Monday, September 17, 2012

A Mouse Tale

Dickens, our cat who arrived from who knows where last November, has proved to be an outstanding cat!  He's got lots of personality, is very affectionate, and is quite the hunter.  All summer he has been spending his nights outdoors, catching up on his sleep during the day, and returning to the "wild" late in the afternoon.  Very often there's an offering of sorts on our back step in the morning: part of a mouse, or vole, or bird.

When Jim was ready to go out digging potatoes this afternoon, he called me to the back door to have a look at an unfolding drama: There was Dickens, on a little pile of garden hose right by the back door and a few feet away from him on the patio was a live mouse.  I thought it might have been injured, but it was full of spunk!  When Dickens made a feint toward him, the mouse made a feint right back, with an unmistakeable threatening expression.  I couldn't hear through the door, but I imagined a mouse-sized growl.  Dickens retreated.

Jim went out the door and Dickens came in, and the mouse made a dash for safety.  He got as far as the edge of the patio near the garage door when Dickens, whom I had shooed out again, cornered him there.  The mouse found a crack to hide in.  Jim lifted the patio brick and the mouse, eluding Dickens yet again, sprinted through a crack beside the door into the garage.  Jim heard a bit of a "click" and thought, "Good, he got caught in the live trap that Louise keeps inside the door."

Some time later I went out to see how the digging was going (and it was fine) and took some pictures of the many pears ripening on the pear tree.  As Jim and I walked back to the house he told me about the mouse disappearing into the garage, and said, "I think you'll find him in the trap."

So I put down my things and went into the garage, picked up the trap and peered into the "holding tank."  There was no mouse in the trap!  Where could he be?  He was in the little tunnel from which mice are flipped into the trap.  The "flipper" hadn't worked!  I was holding the trap high off the ground when he stuck his head out one end to see what was going on.

You know, mice are actually kind of cute little creatures!

I wondered what to do.  If I put the trap down, he would escape again.  I walked around to the front door, as Jim was there watching the 4 p.m. PBS News Hour.  He came to the door.  "What in the world is going on now?"  I showed him the mouse in the tunnel.  "Well, what are you going to do?"  I said I thought I'd go to the road (165 ft away) and throw him out there.  "No," said Jim, "You should drown him."  I couldn't manage that alone, so I asked him to come to the back door and fill a pail with water.

Well, you can just guess what happened.  When I went to put the trap into the pail of water, the intrepid little creature jumped, missed the pail of water, landed on the patio and made good his getaway!

I think he deserves his freedom.

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