!