A Mouse In The House Is Caused By Cats

By Bill Hall

It galls a person to buy a mousetrap for the outrageous reason that cats are bringing mice into the house.

Cats are supposed to be mousetraps. It goes against the natural order when cats are the cause of mice.

Nonetheless, twice in the last year, I have found evidence of mice in a drawer. That's new. We don't ordinarily have mice in our house. Something had changed and I instinctively knew the cats were involved.

Frankly, I suspected mouse ranching. I knew that the cats sometimes bring a wild snack in through the cat door to have dinner out of the elements. And I don't blame them. I don't eat my chicken or leg of lamb out in the weather. It stands to reason then that they would copy me and come inside to eat a bird or a leg of mouse. They learned that from watching me.

And maybe they learned more than that. It occurred to me that when summer is over and the garden is finished, I don't go outside to find my food. I store it in the house. I freeze some of our veggies. And we keep the store-bought food in the pantry and refrigerator.

The cats aren't tall enough to reach the door on the pantry or the refrigerator. And they really can't manage canning and freezing; their hands don't work right (probably because they walk on them).

But that doesn't mean they can't start a winter mouse herd inside by bringing them in through the cat door and letting them go. If they can get the mice to breed, they can count on a handy snack any time they want one.

Of course, we do provide the cats, winter and summer, with a supply of dry cat food, scientifically formulated and therefore healthful the very oat bran of cat food. But I suppose that gets tiresome, just like anything that's good for you. For instance, there is nothing I enjoy more than oat bran muffins. And they are reputed to be beneficial. But I suppose I would grow weary of oat bran muffins if they were placed in front of me morning, noon and night. If I had nothing but muffins to eat, I would go outside and chase mice.

So it is reasonable, after three years of nothing but dry cat food, that the cats would want to begin a mouse ranch inside.

On the other hand, that is giving cats too much credit for intelligence. Cats like the company of people and we are so flattered by that fact that we tend to regard it is an intelligent decision on their part. It isn't. They do not look at us and say, "I like these people because they are such good friends and so marvelous to be around."

They look at us as say, "Food ... safety ... warm ... not dog."

The truth of the matter is our cats are doing what they have always done instinctively seizing other creatures outside and bringing them inside to devour them. But our cats are getting older and slowing down. They lose one once in a while and the fool mouse crawls into that drawer where I find signs of its having taken up residence.

So for the second time this year, I beat a path to the door of a store that sells mousetraps. But I went to five different stores and they were all out of regulation mousetraps. I guess there is a lot of mouse ranching in this town right now.

I found mousetraps, but not the classic model. I wanted the classic little wooden mousetrap because, while it's tricky and dangerous to set, it sells for a pittance. That means it is disposable, and therefore a relatively sanitary way to deal with mice. You can dump the body and the trap in one disgusted maneuver and not have to worry about where and how to store a device that has held the final remains of a mouse, sometimes for a long period of ripening.

I saw one high-tech mousetrap that can be cocked and emptied with no risk to fingers. It is a marvel of engineering. It is a better mousetrap.

Which means it costs more almost two bucks. So it is not disposable. Thus the old model is better for my needs.

Yes, I realize disposable mousetraps are environmentally unsound. So I am trying to become a better citizen. I will still buy the disposable mousetraps for the time being. But I am teaching the cats how to make muffins.


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