Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cat Watch - Day 27

How much could there possibly be about a cat, right. But add another cat and a mouse and you have yourself a blog post.

The other cat:

I thought the bristley cat belonged to one of our neighbors because it had a collar. It actually didn't have a collar though; it just had a line under its mane that made it look like it did. This, according to my rules, means that if we feed it and it spends all its time at our house, we get to name it.

I present to you Thurston Bristlesworth, III:

Going on the premise that Thurston was previously homeless, I figured he needed a fancy name. Homelessness can lead to low self esteem, you know. If he's not homeless, we don't get to name him anyway so it doesn't matter.

The mouse:

When we made Francesca an indoor-outdoor cat by propping open the door to the screen porch, creating a direct path from the back yard into our kitchen nook via the car door, I was concerned that we would be invaded by chipmunks. There's nothing keeping any animal out of our house if it can figure out how to walk through a cat door. My money was on a raccoon, chipmunk or possibly a possum. Turns out it was a mouse.

Monday, Ann (one of the babies' NICU nurses and now friend of the family) was helping Nana for a day fill in for nanny while Brooke is out after having a baby. We we were making breakfast and Ann yelled "I just saw a mouse." I went into cross examination mode and tried to pin her down on exactly what she saw. I couldn't believe it was a mouse. I think I had Ann on the ropes and could have got her to admit that she wasn't sure she saw a mouse, but that wouldn't have been very productive. She settled on being 85% sure she saw a small mouse that was moving very quickly. Ann was a little freaked out and asked if we normally had mice - I think just to make sure that she wasn't about to spend 11 hours fending off mice. I assured her this was a one time deal.

I didn't know what to do. Ann told me where she saw it run, but I didn't know if I was supposed to shoot it or go at the cabinet and the mouse with a hammer. Heather had already left for work and I was pretty sure if I discharged a firearm or destroyed part of the house, Heather would have a hard time getting past those details to be satisfied that I neutralized the mouse threat.

I decided to pull out the yellow pages and put the responsibility and risk of failure and damage on someone else. The first place I called was one I had seen in the neighborhood setting up some sort of maze on our neighbor's yard to catch an armadillo. I said, "I think I have a mouse in my house." I suspect they heard a cash register sound on the other end of the line. They said the service call would be $245.00 to inspect and set up traps. Then they would come back and check the traps, charging $40.00 per mouse they removed. Now, I'm all for hiring the best people for the job, but I wasn't entirely confident that we didn't have "mice" as opposed to a "mouse." I didn't know we had one mouse, so how could I be sure we didn't have $400.00 family of ten in the garage, for a total of $645.00.

The second place I called was $350.00 for all the mice they can catch - coming back to check traps every other day for two weeks. Much better, but still pretty steep for a mouse. There are counties in Alabama where you can make a person disappear for about that. I ended up calling the people who do our termite control and got them to inspect and set traps and bait boxes for $70.00. I am in charge of mouse removal.

Our mouse expert couldn't find the mouse, but inspected the evidence. He said it was one small mouse that had been in the house for no more than a day or so. Apparently the cold weather will make them come inside, especially if you have a big hole in your back door to accommodate a cat. I suggested shutting off the cat door, but our mouse guy said we should leave it open so the mouse could get back out after he eats the mouse bait. Apparently the mouse bait makes the mouse thirsty and he has to get a drink afterward, which activates the poison, thus killing the mouse. Pretty nifty. I didn't think to ask about the door being a two way street for more animals to get in while we are waiting for this one to leave, but I suppose he knows what he's doing.

The mouse man also set about five sticky traps and said if we didn't get the mouse in a sticky trap in a few days, we could be assured he was deceased. It's been five days and I haven't caught a mouse in any of the sticky traps. I can only hope that the mouse ate some of the bait and then went outside to take a dirt nap.

Today, I sealed off the cat door, so if the mouse isn't out by now his final resting place will be in the house. I will then earn my $40.00 for mouse removal.

Back to the Cat(s):

The mouse raises the question of just what in the heck these cats are doing. Francesca and Thurston Bristlesworth are all over this place. Cats eat mice. At least they do in cartoons. I think that's why humans have cats around in the first place. Yet, we now have two cats (I think) and I have my first mouse. These cats are clearly not pulling their weight around here.

I have to admit, though, I slept a little better this past week with Francesca at the foot of our bed. Even though she has proven to be an ineffective mouse hunter, I'm sure she would make some effort to chase it (or run from it) and cause a racket to alert me to the imminent threat of attack. That's better than nothing, I suppose.


  1. Gary, Gary, Gary.

    First of all---well---I'm just going to skip over the first of all. A little tiny mouse? If we were neighbors, I would have happily thrown a trap down for you. And you have TRIPLETS for pete's sake. What could be scarier than that? Nevermind.

    Second of all---cats don't "eat" mice. They play with them and bring them home to show off their prize to their masters. (Dead of alive)

    My cat brings us presents all the time that he may gloat and convince us how awesome he is.

    Aaron's parents had a cat that used to "hunt" socks out of the laundry room and bring them into the family room so that the whole family would show their praise for her. She needed psychiatric care, but it serves as a decent example.

    I have had my cat actually bring a live mouse right in the house only to let it go and try to catch it again. In the living room. Just for fun. It's all about the chase. Once the cat wins (meaning the mouse is dead) the cat is no longer interested.

    If the cat does eat it--- it won't stay down long. Sorry to say. This is especially disturbing.

    Lastly, you have done the opposite of what you have intended by naming the cat Thurston. The cat now believes he should be smoking a cigar and wearing a pair of italian leather loafers.

    For crying out loud, if you want the cat to "work", you need to name him accordingly. Chubakka comes to mind or Felix. Rooster might work. He will be confused about the Rooster thing, but at least he won't feel entitled to a chauffeur.

    You can count out Francesca automatically. Cats' that where designer clothes wouldn't dream of putting a rodent in their mouth. Sorry.

  2. Proof reading was obviously not in my itinerary today.

  3. Well . . . at least Thurston and I didn't pay a man $350 to catch a mouse.

  4. Thurston Bristlesworth looks like a Maine Coon -- great cat breed!

  5. Lol...We have had a similar problem at our house lately. We moved into a rental house in the country until we close on our new house, and we had a little mouse friend that decided to move in with us. I called him "Jerry" until I saw him run across the bathroom floor one night and decided he could no longer benefit from my warm house. My husband actually tried to chase him down with his police baton, but Jerry was too fast. We set some traps (ones we bought ourselves, for about $1.50), and by the next day Jerry was a goner. (The husband had to take care of the way I was touching that!)

    I hope your cats step up and fulfill their mouse-hunting duties!

  6. I like Thurston, but maybe you could give him a NICKNAME like Bruiser? That might scare the mice a bit.

    Some cats just don't "get" the mice thing. We had a cat that looked similar to Thurston and he would chase and kill flies all day long, but he had NO idea what to do when a furry little mouse came by.