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Meow's Way Part III
by Lucille lucil95783@aol.com   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, August 20, 2011
Posted: Saturday, August 20, 2011

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Lucille lucil95783@aol.com

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           >> View all

On trapping mice

                               NINE

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

 

     I purchase pepper spray over the Internet. In the order box I select the visor clip-on model. I don’t care if I save 50 cents if it comes by ground. Just send it.

     That mouse living behind our stove is going to receive the shock of its life. Since it has been so clever about avoiding the glue traps and the traditional ones baited with peanut butter, I will wage all-out war. The mouse that Pinky chased up the hall has been lodged, first under the refrigerator, and then behind the stove.

     Each night I have been moving the cat chow and water dish to another room. This has been self-delusion. The mouse will roam anywhere it wants. And it does, for Pinky lets me know the mouse is now behind Renato’s couch. That is when I order the pepper spray.

     The instructions are simple: point at attacker at three feet distance and spray. Effects last 45 minutes.

     I pull the couch out a foot and make sure that Pinky is outside the door, which I leave slightly ajar. To her mind, ajar is not wide enough to slip through and she will wait until someone comes to open the door properly.

     On my hands are oven mitts, which will be demoted to mouse mitts should they ever come in contact with a mouse.

     One, two, three! I spray behind the couch. It isn’t a spray that emerges but a full stream of liquid. There. If the mouse runs out I am ready to grab it. Of course, I count on its being blinded. Pinky is my backup. I look behind to check that she is out of harm’s way.

     What I see is Pinky’s little black paw swiping through the gap in the door and I stare a moment too long. The next thing I know my eyes and nose are streaming and I am coughing. I run for the door, and Pinky comes in as I rush out. In a second she, too, has joined me in the hall coughing and sneezing. The mouse? Neither of us saw it, if it was there.

     The mouse has begun to pull insulation from the stove. Whenever I look there I see tufts of fibers all over the back of it, behind the bottom drawer. Is it a nest in progress? In a panic, I call an exterminator company. The technicians who come are two large men, one carrying a clipboard. They make me feel as though the Marines have arrived and will have the situation under control very soon. I assume they will pull the stove out from the wall and trap the mouse in no time at all. Instead, they bait several new traps they have brought, borrowing my peanut butter, and lay those down along with some glue traps. I have had glue traps in there also, but theirs are larger. They show me how I have set the triggers on my traps incorrectly, then they go down to the basement and look around the crawl space under the house. They spread a few more traps around that area. One is a large one in case my mouse is a rat.

     They take my $200 and hand me a service warranty good for thirty days. After they leave, I remove the traps in the basement crawl space. Pinky likes to roam around there while I do the laundry. If any mice or rats exist there she will catch them. After all, she caught the one outside in the wild that now lives in our house, and seven or eight more that I managed to throw out the back.

     For a week of nights, I get up at the slightest noise from the kitchen. After that, I pay no attention, and neither does Pinky, Au Au, or Tango. Periodic checks prove the mouse is well and happy and contemptuous of the traps.

     I buy boxes of mouse poison at the hardware store. I have not used it before because the label warns that a cat who eats a poisoned mouse will die. The poisoned mouse, says the label, will become dehydrated and emerge from hiding desperate for water. I remove all traces of water in the house, including the dish set out for the cats. The only one to drink from it has been Tango, anyway, and she can always go out to the bird bath like the others.

     Then, then I do something cunning, I hope. I take the tiniest bottle cap I can find, add water to it and delicately place it on a trap. Crazed for a drink, the mouse will go to the only water there is in the house. It will not live to run outside to endanger Pinky or any other cat.

                              #

 

TEN

FAKE NOSE, MOUSTACHE AND SPECTACLES

 

     For three consecutive, delirious mornings, Loaner and I meet in our secret place. First, of course, conditions must be exactly right: not only no other cats near, but far away and out of sight.

     She runs ahead of me and goes through the boxwoods to the lawn. I flop down and she gets aboard and pounds and kneads me happily. It is always my left shoulder she leans against while I sing and talk to her. Her eyes in the pretty face gleam and she chirrups during our session, so different from her aloofness when she is in the house – the place contaminated by interlopers.

     Meanwhile, my robe is being soaked through by heavy dew right to the skin. I shiver, and sneeze.

     Next morning, when conditions are right for us once more, I fetch a flat box from the garage and head for our place. Loaner hangs back, apparently suspicious of the box. Why am I carrying it? Do I plan to put her in the box? As I move onto the grass Loaner is nowhere beside me, but looking around I notice her ears pointing above the ground ivy at the head of the lawn as she peers at me through it. I drop the box on the grass and sit down.

     Aha! She sees the purpose of the box, and comes running to join me.

     On the third morning she runs ahead as before, then when I drop the box she sprawls all over it and looks up at me. Do cats laugh? I know they do.

     Then there is a long spell when she is moody even when we are alone. She has me following her, box in my hand, up one path, down another. She stops for some personal grooming and ignores me. Out of patience, I sit on the box several feet from her and say, “I know you think I have no pride, but I am going to count to ten, and if you don’t come running to me by then I won’t speak to you ever again.”

     I reach the count of five, when suddenly she darts to me and onto my lap.

     I don’t know how or why. Perhaps it was the tone of my voice.

                              #

 

ELEVEN

TANGO, THE NURSE

 

     Tango is asleep on my lap when she starts up at noises of cats fighting. She dashes outside, and I follow. By the time I reach the deck railing the fight is over, but there is a blond cat sprawled with its head under cover. There is no sign of the cat who fought with it. The vanquished cat is not Loaner, who is bigger; nor Au Au, whose coat is paler.

     Tango is crouched near the distressed cat and looks up at me as if asking for help. I go down the steps, and at the sound of my approach the unknown cat lurches to its feet and scurries away, Tango escorting it.

     As they disappear, I become aware that Pinky is looking on from the top step, and Au Au is doing the same from the far end of the patio.

     Fifteen minutes later, Tango returns to the house, jumps on my lap, and goes right back to sleep. I stroke her in wonder. I have just seen something special. Wild elephant cows stay with their sick or wounded companions. Are there many more animals than we know who do this?

                             

     One day I accidentally poke her in the eye. Before I can make amends, she runs out of the house. From then on, she avoids contact, slinking away when I call her to me. I am distressed that she no longer trusts me. Still, she comes to eat and afterward finds a distant place in the house to sleep. How to approach her? I enter the living room, get on my knees, and lie flat on the rug on which she is sleeping under the coffee table. My head pressed lower than hers, I extend a hand to her, all the while asking her to trust me again. Instantly, Tango rises to lick my fingers, rubs her face against mine, then climbs on my back and kneads me up and down. It is magical. One doesn’t tower over children when trying to make friends. Cats are no different.

     My dinner is broiled fish steak, the dish so hot that I must place it on a straw mat. Tango follows her nose and lights upon the table to investigate. Rebuffed, she lies down a foot away. I am watching the evening news and, almost too late, become aware that the dish is receding from me. Tango has drawn it right to herself before I rescue my dinner and pluck her claws from the mat. Her ingenuity so impresses me that I put a piece of the fish on a saucer for her.

     It seems to me that I have long ago thrown discipline out the window, but we enjoy our dinners peacefully.

 

#

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Meow's Way by Lucille lucil95783@aol.com

A little tortoiseshell cat from next door pursues me until we catch each other...  
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