Playing cat and mouse…

mouse sitting on bread

First of all, I’d like to make something clear. I quite like mice.

I think they’re cute with their twitching noses, whiskers and little paws.

mouse sitting on breadIn many ways, I’ve always felt sorry them. My childhood is littered with memories of Jerry being thumped over the head with a broom by that feline brute Tom.

My brother even came home from primary school one holiday with some mice neatly housed in a cage. That pleased my mother (I wonder how she really felt when we found them paws skybound?)

I seem to have spent a lot of time with mice lately. It began a few weeks ago while I was having breakfast with the children. I’d just placed the last bowl of Weetabix on the dining room table when I saw the streak of a mouse out the corner of my eye.

“Oh …” quick think of a suitable word to use to express my surprise without alarming the children “… oh my goodness!”

The mouse ran under the dresser and took up residence (as I later learned) on the change mat. That nappy change certainly quickened my heartbeat! The cleaner and I later ‘chased’ the little fellow out the back door to the immense amusement of the children who watched our antics with giggling delight.

Problem solved, or so I thought. We were just about to go on holiday and, suddenly, there was the mouse again. The chat to my neighbour about looking after the house while we were away was doubly delightful as he promised to catch the mouse, pretty ironic given that we were about to holiday with Mickey and friends.

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A free mouse and a mouse-free house. Hurrah!

Two weeks later, we were back home, jet lagged and happy. No mouse traps visible in the house. Our neighbour confirmed that the mouse was caught and released in a nearby village.

It took my son a few nights to recover from jetlag. It was 2am and he’d been up for an hour feeling hungry and thirsty. Together we went downstairs to raid the ‘nibbly’ bars. Three quarters asleep, I pulled the retractable cupboard out. Why are the nuts moving? My brain questioned my eyes… there walking along the breakfast cereal coming to say hello was a small brown mouse.

I could have reached out and touched it. Slow-motion mouse. No motion me. Frustrated I cleared the cupboard of mouse food and went back to bed to a chorus of “The mouse is back, Mumma!” from a happy small boy.

I follow a couple of hundred people on Twitter and it astonishes me how many are fascinated by cats. I do not understand cat lovers.

Comedians I admire spend hours dressing, styling or simply photographing cats. Cats are independent creatures that show little love towards their owners other than the disguised rub against the leg.

I am no cat lover. This originates from my first close encounter with a cat, aged seven. I’d been staying with friends of my parents and come down to breakfast with the other children to be greeted by the pet dog (happy to see us) and the family cat, who went tooth and claws for my toes.

Any chance of me being a cat lover disappeared instantly. Recently, though, I’ve begun to change my mind. Perhaps a good mouser is what I need.

Having cleared up the destruction and repackaged the food in (hopefully) mouse-proof containers, I installed a couple of humane mouse traps and waited. For two mornings I came downstairs to find evidence of night-time mouse activity but empty traps.

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Wild wood mouse sitting on the forest floorMorning three was successful. He was so cute. Tiny paws. Twitching nose. I swear he looked sheepish. My little boy and I took him for a walk and that sheepish look changed to fear and terror. It must have been quite a ride for a small mouse. He was certainly hesitant about leaving the trap before scampering off.

Hopefully this time he and his mouse friends have got the message. I do feel slightly guilty for taking him away from my son, though!


About Mandy Clark

Well into my forties life took a new pathway when my partner and I adopted two beautiful children. A full time mum, with a passion for cricket I am midway through my MA course wondering when I’ll ever find the time to recommence my studies. Happily in a Civil Partnership with Louise and looking forward to getting married soon.