Friday, March 1, 2013

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Author's Note: Remember that book?  I just bought a copy to put in Morgan's Easter basket this year.  I loved that book.  Also, for the first time in a long time I have THREE blog topics in my head.  But two of them are more Letters to the Editor - esque where as this one is shit that is actually happening to me.  For real.

I believe it has been stated that we live in a century home.  Which is all sorts of wonderful in a Rehab Addict kind of way.  But one of the charms of a century home is that they are not as hermetically sealed as new construction.  Read: the vermin can easily get in.

In the past we have had a mice influx at two points of any given year that we typically have dealt with using traps - the loud snappy kind that ring out the satisfying death toll: when the first frost hits and when the spring rains flood any remaining outdoor populations.

But since we have had HoHo, we have been happily vermin free indoors.  Outdoors, we see the fruits of his labor displayed in attractive sacrificial alters to the gods of food and potential couch time.  This fall, HoHo had so successfully eradicated the mice and chipmunk population he had moved on to birds, including most notably a large pesky male Cardinal.  Impressive. (Actually, just before I left for work this morning, I found him perched on the radiator virtually growling at a Cardinal in the bush outside. He hates those bastards.)

Last winter, HoHo was not allowed in the main living area.  Partially because Scott and I are somewhat allergic (him more than me) and partially because we felt it would be a personal affront to Potter who was not a fan of the feline persuasion despite the fact that he couldn't see him.  So he spent his winter between the basement and the garage. 

With Potter gone, our tender little heart strings have succumbed to his affectionate companionship. 

That, and we have gotten really lazy about catching him after he has sneaked through the door for the hundredth time.  He's like Houdini.

So he spends most evenings entertaining himself with running up and down the stairs as fast as he can twenty times in a row, being carted around like an awkwardly held baby by Zoe, placed up in Morgan's bed where he stays for no more than five minutes before taking the second story leap to the floor, and joining Scott and I on the couch.

If he happens to be awake when I go up to bed, he follows me and we compromise about which quadrant of the bed he can inhabit.  If the girls have left dirty laundry on their floor, he might abandon me for that.  Otherwise, he slumbers on the couch.  And we don't hear a peep until morning when Scott gets up. 

Now, he doesn't bother Scott (that I know of).  He waits until I place one foot outside the bed and comes prancing from his look out at the top of the stairs mewing like he hasn't had a meal in the last 48 hours.  So no matter what time it is, I have to go all the way downstairs to put food in his dish or I won't have a moment of peace.  Then when he's done, he comes to find me mewing like he's had to cross his legs for 48 hours, despite the basement litter box, and I have to let him outside.  I suspect he thinks he is part dog.

Last night...2:30 AM...

I awaken to this ungodly cross between a cry and moan.  A consistent siren of a wail that seems to be getting closer.  Well...this is new.

And then I jump out of bed and sniff the air for smoke because I remember some news story about a cat that saved a family from being burned alive in their own home.  No smoke.  Just wailing.  He sees that I'm up so he turns around and goes back down the stairs, wanting me to follow him.

Timmy better have fallen into the god damn well.

So I get to the bottom of the stairs and he is now hunched over on the rug.  Are you kidding me?  You called me all the way down here to watch you puke up a fur ball?  I switch on the light and lean over him closely, because I don't have my glasses on and am legally blind.


"What is it?" I hear Scott yell from the bedroom.

"He caught a HUGE mouse!"  I mean this was not your ordinary mouse.  It was a cross somewhere between your average mouse and a small rat.  And I am not afraid of mice.  In fact, I once put on a garden glove and picked up a mouse that had fallen into the dog food container and released it into my backyard.  Then I hear a squeak.  "He hasn't killed it yet!"

And then what happened?

He let it go!  It all happened so quickly, much more quickly than I can tell if I want to add anecdotes, that I may have confused his cat equivalent of night vision goggles when I turned on the light and the mouse bolted into the dining room.  He cornered it a few more times but after about a five to ten minute chase, the mouse finally escaped into the fireplace.

So which of the following scenarios is better?

Knowing that there is a live mouse in your home while you are sleeping (which frankly, we have always assumed anyway) or waking up and swinging your bare feet out of bed to step on a furry little body?  Because I can only assume he was bringing ME the mouse to show me how awesome he was.  I mean, he probably would have sat there until it suffocated and then left it either on the floor or potentially brought it all the way into bed.

So everyone went to work this morning.  If HoHo's job isn't done by the time I get home and there isn't a large mouse cadaver on my threshold, the traps are coming back out, people. 

Fierce Creature

1 comment:

  1. They look so very innocent just perched on those poofy blankets like little harmless furballs don't they? And then there's the killer instinct of the hunt that makes you think, maybe I'm glad I'm not a mouse. My husband's grandmother's cat used to get mice and drop them into the bathtub where they couldn't escape from. Sadistic little sucker that cat.