King of My Jungle
some unexpected practice in at-home varmint control
The other night, my cat walked into the family room with a live mouse in its mouth. Obviously, this was freaky, and insane panic ensued.
My wife Shannon and I had been enjoying some quality television programming, I can’t remember what it was exactly, probably CSPAN, or a pithy PBS documentary, or Wife Swap. I saw Shannon look over at the cat and heard her say, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god ...” The cat had a large mouse in its mouth. Holy crap. Our immediate and frantic attention was given over to getting the cat out of the carpeted family room and onto the kitchen tile.
It was one of those moments most pet owners experience when they somehow forget that ANIMALS DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH. We were yelling complex instructions at the cat, like take the mouse into the kitchen, buddy, into the kitchen, drop the mouse in the kitchen, boy, you can do it, stay off the carpet, stay off the carpet, not on the carpet, bud, walk into the kitchen for the love of god you big moron idiot cat and drop that mother-loving, disease-infested rat on a surface I can mop!!!
Let’s pause for a second. Once upon a time, my wife and I read a book about cats. This book claimed that cats will often bring their owners dead things like germ-ridden mice and gored birds because they feel the owner cannot do simple things like kill their own food. So cats are really just trying to take care of you. If we can believe this information, we can draw the conclusion that cats are stupid. And this is what was going through my head as I begged my stupid cat to do something simple like walk into the kitchen, three feet to its left. Back to the action.
Grabbing the cat was not an option as it meant getting near the rabies- and probably malaria-infested rodent. Emphatically screaming about a good drop site wasn’t working, so while Shannon perched upon the arm of the couch, I got up and shooed the cat into the kitchen. I then blocked in the doorway by acting like a kid at a grade school dance – quickly stepping from side to side, trying to stop our adorable cat from darting back into the family room with its little, furry packet of bacteria.
He finally shot under the kitchen table to sit and be alone with his syphilis-filled prize. As he sat there, I was able to see the mouse move a little, and the horrible realization set in that this thing was still breathing. Also, it pooped a little. To be honest, had I been in the mouse’s place, I probably would have done that a lot earlier in the course of events.
The next part is kind of a blur. The cat came out from under the table and he just dropped the mouse. It ran all over the kitchen. Fast. It ran into our front living room, which is thankfully still devoid of furniture to hide under/in. So, the cats chased it all over the damn place, in and out of the hall closet, back and forth across the floor, and I bravely guarded the family room. Eventually, I ventured out to help the cats, armed with the latest deadly issue of Cookie magazine. Meanwhile, Shannon is still balanced on the arm of the couch. But now she’s busy Googling “house mice” on her laptop.
You read that right.
Guess what? Mice can jump over a foot into the air. We confirmed this freaky fun fact through both Google and real world experience. After our probably gonorrhea-infested rodent intruder demonstrated these acrobatics, deftly avoiding myself and two stupid cats, it raced back into the kitchen, back and forth for a while, and the cats chased it under the stove. A deathly calm fell upon us all.
Shannon got busy barricading the kitchen’s escape routes while I pulled out the big drawer for pots from beneath the oven so I could see to the back. I slowly pulled out the drawer inch by inch, assuming that, at any moment, this mouse would bolt back out and launch into the air, its leprosy-coated claws akimbo, only to land upon my face and scratch off my lips. As it turned out, it was tucked into the back corner, unable to get behind the cabinetry.
We tried to convince our cat to get under there and do the dirty work, they way tigers do it in the jungle, but he had lost interest. So I just kept a flashlight on the probably gingivitis-infested mouse, watching its every twitch.
It was getting close to 10pm when Shannon drove to the store while I maintained the standoff. She came home with a pack of devices that rhyme with “blouse crap” and don’t rhyme with “jive blouse crap.” I shoved a few of the contraptions under the stove with a broom, replaced the drawer, and sealed up the cracks by stuffing them with towels. By morning, the mouse was ... ahem ... defeated. And so far, we haven’t been able to track down evidence off more mice. But if more mice show up, they better watch out.
Because the Pauluses know how to handle that situation.