I have a mouse. In my house. Not a pet.
The reasons I am aware of his presence are several. There is a hole in the cushion of my love seat. There has been birdseed scattered over the kitchen floor. Something has bitten off all the ivy from the pots in the living room window.
But the strongest of the telltale signs is this: I saw him run from the kitchen through the dining room.
Deep in my heart, I want to get rid of him. But I don’t want to kill him. I don’t want to have to look at a decapitated mouse, so those traps with the snapping wire are out.
At the dollar store, I got the gluey ones, but he didn’t go for that at all, and after a couple of days I carefully ditched them, but not before I got myself a little gluey.
Time to go to the feed store and see if they have no-kill traps. They did.
Maybe you can just rent me one, I said. Mr. Schaper said, “No.”
My son-in-law, Kevin, went to a shelf, pulled out a tin box wrapped in cardboard and announced, “It says it will catch 30 mice.”
“If I had 30 mice, I would move out,” I declared.
“How many did you see?” asked Schaper. “Just one,” I replied.
“You probably have 10,” he declared.
Desperately, I asked the price and found out it was only $15. That ended the debate.
“I’ll take it,” I said. “Then I can rent it out myself.”
“I’d charge $5 a day,” Schaper suggested.
It is called the Tin Cat. Very apropos. I brought it home, pulled off the cardboard sleeve with its promise of 30 catches. I had to tear that apart to read the directions, which were inside.
It did not recommend which bait to try, but did insist, once a mouse was caught, that I transport my prisoner at least two miles from the house.
I cannot think of anyone who annoys me enough that I would deposit my prey in his yard, so I decided to take my captive to the Butterfly Garden, which seems a proper distance.
I have tried peanut butter as bait, having heard through some grapevine or another that it is preferable to cheese.
Last night I decided to add some cheese. But so far, except for a mixture of baits, the trap is empty.
I have found I can hold it up to the light and see through it, so I will know if I finally catch my mouse.
I keep calling him “he,” hoping he is not really a “she,” a mama mouse with babies somewhere.
Years ago, in an earlier home in La Marque, we discovered a whole nest of pink babies wrapped in the torn up pages of a set of encyclopedias, well hidden behind that shelf full of books. Unforgettable.
I hope I figure out a good place to put this Tin Cat.
And I hope I figure out a bait a mouse will find delectable — and soon.