I love country living. The ample space between homes, the breeze blowing (or roaring during a storm) through the trees, nothing but the sound of birds twittering on an early Sunday morning, crickets chirping on a warm summer evening, the stars twinkling brilliantly in the darkness in a cloudless sky, or the full moon glowing luminously on a clear night. The lack of city sounds, such as constant traffic and sirens, concrete, glass and metal buildings, or the bright, artificial lights are things I simply do not miss. The trees and mountains sing to my soul, and it’s there that I feel content and relaxed.
There are a few downfalls to living in the country, even though I highly suspect my city dwelling counterparts experience the same nuisances that we do, especially in this instance. When you find evidence of these pests, it’s irritating, upsetting, and sets you a little bit on edge, because now you are always on the lookout for them. The last thing you want in your house, especially in your food pantry, is a critter.
It was almost 11 p.m., and time to get ready for bed. I shut down my computer, turned off the T.V., and was getting out of the recliner when I noticed Fat Cat (one of our fur babies) lying down facing the stack of wood next to the fireplace. “Well, that’s a weird direction for him to be lying down,” I thought to myself. Then Kiwi, our tabby, came over, and tried to stick her face in between the chunks of wood. I wrote it off as some kind of strange smell on one of the pieces of wood, but when she reached in one of the gaps and started clawing, I instantly knew what it was. “Dang it!” I said aloud. “Want some help, Kiwi?” I started to slowly pull pieces of wood out of the log rack, and it didn’t take long. Kiwi was all over that mouse.
It was quick, but Kiwi was just as quick. Unfortunately, even though the mouse was a decent size, it was a lot smaller than she was, so it was able to squeeze under furniture that she was unable to. Fat Cat rejoined her, and soon Oreo was on the scene. By that time, the mouse had made it under the china hutch, so I moved some objects out of the way to make it easier for the cats to get access to the mouse. I headed off to bed, figuring that I was going to let them deal with it, because previous experience had taught me that I would just be in the way.
Years ago, when my daughter, Carly, still lived at home, we had another mouse incident. This scenario was so much more chaotic, with lots of screaming, furniture being shoved out of the way, brooms flying, cats meowing and darting around. Oreo was much younger then, a great mouser, and was very involved with this episode. (She still is, but has slowed down a bit. Oreo is very proud of what she catches; often showing us her prize if we are outside, meowing loudly to alert us even though she has a very full mouth. She also eats what she kills, whatever it may be.)
This time the mouse came running out of a closet. At first I did not know what was going on when the cats were acting strangely, running and hopping around, knocking over small items. When I finally saw what the cats were chasing, I jumped up and grabbed a broom. I yelled for Carly, who was downstairs, to come upstairs with the other broom. Picture two women swinging brooms around, two cats scrambling (timid Fat Cat was on the opposite side of the room, watching, ready to run away if the action got too close), furniture being shoved out of the way, and lots of screaming.
The mouse finally ran behind a stack of four old wooden boxes I use to showcase some of my treasures. While I carefully moved the stack of boxes to close off the one side of the escape route, I told Carly to trap the mouse with the bristles of the broom, which she was able to do, until Oreo jumped in and snatched the mouse. Oreo, mouse in mouth, made a beeline for the stairway going downstairs, with Carly following in hot pursuit, screaming “No, Oreo, no!” She didn’t want that mouse anywhere downstairs, because that’s where her bedroom was, and if Oreo dropped it, it might find its way into her room.
As Carly’s luck would have it, Oreo did drop the mouse, and it scurried under the couch. No one else (but I) noticed it running out from the other end of the couch, and into the adjoining room, which happened to be the bathroom. It slid under the door leading into a closet that was under the stairwell, which I had absolutely crammed full with rolls of wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, and a lot of other things I haven’t seen in a long time. Perhaps, because mouse was in such a hurry, it didn’t notice the litter box right alongside the closet door, nor the cat’s food dish. Blindly running for its life, the mouse had unwittingly scampered right into the cat’s lair.
I don’t know how Oreo figured out where that mouse disappeared to, but I found her camped out on the bathroom rug, intently watching the gap at the bottom of the door. She really didn’t have to leave; she had everything she needed right there, food, water, and a litter box. I knew it was just a matter of time; the mouse’s hours of existence on earth were numbered.
Flash forward: that’s why I felt confident about going to bed. (Just in case, I did close the bedroom door. The last thing I wanted was to stay up most of the night while the cats were chasing a mouse under my bed.) With at least two cats in the house who were hunters, I knew this mouse was on borrowed time.
In the morning, I came out into the kitchen, and hearing Fat Cat playing with something, I went to check it out. I wasn’t too surprised at what I found, and was just as I suspected, which was one big, dead mouse. I must say, even though I hate changing the litter box once a week and constantly having to vacuum furniture and fur dust balls, our four-legged babies are worth their weight in kitty food. They are our furry mouse killers.