Monday, March 26, 2007

Three blind mice

In the last sixteen months that we've lived in this townhouse, we've had a total of three mice invade our kitchen.

The first mouse came in the middle of last March, discovered at 3 am by Chris, and took almost a week to trap and kill.

The second mouse came at the end of last October, discovered by me (I shrieked and shrieked--I do not do mice in my house). Chris hunted it with a tennis racket and a disposable tupperware, and subsequently, it was quietly executed. We found out that the previous owner had left a 2" gap between the floor and the wallboard behind the stove; we filled it in with foaming caulk hardening stuff.

After the second mouse, we decided to get Zoe. And for months and months, everything was fine. Zoe was occasionally fascinated by the broiler on our stove (where mouse #2 had come from), but no rodents dared tread our hallowed kitchen tile.

But this evening, at around 2:45 am, I was trying to fall asleep and was unable to do so because somebody was banging around very loudly in the shared backyard of our townhouse block. I sent Chris downstairs to make sure no one was trying to break into the house, and he came back upstairs, reporting that all was normal. Except for one thing: Zoe was intently stalking the fridge. We thought it was odd, since she's never done that, but kittens will be kittens.

Flash-forward an hour, and I still can't sleep. I go downstairs to get a snack, as I'm hungry and ice cream sounds good. Zoe is still in front of the fridge, her entire body tense, as if she's just waiting to pounce. I called upstairs, informing Chris that really, she was acting very strangely. Chris yelled at me to get my food and go to bed (he was asleep, after all). But I am a cautious soul, and so I stood a good distance away from the kitchen, at the foot of the stairs and watched Zoe. Then, I heard a noise, a very little noise, but Zoe's focus shifted immediately to the space between the fridge and the cabinet that houses our dishwasher.

And that was enough for me. I knew there had to be something there.

Back upstairs I went, and convinced Chris that it was his manly duty to go downstairs and help the cat hunt. Chris went downstairs, and after some banging with the trusty tennis racket, lo and behold... he found that there was indeed a mouse. Except that Chris and Zoe didn't have very coordinated battle tactics, and by the time Chris had flushed the mouse out from behind the fridge, Zoe had wandered off to the other room. And the mouse had somehow managed to squeeze behind the cabinet holding the dishwasher.

It is still there.

I am greatly unhappy about this.

Chris is still trying to figure out how to catch it, but Zoe doesn't seem to realize that the mouse has now gone behind the dishwasher. So being a kitten, with the attention span of a kitten, she's gone off to play with her toys. Chris gets her to come over and help, occasionally, but said mouse is still residing behind the dishwasher (presumably).

And as for me? I'm living upstairs from now on--I don't do mice, and I want this one dead.


Jodi Meadows said...

Zoe is a brave and mighty hunter!

We've only had once mouse--that was long before we got Kippy--but she does protect us from terrible things like flies and the occasional spider. (She just warns us about the spiders, thankfully. I stink at knowing whether they're poisonous, so I'm happy she doesn't get the urge to kill them.)

KingM said...

Why not buy some mouse traps? They're quite effective.

Sherri said...

Oh, but they're so cuuuuute!

stickybeak said...

Here in Ithaca, NY, I get four or five mice each winter (cute little chipmunk-like field mice). I catch them in a live trap baited with oatmeal (less messy than peanut butter). Then I drive them the .3 miles or so to the university horse barns and release them. It's an established part of my Winter routine.

katiesandwich said...

One mouse in your house? Wish I could be so lucky. We live in the country, and they flock in during the winter. We set traps, but my daughter stuck her finger in one, so we're going to have to hide them better! I want to catch them soon. They keep getting into all my drawers and I have to rewash laundry and silverware again and again.

Heather Janes said...

Mice I can handle. Rats, ants, spiders, assorted other bugs... I'm standing on the nearest semi-stable piece of furniture.

merlinsmuse said...

I set a trap for a mouse once and in the middle of the night heard this horredous screech and then banging for about five minutes. I knew what had happened and it was confirmed when I looked in the closet the next morning and saw that the trap had caught the mouse on the nose, not the neck which would have killed him instantly. I cried and felt so bad for the pain he suffered for no reason other than I didn't want a mouse in my kitchen. Now, I use live traps and release them outside. Although I must admit when I went looking for a live trap I received a few strange looks from the guys at the hardware store. They had no idea what I was talking about. Strangely enough, I find them everywhere now.


Ryan Field said...

About four years ago I brought large potted hibiscus trees into the house for the winter that had been on the deck all summer. Didn't know mice had nested in the pots until a week later when one cause my poor poodle to jump ten feet in the air. But my cat, who has always been indoors and very placid, discovered this and she went on the hunt for days. She camped in front of the refrigerator and never blinked, only taking time for the litter box and food. I tried to catch the mice and set them free outdoors (I like them), but it was impossible. Ultimately the cat caught all four in a two week period, and she brought each one to me as though it were a gift.

Just be thankful Zoe has good instincts; nature takes it's own course and cats were meant to hunt for mice. With Zoe there I doubt you'll have a mouse problem in the future.

Julie Wright said...

I do NOT do mice either! We moved to the country a few years ago and were fine until we built our extension with the back door at ground level, rather than up several stairs. That was the first winter I ever had mice and I can tell you I screamed like a girl (now, I realize I *am* a girl, but still . . . the shame of it all!)
Good luck!

brian_ohio said...

When I went to college, I lived with a bunch of other guys. One morning my buddy woke up and was going to grab a slice of leftover pizza from the box on the coffee table.

Yep, when he lifted the lid, a mouse was munching away on a pepperoni slice. My roommate tried to close the lid to capture him, but the mouse was too quick. He bolted to the kitchen. And I swear we heard the little guy shouting 'Arriba! Arriba! Andale! Andale!'

Eventually... the six of us out smarted him. Hah!

Tess said...

We went through this a few years ago, except it was the dishwasher, not the fridge and our late cat George was the one stalking it. We used a live trap with peanut butter in it and then my dh let the mouse out as far from our townhouse as possible. It came back, we started again AND the dh plugged the hole the mouse came in *g*.

Have you had the results of Zoe's bloodwork yet?

Demon Hunter said...

I really don't like mice or rats, or any reptilian thingy. Where I live, you can go outside and see a snake in the yard. So, when its warm, I am always cautious. I live in the country. So, on the way to work, I see, snakes, wild cats, VERY large buzzards(supernatural even), stray dogs, and so many other animals I cannot think of right now. LOL. You're lucky its only a mouse. We have wild field mice where I live, but I don't ever see any and they don't make it into the houses because something ALWAYS eats them out in the wild. My uncle got out of his car one day under his carport and almost stepped on a rattlesnake or a cotton-mouth snake; cannot remember which one.

jjdebenedictis said...

My grandfather was a wheat farmer, so mice were a pest to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

He said the best items to bait a mouse trap with were bacon and peanut butter (not cheese).

resurrectedwarrior said...

My cat (who, btw, is named Mouse), is a firm believer in catch-and-release.

We've never had trouble with mice where we live currently, but we do, occasionally, have an anole lizard find its way inside. When this happens, Mouse tends to lie around and ignore them--until the little intruder happens close enough that he can get it. Then, he catches the poor thing, plays with it, and lets it go. Then he catches it again. And again. And again, until finally, the lizard stops moving and it's no longer any fun to play with.

Yep. That's my cat. Mouse the humanitarian.

Southern Writer said...

I'm going to assume this means Miss Zoe passed her blood test and her little kidneys are doing fine, because you would have said, otherwise. That's great news. I'm thrilled for y'all.

Little mice are adorable, but not in my house. Cute as they are, I still climb up on something when one is near (which does no good at all, considering they can climb faster than we can).

Christine said...

Okay, I don't do mice either. We had a few once we re-did the kitchen; apparently there was some gap behind the dishwasher.

Anyway, a few snap traps later - uh, Hubby takes those out, thank you very much - we have no more mice. I hate the sound of the trap snapping, but it works.

Get kitty, name him after Hufflepuff seeker who is killed by Voldemort. Six weeks old, he's too little hunt.

Come out one morning and find mouse with NOSE stuck in the floor between the linoleum and the wall. Still. Alive.

Call hubby, MAKE him come home from work and get rid of beasty. Kitty tried to get into kitchen the whole time, but I wouldn't let him in.

Bleck. But, now that kitty is bigger, no more mousies.

I hates mousies. I hateses them big time.

mcamp said...

we had a problem with mice also and went around the house and packed any open space (where pipes come through the floor or wall etc..) with steel wool, mice can't gnaw through the stuff and our mice problem was gone. PS they can eat through foam, even the hardening kind.

Scott Marlowe said...

We live in the country, so mice, snakes, turtles, armadillos, etc. are a way of life. As far as mice, they like our garage. Unfortunately, I do have to trap and kill them when they decide to take up residence... diseases and all...

Anonymous said...

Mice were always a rare thing with me. Living in apartments we once or twice got one. But then I moved into an older section of town. The first place was about 80 years old and across from a big field. The second was next door to a boarded up house that the occupant still "worked on" (read, dealt drugs on). This one, finally actually ours, is a block from the railroad and across the street from a school that goes to minimum staff, but still occupied all summer. I'm over the "cute" thing.
The first step is to mouse proof your home just in case. Only cans go in the bottom cabinents, pet food goes in rubbermaid containers, trash can are covered or set up some place with a "jump proof" area around it.
Sans cat, or with a mouse friendly cat you have a few options. Glue traps. If you know where the mice are coming out (and it's not behind a large appliance) put the trap right by it so that when the buggers come out they land right on it. Then you can toss the trap.
Snap traps, well they rust and get less effective with time. We were told that mice can smell other dead mice on them and will avoid them unless you bleach them between successful catches. This is probably the easiest method. Use peanut butter, or wet cat/dog food instead of cheese.
The most effective method we foud was an old human catch trap I learned about when I kept hamsters. Take a deep trash can or rubbermaid container. Prop it at an angle and set boxes or such around it so that the mouse can easily jump or climb in. It you have it at about a 45 degree angle or better the mouse can get in, but not out. Throw some oily food at the bottom. We used dog food or pizza crusts with peanut butter on them. Nice and food smelling. Leave trap set out all night. In the morning you have mice.
After 7 years of dealing with mice and losing food to them (and living in a house that was clean but dammit somehow always smelled like mouse pee by morning) we were more than happy to use needle nose pliars to grab them by the tails, then a plunger to drown then in the toilet and flush. A little time intensive, but very, very successful.

Kathie said...

OMG, I've had way too much experience with mice. I forget how disgusting they are until they're underfoot--we back up to woods--and I phone our mouser service to come do us. Something about them is revolting and they're sly little creatures, sometimes outsmarting even the best laid traps.