07 February 2006

Of Mice and Pets

I live in what for Americans, is an old house. Time, sloppy building and the semi-annual fusillade of ordnance explain why we enjoy the occasional rodent visitation.

And when I say “we”, I mean the cats. I certainly don’t enjoy awakening to find an eviscerated rodent placed lovingly on my pillow. Gretchen has not said so much in words, but the violent thumping that I received after switching pillows with her when she went to the bathroom, inclines me to believe that she concurs.

My sister and her family, on the other hand, enjoy a modern, well built home that would be rodent free had not the builders left large rodent sized gaps where the plumbing enters the house.

Once inside the house, the rodents make a bee-line to the most rodent friendly place in the house; my nephew’s bedroom.

According to Sis, since he is male, he doesn’t so much use his bedroom like a “normal” (she means “female”) person would, but sort of “nests” therein. She further posits that it would be safer on the psyche to periodically set fire to it; letting nature renew the ecosystem, than to clean it and run the risk of discovering what it is, in fact, made of.

However, she is a woman of principles, and armed with a shock collar and megaphone, goads the lad into a weekly half-hearted rear-guard action in the defense of sanitation.

It was in the midst one of these marathon slash and burn sessions that his voice summoned her to his bedroom.

MOM!” He yelled. “There’s a MOUSE in my room!”

Indeed there was. He was sitting in the middle of a half eaten bag of sunflower seeds from ancient days of yore; calmly observing the lad’s attempt at “cleaning”.

Sis, being a no-nonsense type of person, told him to whack it and pitch the body outside. The lad interprets this as “I should bring in one of the large dogs and let him chase it in a confined room filled with breakable objects.

In the boy’s defense, that would have been my decision too. Unfortunately, the dog, named “Tiny”, weighing in at well north of 50 kg, saw the mouse, squealed, jumped onto the bed and backed as far as he could into the corner. Now, in the dog’s defense, after a trip to the vet’s, there was no tissue of hormonic functionality left in the scrotal region and it had stayed up late with the boy, watching “Aliens”.

Disgusted, the lad got their other dog, Satchel, which masses in at a mere 60kg, and has been know to eat motorcycles. This dog, seeing the mouse, goes into a perfect point; tail extended, right foreleg lifted and bent at the knee, muzzle pointed at the prey.

“There it is!” He seemed to be saying. “When it bursts into flight, blast it with your shotgun and I shall recover its lifeless body from the swamp.”

The other whimpering mastiff came to the conclusion that it could back up another few centimeters, if only its bladder wasn’t so full.

So, back up it did.

The mouse kept eating, enjoying the floor show.

So then it was the cat’s turn. The cat pounced on the mouse, bit it, then spat it out. It turns out that on the feline culinary scales, a mouse rates somewhat below Brussel sprouts in a liver hollandaise sauce. He joined the whimpering Tiny on the bed and proceeded to cleanse his palate with a vigorous rump licking.

Finally, Sis interceded and brought in the one thing that all animals fear; the vacuum cleaner. With the explosive scattering of the household pets, it was an easy task to capture the indignant, cat saliva-slathered mouse.

Thus trapped humanely, the mouse was borne to the open window of a much disliked neighbor and there released, to safely frolic and flourish, and most importantly; bear and raise its many, many young.

And that's the way I likes it.