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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a cat who cares!!

My little family of four has recently become a family of many more.  We have had mice move into the crawl space between the second and third story of our house.  Not only do I find this disgusting, but it is disturbing my sleep.  Our mice friends like to come specifically between the hours of ten and midnight and scamper above our heads.  They run, they scratch—they are apparently having a party between the ceiling and floorboards of our second and third story.  I suppose I should be grateful they have not shown their furry little faces in our actual living space.

This has been going on for about a week.  Yesterday, my husband called several ‘mice specialists’ who told him the cost to come and analyze our problem would be anywhere from $200 to $600 dollars.  Obviously, I should have been a mouse expert instead of a poor writer.  I would be sitting much more comfortably right now.  Anywho, after picking the perfect specialist we had him come out.  The first thing he told us is that we should get a cat.

I pointed down to the specialist leg where my orange tabby Gandalf had just come up to claim the human as his.  The specialist scratched his head and said he didn’t understand why we had a problem.  Cats love mice.  Cats instinctually kill mice.  Cats are the best weapon against the ‘war on mice’.

I had to allow a little snicker to escape.  That may be true of most cats, I informed the kindly but sadly informed ‘expert’, but Gandalf was special.  My eight-pound tabby believes he is human.  He has seen a mouse before, but he chose to run the other way and hide.  I think the mouse scared him.

My kitty is witty.  He escapes outside almost daily by stalking the front door until one of us poor unprepared humans lets him slip past us.  I know this is not so unusual for a cat, but it is his pattern once he escapes that has always baffled me.  If it’s too cold, say anywhere below 65 degrees, Gandalf will immediately meow to be let back inside the house.  If it’s raining, you can bet he will turn around and dash back in before the door has even shut on his escape attempt.  And he will always demand to come back in when he has to use the restroom.  Going outside in the ‘wild’ of suburban Vestavia Hills is beneath my darling.  He needs privacy and the scent of cat pine.  Seriously, I am not making any of this up just for your amusement.

Gandalf won’t sleep anywhere that is not cushioned, nor will he eat leftovers.  If I fill his bowl up with food and some is left, he refuses to eat the next morning until he has a nice new meal served to him.

I explained all this to our ‘mouse expert’.  Given our ‘special’ cat, the expert decided to set traps and put out poison.  This is phase one of the war – The Johnstones versus The Mice.  If this fails, we will have to give away more of our money, perfect timing in December, and move onto phase two, which is chemical warfare.  I can’t help but look at Gandalf now with a little good natured irritation.  If he would just embrace his kitty nature, we would save a bundle.  I explained this to him and offered rewards for good kitty deeds, but so far he has stubbornly refused to see that four legs does not a human make.

If you have any good pet stories or advice on getting rid of mice, I would love to hear about it.

Have a wonderful day!

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem 


  1. We have two cats and a dog, and they all catch mice. I've been told you have to find where they are coming in and block it off, but we have yet to discover how the little critters get inside.

    Your cat thinks he's human, and our dog thinks she's a cat. She gives herself baths like the cats, and I've found her standing in the middle of our dining room table in the past. Excuse me, animals, but whether you'e a cat or a dog, you may not stand on the table.

  2. We had one mouse show up in the pantry. I did not see it, but oldest son and husband trapped it.

    Then we called Orkin. We have them for outdoor pest service. They looked around and pointed out where it could have come in. Sprayed some foam in the hole and left us a trap in case there were any others.

    We haven't seen anymore....so fingers crossed that we don't have any other little friends stop by.

  3. The mice we've had tend to come in from under the dishwasher somewhere. I haven't yet found a way to keep them out, but luckily they don't bother coming in unless it is getting really cold outside (not a common occurrence in Texas). I say luckily because, even though I have two cats, they are useless as mice killers. Mice catchers, sure. Killers, not so much. They have left this job to me.

    In my experience though, well placed poison will handle a mouse problem. Hopefully it will take care of yours, since your cat thinks he is a human. (Both of mine think they are dogs. My dad has even taken to calling one of them a toy black lab, instead of a cat.)

  4. Julie, so sorry for your problems, but I did have a little chuckle. I kept seeing Garfield in my mind who only cared about lasagna and too lazy to go after the mice. I have three cats and a dog. All of them catch mice and the dog is actually better at it than the cats. I have not seen a mouse in the house this year, yet (knocking on wood). But, I have found several little carasses on the front porch and back patio. While gross, it is better there than in my kitchen.

  5. I think it's so funny all these dogs who think they are cats!

    I hadn't even pictured Garfield! Now, he is completely in my head!!

  6. Hmmm. Providing I can find my passport, I would be more than happy to pop across the border (I live north of you) to sort out your mouse problem. I'm the Canadian Mouse Catcher of the Year - BC Chapter (having won this coveted title for the last 4 years running) and am currently testing mouse recipes for my new rodent cookbook. Whatever you do, please be careful about the poison - such toxic stuff and I'm sure you wouldn't want Gandalf breathing it. Nor yourselves, for that matter. Best wishes, Supreme Feline Being @FurGenius

  7. Julie - my cat is worthless. WORTHLESS. I swear she'd let mice walk over her. Good luck in your war against the mice. :)

  8. I agree with you all. We brought our fifth wheel here to reside while our house was built several years ago and mice came in to stay. The mice had babies and then they all had babies--not my idea of a good way to bring future generations of "friends" into the world. Don't get me wrong. I love baby creatures and small furry ones even more. I draw the line at vermin! Our cat never lifted a paw to put a stop their intrusion. When we came down to view the progress on the house he'd curl up on the bed and start sawing logs. BAD kitty... By the way, this was a terribly amusing post, especially for those of us who have been owned by cats!
    Celtic Queens

  9. The problem with poison is that once the mice are dead, you now have dead mice in the crawlspace, and dead things stink.

    I assure you, Gandalf is just waiting for the right moment to capture one of the creatures. His reticence is probably because he can't smell them. Perhaps if you found a spot where Gandalf could find them (dig up a floorboard) believe me you wouldn't need an exterminator.

    I had a cat very much like Gandalf until I stuck her nose in the hole in the wall that I made with a big hammer. Let me tell you, she found out where the mice were hanging out and she went crazy. No more mice in my house. The hole in the wall didn't cost nearly as much to fix as the exterminator.