The Best of Chippewa Falls Volume One's guide to the riverside city » Presented by Mason Companies, Leinie Lodge, Northwestern Bank, and Go Chippewa Falls

The Rear End

THE REAR END: Mouse, Reloaded

reaffirming that rodents and me don’t mix

Mike Paulus |

A few nights back, as my family enjoyed some quality streaming content, we heard a weird growling sound. It sounded as if a cat was warning another cat to back off. So I peeked over the couch to see what was happening.

It was our cat warning our other cat to back off. We’d never heard our cat produce this particular growl. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this was the growl he makes when he’s holding a fat little mouse in his teeth.

He promptly dropped the mouse, and soon we were both running around the house – including a quick jaunt to the basement and back – as we both tried to capture the speedy vermin. We eventually cornered the thing, and a short ride in a shoebox later, it was back outside.

The entire situation reminded me of a similar situation from more than a decade ago. Because the exact same thing happened. Sort of.

On this sort of similar night o’ yore, my wife Shannon and I were enjoying some quality television programming, when a different (and now deceased) cat walked into the family room. Shannon looked at it and said, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god …”

… because the cat had a large, wiggly mouse in its mouth. We sprang from the davenport to frantically coax the cat from our carpeted family room onto the kitchen tile.

It was one of those moments most pet owners experience when they somehow forget 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, stay off the carpet, not on the carpet, you idiot cat, drop that 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. If we can believe this information, we can draw the conclusion that cats are stupid. This is exactly what was going through my head as I begged my stupid cat to do something simple like walk three feet into another room.

It was one of those moments most pet owners experience when they somehow forget 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, stay off the carpet, not on the carpet, you idiot cat, drop that disease-infested rat on a surface I can mop!

MIKE PAULUS

volume one columnist

Back to the action. Grabbing the cat was not an option as it meant getting near a rabies- and probably malaria-infested rodent. Emphatically screaming about a good drop site wasn’t working, so while Shannon leapt onto the arm of the couch, I got up and shooed the cat into the kitchen, then bravely blocked the doorway with my body.

The cat slipped under the kitchen table to get some alone time with his furry packet of syphilis. And then the mouse pooped a little. Yep.

The next part is kind of a blur. The cat dropped the mouse, and they shot out from under the table. They zipped all over the kitchen, into our living room, and all over the damn place, back and forth from room to room. Meanwhile, I boldly guarded the family room. Eventually, I ventured out to help, armed with the latest deadly issue of Cookie magazine. Meanwhile, Shannon was still perched on the arm of the couch, but now she was Googling “house mice” on her laptop.

Guess what? Mice can jump more than 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, where the cats chased it under the stove.

A poisonous calm filled the house.

Shannon got busy barricading the kitchen’s escape routes while I slid out the big drawer from under the oven, inch by inch, knowing that at any moment this mouse would launch itself from the darkness, its leprosy-coated claws akimbo, to land upon my face and scratch off my eyelids. As it turned out, it was tucked into the back corner, cowering and wary.

As I kept a flashlight on the (probably gingivitis-infested) mouse, watching its every twitch, Shannon drove to the store. She came home with a pack of devices that rhyme with “blouse crap” and don’t rhyme with “jive blouse crap.” And so, by morning’s light, the mouse was … defeated.

As I think back over these mousey adventures, I realize that Shakespeare was right when he wrote, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Was he talking about catching little mice after a cuss-filled scramble around one’s home?

Yes. Yes, he was.