Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Great Mouse Massacre.

My cat used to be a great mouser. She is now a feline elder, beset with chronic health issues and confined to the second floor as it would be dangerous for her to navigate the stairs - she is blind in one eye.

Thus, I knew I would have to deal with the minuscule missile of grey fur that streaked across the kitchen floor last week.

I purchased humane traps. The concept behind these cantilevered plastic boxes is simple: a yummy appetizer is left in the furthest corner, the mouse enters, shifts the center of balance, and the device clicks shut.

The next morning, two of the traps were closed and ominously, the other two were empty ... of bait.

The plan was to release the caught mouse (mice?) a few blocks from my house - in other words, to relocate them.

I gingerly opened one trap. Nothing. The other? Zip.

Fine. This was a declaration of war.

The mouse had been lulled into a state of complacency and triumphalism by the ease with which it had outsmarted the humane traps.

At my local Home Hardware store, I asked the young clerk about vermin poison. "If it dies in its hidey-hole, won't its carcass stink up the kitchen for awhile?"

His eyes shifted nervously as he said: "I think the poison makes the mice really thirsty so they leave your house to look for water."

He shrugged. I snorted.

"Let me see one of those New Improved Mousetraps™©", I said.

I looked at the plastic object, slightly narrower than the metal coilspring clamps that shipping clerks have at the top of their boards.

SNAP! It was now firmly clutching my finger. "Well, said I, it caught me, it'll surely catch a mere mouse."

So last evening I delicately prepared 4 itsy bitsy teensy weensy amuse-gueule, little pieces of bread with a smear of peanut butter, for the better mouse traps.

This morning: one dead field mouse.

Before you start yelling at me, may I say in my defense that the mice previously hunted down and caught by my cat were likely tormented before she applied le coup de grâce and then dropped them under my desk chair.

My new tenant died quickly - and efficiently.


fern hill said...

You know you have my sympathies, dBO.

I tried one of those humane traps thingies years ago. Made of metal it was. When mousie tripped it, it cut mousie in half. Not so humane.

My latest tactic is blocking up potential entry points. Bought steel wool and have stuffed it in or around all cracks/baseboards/pipes.

So far -- knock wood -- so good.

Anonymous said...

I usually run traps, poison and my favorite the sticky peanut butter scented paper. The mice only squeal for about 24 hours & relocation to the garbage bag is much easier. Caught three on one paper once.

fern hill said...

Um, I didn't actually read it. Just the first coupla paras to see what it was about. I'm just the linkster here. Honest.

deBeauxOs said...

Well, it's quite grisly. I wouldn't go on a similarly gleeful rampage to exterminate mice, but à chacune et à chacun son goût.

Warning to domestic animal lovers: the link above takes you to an article describing the violent extermination of cats.

fern hill said...

Hokay, I took the clickable link out so people won't hit by mistake. Cutting and pasting is still possible for the interested.

fern hill said...

On further thought and advice, decided to take it right out.

Niles said...

I had similar problems, although mine were tapdancing on the kitchen counters by coming up through the stove. I could hear the little beggars from the other room (I'm weird, I can hear mice cavorting and such. Ok, the locals think it's weird). I leapt into the kitchen, hitting the lights and catching them in the act. Yes, plural.

I went after them....and they bloody tarzaned up the kitchen window curtains and swung and leapt from curtain to curtain as I chased them. A morbid part of me admired their athleticism even as the urge to kill surged; possibly envy fueled. They got away.

My efforts (to make a long story short) at normal traps did not work. A friend gave me a live trap from Lee Valley Tools. Worked a treat, I always knew when it went off.

I took the first victim out to the alley, walked it down the darkened lane with the full moon high. Far enough away, I reasoned, it would be a mighty journey back. I swear, I opened the trap, shook the little bugger out so it hit the gravel and Out Of Nowhere, a big cat POUNCED in one leap out of the shadows beside me, grabbed the vermin in midbounce and pelted off with it in the moonlight.

I was left standing with trap in hand, boggling. Good as I was at hearing them inside, I'd had no clue the cat was there. So, even live traps are not guarantee of mercy.

Dr.Dawg said...

I should never have posted that comment, and I apologize for it, although in my own (partial) defence I did ask a moderator to take it down at 8:44pm.

Perhaps this might have been a better choice-- ruminations by a great 20th century poet about the moral ambiguity of mouse-trapping. I can no longer find a link to W.H. Auden's "Talking to Mice," but this is how it ends:

All fourteen of you perished....
[We] enter the kitchen to find there
one more broken cadaver, its black eyes beadily staring
...We had felt no talent to murder,
it was against our pluck. Why, why then? For raisons d'État. As
householders we had behaved exactly as every State does,
when there is something it wants, and a minor one gets in the way.

deBeauxOs said...

Just in case readers perusing the comments are thinking WTF?, there was a comment linking to a text about printing apprentices in 18th century France, massacring cats. It's gone now.

Berlynn said...

My friend's brother figured out a sure way to catch mice. He GLUES a cheerio to the traditional snap trap and catches them every time. And he doesn't have to fiddle with new bait each time.

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