A Mouse In The House


When we read about Colorado before moving here, one of the things that impressed us was the regular mention of a lack of insects.  After living in Florida with palmetto bugs, mosquitoes, and fire ants, or Dallas with the no-see-ems and sugar ants, Colorado seemed like a dream come true.

Unfortunately, we must not have read the small print about other creatures we’d be living with–coyotes, Canada geese or, you guessed it–mice.

Okay, so I’ve read all the cute mouse stories — Beverly Cleary’s “Mouse and the Motorcycle,” “Angelina Ballerina” by Katherine Holabird, or “Pet of the Met” by Lydia and Don Freeman.  Cute, cute, cute.  I should love mice.  Sweet little, do no harm critters that like peanut butter and cheese.  What could be wrong with that?

I’ve discovered since moving to Littleton that I am not fond of field mice.  Correction.  I am SCARED TO DEATH of the rascally little rodents.  There is no logic for this.  I fully understand how much bigger I am then them, that they don’t bite (for the most part) and while they carry disease and germs, a good swipe with disinfectant will take care of the problem.

Still, it is with all honesty (and a little shame) that I admit when I see a mouse indoors, my body and spirit split in two. While my logical side is in full observance mode–calm, rational and learning–it has to witness the primeval side of me jump onto table tops, into boxes, squirm and cringe, and, of course, let off a scream that makes banshee cover their ears. Two thoughts, two Liesa’s, one situation that gives my special guy no end of teasing fun. Somehow, I am not amused.

Imagine my surprise when on Sunday evening I walked into our dining room to find a mouse just sitting there.  It lay very still, a round tummy looking like it had been well fed (time to clean my pantry again). Brown fur fluffed out in every direction; indeed, it looked to be sleeping.

With all the courage in the world, I managed to yell for my guy (note, I did NOT scream) to come check out this mouse.  Throughout the yelling (my guy had the audacity to say “what?” instead of coming to my aid immediately), my logical side noted that the mouse did not move.  Still, when asked to produce a bucket, I ran for the kitchen and the tool.

Cat on chair, sleeping.

She may look like she’s sleeping, but Nalla is in hunting mode here.

Enter Nalla.

My cat is like any other, except we were told when we adopted her that it would be cruel to de-claw her.  For years we’ve put up with scratches and cranky cat behaviors. We’ve counted the months before she might go to that great scratching post in the sky.  Nalla’s biggest job around the house has been to find the next most comfy spot for her latest beauty rest.  She preens this way for about twenty-three and a half out of her twenty-four hour day.

I handed my guy the container, which he promptly slammed over the mouse. With great fortitude I did not mention that the handle of the bucket lifted the rim enough for a mouse to get under easily, but I felt the electric pulses race through my legs.  I was prepared on the primal side, for any unfortunate escapes by that now huge (in my mind’s eye at least three-foot long) creature.

Bucket went over the rat.  I stayed a good seven feet away and edged even further as my husband lifted the bucket again.  My logical side said the mouse was dead. Sigh of relief.  I ran for the dustpan and broom and a double-layered plastic bag ensemble, but resisted with all my bravery, the idea of handing him the equipment with rubber gloves on.

Thank goodness, Sweet Man was in a generous and not “fun-loving” mood.  There were innumerable opportunities for him to take advantage. Even now, the chills run down my spine.  He just scooped up the dead critter and dumped it into the bag.

Close up of cat face

Nalla on mouse alert.

This is gruesome, but I noticed there was a lot of blood on the dustpan, so the mouse didn’t die of old age in my house.  I also noticed Nalla creeping away.

Nalla!  My heroine!  Nalla killed her first mouse.

She is twelve and a half years old.  She moves with the speed of a snail most the time.  When we play with the cat wand, I have to put the toy critter right near her paws or she makes no effort to chase the thing.  She lies on her tummy to capture the toy prey. Not what I would call a good “watch-cat,” and certainly not a “mouser.”  But the other day, Nalla hunted down her first mouse.

She looked frightened as I excitedly ran to her and gave her a hug.  Today, she’s laying on the dog mat in my office back to normal.

And hubby and me?  We called pest control right away.  We thought about using the poisons from the store, but our vet has given us horror stories of pets made sick and even dying from eating vermin that have eaten mouse poisons.  Now I have shiny traps and other pest control stuff to catch the critters.  We found the hole in the garage where they come in, and stuffed it with steel wool to deter entry.

I like mice – Ralph, Angelina and Maestro Patrini.  I just like them in books and outside.

But, I LOVE Nalla.

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