We never had a rodent problem until we adopted Ouija. Now there’s a mouse in our house, or maybe three; it’s hard to tell because she chases them into closets. There’s one in my office closet for sure – I can hear him scrabbling as I write this – and maybe one in Mrs. M’s sewing room – if it hasn’t died yet – and quite possibly a third in the hall closet. Isn’t this the opposite of what cats are supposed to do?
Ouija is a handsome animal, black as an Erte panther, nimble and very smart. Mrs. M says that’s because so many black cats have been murdered over the years, the color gene is now linked to extraordinary survival skills. Thanks to the Inquisition, the witch trials, and a thousand Halloweens, only the best and brightest have lived to breed. Unlike our other two cats, who are either too fat, too mellow, or too cross-eyed to pose much threat to the local fauna, Ouija is a lean, mean stalking machine. She brought in her first rat before the stitches had healed on her spay job – in pieces, after having killed it outside. Aww, look at the kitten, she’s found a piece of string – wait a minute, that’s not string, it’s a rat tail!
Rats, mice, lizards, small birds – basically it sucks to be smaller than a cat in this neighborhood. Which has never been a problem with me – I mean, come on, it’s what cats do. Like dogs barking and biting, it’s what they were bred for, the money skill that got them hired in the first place. Since the days of the Pharoahs, cats have been kicking rodent ass – it’s the way things are supposed to work. That is, when it works. But something seems to have gone desperately wrong here: instead of biting their little heads off like a good kitty, Ouija has adopted a catch-and-release strategy. Which is cool for fly fishing, but not so cool for eradicating vermin.
So what are you supposed to do when a cat chases a mouse into your closet? Option 1: take everything out of the closet that’s not a mouse, and only the mouse will be left. Easier said then done – have you seen our closets? It’s a small house, and we’ve been here for twelve years, and at least one of us is a collector. And what’s to keep the mouse from fleeing between our feet, and taking up residence in some other closet? Option 2: Make the cat finish the job. Also easier said then done. I suppose I could lock Ouija in the closet and not let her out until the job was done, but I know she’d just sit there mewling and bawling until we let her out. Option 3: Move. Ha! In this market? Option 4: Lose the cat. Believe me, I’m considering it. But we’d still have the mice-in-the-closets problem. Option 5: feed the mice. If you don’t feed them, they gnaw everything in the closet and then die, leaving a stinky little mouse-corpse. But if you do feed them, they still gnaw everything in the closet, and leave little stinky mouse-poops everywhere. Quite the pickle. Option 6: get a snake. Or a terrier. Or some other rodent-killer with a better grip on the fundamentals of mouseacide. This is of course Mrs. M’s preferred solution, with Option 5 as a stalling measure until I come around. In fact, I think she and Ouija may have planned the whole thing out with this in mind – I wouldn’t put it past either of them.
Sorry, but bringing another animal into the house seems like a terrible solution to the problem of having too many animals in the house. Damn. I guess it’s time to clean some closets.