Definitely not Mickey….

This past week I had some issues with mice.  Yup….I hear the “ick” coming out of your mouth even as I write this and trust me, I’m with you now.  But it wasn’t always that way.  Mice didn’t scare me and in fact, I thought they were kind of cute, at least until recently.

My cat, a house cat who loves to play with her toy mice for hours at a time, was acting unusual.  She would sit in front of me with a sad little meow, give me a look, and then run out of the room.  Normally pretty in tune with her behaviors, it took me four times of her doing this to realize something was off.  Setting my book aside I said, “What’s wrong Annie?  Show me.” Of course she understood and immediately raced for the kitchen. 

Nothing seemed amiss until I noticed one of her toy mice laying upside down on the rug in front of the kitchen sink.  But wait a minute!  This toy mouse had feet!  (For you non-cat people, toy mice don’t come with feet!)  OMG!  It was a real mouse.  Tiny, mostly grey with a white underbelly and feet, this little thing was sprawled on its back, legs to the sky, dead as a door nail. My wonderful Annie had somehow found it and warned me about it. What a wonderful cat!

As I said I’m not afraid of mice, so I grabbed a paper towel and just as I reached for the body, the formerly dead mouse twitched! Okay, that threw me a bit. It now called for an additional paper towel.  Carrying the cute little mouse outside I placed it gently in the tall grass and watched and waited for it to move again.  It took some time and I began to wonder if that twitch had been an end of life involuntary movement. But that mouse had been playing opossum apparently and eventually it crawled away into the yard.  I had saved a life and it felt good.  That was my first mistake…allowing it to live. 

Back in the house I praised Annie to the heavens for her mouse catching skills and we went back to our life forgetting the adage that where there is one mouse there are certainly others.   At 2:00 a.m. Annie woke me as she ran round and round the house slipping and sliding on the hardwood floors.  Cats often do “zoomies” in the middle of the night, but my girl hadn’t done it for a very long time. Still, nothing unusual I figured. Closing my eyes I concentrated on going back to sleep until suddenly I was wide awake and knew without a doubt that she didn’t just have a case of the zoomies.  She was chasing a mouse!

Sure enough, when I turned on the light, there she was crouched in attack mode, low to the ground, tail twitching furiously, her eyes locked on the hallway closet.  With a deep breath I opened the closet door, seeing nothing amiss until the slightest movement of a plastic bag sitting on the floor.  A flash of tail, a brief glimpse of grey was all I saw before the mouse scattered for cover and I started moving other things that were on the floor. With no cover left, Mickey made a mad dash for freedom with Annie hot on the trail. 

This mouse was slightly bigger and infinitely less cute then the first one and before I could figure out how to stop it, it was in the broom closet and I was forced to clear that out too.  With each thing I moved I froze expecting the mouse to come darting out.  In the end only a quick grab for the broom and stabbing it at the mouse ended his dash for freedom.  Doing a bit of acrobatics allowed me to hold the broom on the mouse while grabbing a plastic cup to put on top of him not caring that the cup was crushing his tail.  The translucent cup allowed Annie and me to keep an eye on him and, most likely realizing his goose was cooked, he stopped struggling.  Placing a heavy container on top of the cup to secure his imprisonment, I used the time to clean out the rest of the closet…just in case…while Annie stood sentinel in front of the mouse.

Having ensured there were no other mice, a dustpan slipped under the cup secured the mouse as I carried him to the kitchen door. This time, instead of carefully placing the little terrorist in the grass, I flung him into the night where he summarily bounced off the neighbors’ house as I turned my back and went back into the house and slammed the door.

One mouse might have been an aberration – maybe I brought it in the house somehow.  But two?  Well that’s another story. First thing Monday I called in the experts and it was worth every penny.  It’s been days and I’ve not seen hide nor hair of a mouse.  Annie, who just a few days earlier had been on high alert, perking up at sounds that I couldn’t and didn’t want to hear, is now relaxed and at ease.  I still turn on a light before entering any room and my glance instantly goes to the floor, but I am sleeping better.

However, that’s not the end of the story and even I have to laugh at this one.  As I said there are a lot of toy mice in this house and Annie likes to carry them around and occasionally jump up on the bed and play with one.  As I got into bed the other night I briefly considered moving the one she had been playing with, but thought having it on the bed was a better option than on the floor where I might step on it in the middle of the night and jump to the wrong conclusion about exactly what type of mouse it was.  So it stayed…until about 3:00 a.m.

Somehow in all my turning and twisting that night, that toy mouse found its way under the blankets and next to my skin. My scream could have roused the dead.  Out of bed and across the room in a heartbeat Annie raced to my side as I began to tear the bed sheets apart to find the little bastard and end his miserable life!  That’s when Annie, calmly as could be, simply picked up her toy and walked out of the room wondering what all the fuss had been about and leaving me feeling as foolish as you would expect.

The next day at work, as I updated my friends on the latest mouse episode, I could finally laugh at myself.  And isn’t that what we all need to do?  Life comes with enough drama to let stuff like a couple of mice cause us such anguish.  Hopefully my home is once again my own, but if not, it’s not the end of the world…except for the mice of course!

Have a wonderful day everyone and if you are stressed from mice in the house or just life in general, find a cozy spot and read a good book. If you need a recommendation, you know where to find me.

~BAL

Published by walkbal1372

Barbara A. Luker is the author of "Remembering You" (publication 2020) - a story of love, loss and finding the way back. She is a life-long resident of Saint Peter, Minnesota where she hones her writing craft working for the City of Saint Peter. Luker is a Certified Municipal Clerk, a devoted fan of the Minnesota Wild, and a supporter of numerous animal rescue organizations.

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