January 08, 2006

Of Mice And Mogs

I had to do something yesterday that I hated having to do. Having never knowingly killed anything larger than a bug in my life (Oh and a pheasant that forgot to look both ways when he crossed the road!) the idea of setting anything other than a humane mousetrap was something I found abhorrent. However we’ve had a bit of a problem with them over the last week or so and unfortunately even I had to agree it had to be done. Cute though I think they are I don’t want to share my home with them.

We’re fairly certain that as opposed to having mice in our house, the mice are being bought into the house by Smodge - my cat. So why has he suddenly decided to start bringing his victims home with him, and what’s more bringing them home alive!

I did a bit of searching around to find out about the whole cat/mice thing. Apparently it’s all about the Mother cat teaching her kittens to hunt. The first stage is to bring home a dead mouse and eat it in front of them; eventually they get the idea and join in. Next she brings them a dead one all of their own and lets them tuck in. Once they’ve got used to mice on the menu mummy then brings them one that’s maimed but still moving and lets her brood have a go at catching it themselves, then eventually once they’ve got the idea she brings them a nice live one and lets them take their hunting test.

So is Smodge trying to teach us to hunt? If he is then he must have sussed out that we’re crap at it by now! We’ve only managed to catch one out of about half a dozen, give up Smodge – we are never going to get the hang of it!

Or is it nothing more complex than the fact it’s winter and he prefers a little warmth and home comfort whilst torturing his prey? Either way after finding one of my lipsticks and a couple of dusters had been eaten and spending two nights trying to sleep whilst listening to the rather disturbing sounds of little feet scrambling around somewhere beneath my bed I’d had more than the humanitarian in me could take.

I had set the humane trap for two nights in a row and I’d actually seen the mouse run into it, get a nice chunk of the Mars Bar bait and leg it straight back out again, unharmed but also uncaged! I had a long chat with it, I explained that its last chance for mercy was to get in the humane trap and stay there before I went to bed, but did he listen? No! So very reluctantly I set the nasty one before I went to bed.

I was prepared to hear it snap in the night, I was prepared to find a dead mouse in the morning, but I was not prepared for what happened! I caught my finger in the trap when I first set it and it really hurt so I felt a little consolation in the thought that he probably wouldn’t know much about it, or so I hoped.

The reality was very different. I was woken up at about 3am this morning by a strange sort of nibbling sound, followed by a sort of dragging sound. I listened for a while then put the light on and was horrified to find the poor little mouse was caught by one of it’s back legs and tail in the trap and was dragging itself and the trap along the floor, it looked very much still alive and very very frightened.

I can’t stand to see animals suffer, not even annoying mice but there wasn’t much I could do. If I released it now it was going to die anyway, its leg was practically hanging off, and besides it was three o’clock in the morning and I sleep in the loft! I was not going to get dressed, walk down two floors and out into a freezing night for a half dead mouse! I couldn’t bear the thought of just leaving it there to suffer, any more than there was a hope in hell of me putting it out of its misery. So I did the only thing I could, I opened the bedroom door and gave Smodge a call! He did the job with his normal aplomb dragging the trap with the mouse towards the garden. The trap fell off eventually, thankfully without any bits of mouse still attached and so far there are no signs of any more. I am going to have nightmares about zombie mice for weeks!!

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