The Mouse Guest

Benjamin Franklin said “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

Well, we’ve had a guest in the dining room for twelve days and that was eleven days too many.

It was my fault in the first place.  I was sitting there, tapping away on the laptop when there was a sudden skittering in the hallway and Leo, one of my tabbies, dashed in looking rather invigorated with something dangling from his mouth.

Before I knew it, the dog-owning instinct kicked in and I shouted “DROP!”

So, being part dog, he did.  The mouse scarpered behind the sideboard.  The sideboard is extremely heavy, being full of crockery, and I had somewhere to go that evening so I shut the door and left the mouse.

“But the mouse needs food and water. We don’t want him dying while we’re out,” said Capt Sensible.

We put down a little bowl of water and some croutons just in case he had hunger pangs before he was caught and returned to Outside.

With hindsight that was probably unnecessary. Mouse was a resourceful creature. Next day we found he’d had a go at a banana in the fruitbowl.  He wasn’t so much a desert rat as a dessert mouse.

I removed all fruit and got a humane trap from B&Q for under a fiver.  It featured a small tray with a circle of brown stuff that was supposed to be delicious to mice.

Well, overnight Mouse dragged the little tray out on to the carpet and did a little poo on it, which seemed to sum up what he thought of the menu so far.

I wasn’t too worried.  I mean, it’d be pretty easy to catch.  We caught one without meaning to once in a big bag of birdfood in the garage. A shiny-eyed, cute-eared little woodmouse was there, imprisoned in his seventh heaven because he couldn’t leap high enough to escape from the bag.

I knew Mouse liked croutons so re-baited the trap with some Ocado rosemary and garlic croutons. Turns out he did like them. They disappeared every time.

On the Sunday, there was nothing for it but to empty the sideboard and pull it from the wall – but not before I built, using framed paintings and large books, a rather spiffy Mouse expressway to the Outdoors. When the sideboard was shifted, hey presto, zilch – not even crouton crumbs.  Mouse had relocated. He was either in the organ or the piano.

Leo was brought in.  It was his mouse, after all. He walked over to the organ, settled into sphinx position near the pedals and prepared for the Long Wait.  But hey, a boy needs catfood, water and a comfy sofa so it was clear he didn’t have the stamina required.

I shut the door to the dining room again, scoured the internet for human mouse-catching ideas and set up a variety of challenging and delicious puzzles for Mouse – all cunningly designed to conclude with him thinking “Doh” and being unable to get out of the bottom of a bucket.

The one I was most confident in was a bottle with a slim narrow neck, coated with olive oil and with peanut butter (they love that, apparently) all around the cap, which was poised over a deep bucket.  ‘Mouse crawls along bottle towards cap, slides off bottle, drops into bucket and stays there’ was the plan.

There was also a trap based on the ‘mouse in the birdfood bag’ thing.. in which I put sunflower seeds in the bottom of a deep bucket.  Mouse climbs into bucket, eats seeds and can’t leave, was the plan.

Mouse proved to be an agile little blighter. The sunflower seeds were disappearing.. there were a few mouse poos in the bucket he should have dropped into… and the chocolate…YES  Chocolate!  (desperate measures etc..) was vanishing like magic from the B&Q trap.

I spent some time playing the piano – which usually repels anyone – and then tried a bit of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue on full volume but Mouse remained unmoved.

I had to step up my game.  I ordered a clear trap-door humane trap from nhbs .  Bless em I only paid standard delivery and it turned up in 2 days – and for a few pence over a fiver.

The first night Mouse somehow resisted the distinctive allure of peanut-butter coated cheese, even though I’d removed the failed peanut butter trap and the bucket of seed.

Last night, he succumbed.

There, in the trap this morning, was Mouse – a very small, very scared and probably quite full-up wood mouse crouched at the back where the food had been.  He looked very sorry for himself.

I took him out into the garden and liberated him under the plum tree. In a second he was gone beneath the undergrowth.

Leo mooched about the organ in a regretful sort of way but lost interest when I cleaned and thoroughly disinfected the room.

Benjamin Franklin was dead right about visitors, except they don’t all smell of fish…this one was 100% Mouse!



(well ok, one just like him)

About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Art, Cats, Countryside, Current Affairs, Food and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Mouse Guest

  1. Fabulous! However, that mouse is going to be attempting re-entry: all of that food and ingenuity tests for entertainment 😀

    • janh1 says:

      Hi Sophie.. well I did think of that but he was brought in against his will last time so I think he’ll probably stick to filching birdseed from under the birdtable – NOT the dining table! 😀

  2. IsobelandCat says:

    Two posts in one day? Not that I am complaining. I don’t mind mice outside, but indoors, absolutely not. I was surprised at how much I wanted Cat to catch and kill one that he had cornered. In the end I moved the piece of furniture between him and it, and it shot out of the door and down the stairs faster than you could shout cheese. But mice he and MasterB have caught in the garden I have always tried to liberate. For future ref, could you post a pic of the trap that worked?

  3. janh1 says:

    It’s a catch-up kind of day, Isobel 🙂

    Well I don’t want a mouse in the house and I definitely won’t say “Drop” again!

    The other time there was a mouse in the house was about 10 minutes before we were leaving for Heathrow and hols. I was ironing a couple of last minute things and saw a mouse walk from under an armchair to under the sofa! So I quietly opened the living room door to the hall, and the front door (cats were elsewhere) and, I kid you not, it walked out of the door and climbed over the front doorstep! What a relief!!

    The trap mention should be a link to it. It’s a good ‘un!

  4. Pseu says:

    I can’t resist: I hope you don’t mind!

    we had a similar scenario, but for our mouse it ended less than well….

    The One That Got Away

    We had a mouse in our kitchen. The cat bought it in;
    a small soft toy with a squeak to make the cat’s tail switch.
    But when the mouse had lost interest in being batted about
    or tossed in the air- it escaped to the safety of the dark

    right under the kitchen cupboards. It scrabbled around
    and found – underneath the built-in dishwasher –
    a home, safe from cats and inaccessible to humans.
    A comfortable existence, most of the time.

    Even a hot wash in the dishwasher above did not evict him.
    Believe me, Mum tried it.

    Sometimes a snout could be seen checking out the scene.
    Then if no cat about, the mouse would leave the under cupboard dark
    and nip across the floor, under the door – to the utility and the cat’s bowl.
    One lump of ‘Whiskas’ was a good sized meal for our little guest.

    Every now and then the cat would suspect and inspect.
    He’d sniff around gingerly then, tail upright; he’d walk off in a huff.
    But at night the mouse would explore, leaving small calling cards,
    far more than you would expect from one small mouse.

    We had a mouse in our kitchen. But it had to go.
    Mum said. She’d had enough.

    We returned from the shop with a trap and a jar of peanut butter.
    The trap was ‘environmentally kind’- designed to catch and nourish,
    so the mouse could be released (far away) and flourish.
    Night after night the cats bowl would be raided

    the carefully taped ‘under-door-gap-blockade’ – in tatters.
    Peanut butter untouched. This mouse preferred ‘Whiskas’.

    The mouse had outstayed its welcome. Two new traps were set
    (‘infallible’ it said on the box). The under-door gap was sealed
    with extra strength tape, heavy duty cardboard, and military precision.
    We went to bed with our fingers crossed.

    We had a mouse in our kitchen.
    But the one that got away did not get away again.
    We found him in the morning: snapped,
    stiff and cold, his nose poked in peanut butter.

    We looked at him for a long time and felt strangely deflated.

    • janh1 says:

      Aww. Thanks Pseu. A tail without a happy ending but needs must – it’s a kitchen after all! Our dining room was out of bounds for dining while Mouse was in residence so it was good to get it back! Leo has been pining for Mouse though. Doing his sphinx impression in the centre of the room wearing a disconsolate expression.

  5. Darrel Kirby says:

    Our cat, Scud, let a mouse loose in the house once. After the initial chase there was no sign of him for several days, then he turned up in the cupboard, happily sat back on his haunches tucking into a Go-Cat biscuit he had held in his paws. We thought this poetic justice. He put up no fight when I grabbed him and released him back into the wild.

    • janh1 says:

      Haha! Brilliant! That was indeed karma – the mouse nicking Scud’s biccies. Respect for grabbing him. Our Mouse was like grease lightning 🙂

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