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May 1, 2012 > Pat Kite's Garden: A mouse visits

Pat Kite's Garden: A mouse visits

By Pat Kite

Grumpy cat sits and stares at my oven. Pookie claims there is a mouse underneath. I maintain that no respectable field mouse would put up with endless burnt brownie aromas plus the smell of forgotten baked fish... cat waits. I have put out bait, hidden far out of reach of pets. Bait is untouched. I have emptied a few drawers, found one with mouse poop, and emptied more drawers. Disinfected everything in kitchen... cat waits. Pookie is not allowed out of the house, so an indoor mouse is her idea of high heaven.

Yes, I know field mice are cute. But they are cute outdoors where they enthusiastically eat the bird food that the squirrels messily drop on the ground. Many years ago, I used to think field mice were kind of cute indoors. Then one ate the rubber tubing in my dishwasher, using this to line her nest. This caused a splendid repair bill. I also had seven baby field mice to contend with. They were cute, but that concluded my cute thoughts. I encourage Pookie cat to persevere.

Field mice occupy the world. Each one weighs only one ounce and can fit into a crack only one-fourth [1/4] inch wide. A neighbor says he also now has a mouse. They are quite lively this time of year. It is breeding season. Why risk being outdoors with all those predators when a nice cozy household with consistent crumbs is available.

Mice prefer cereal crumbs and the like, but eat sweets, meat and nuts. They do not prefer vegetables; it seems we have something in common. During the day, they tend to rest in some safe spot, often the same small area. At night they emerge, canvassing their food bank. They travel behind or under objects, or along walls, rather than in the open where peril awaits.

Mythology tends to be negative about mice, considering them a bad luck omen. However some while back, cooked mice were utilized for whooping cough, smallpox and assorted fevers. Author Topsell, in his 1607 Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes, mentions mice might be boiled, roasted, fried or reduced to powder and "given in some pleasant or delightsome drink." An alternative was to mix them with jam and serve as a sandwich.

Do you remember the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse tale? Country mouse is invited to the city to enjoy fine food and high living. A few days of city stress and danger sends him back to his rural home. I am hoping that a few days of Pookie cat surveillance will encourage mouse to depart to backyard. An old English advice on mouse ridding reads: "one should speak to them politely, explaining that their presence is inconvenient, and suggesting some other house they might prefer." On the other hand, maybe grumpy old cat can actually catch a mouse. Sometimes life is such an adventure. Spring has sprung, my roses are lovely and lavender happy.

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