8.30.2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane (There's A Mouse In My House)


Inspiration being a bit lacking these days, I've decided to take a page out of some of my fellow bloggers' books, and re-publish an old post.  (It was originally published on November 11th, 2011.) I hope you enjoy it. 

There's a mouse in my house.  Or at least there was.  I think ...
Ok, that's a lie.  I know there was, almost beyond a shadow of a doubt. I just don't want to believe it.  Unfortunately, I don't have much choice.  Consider the evidence ... 

Picture it:  my house ... about 7:00 am EST, one week ago.  After a late night at the office (what else is new?) I stumbled, bleary-eyed, out of bed, down the hall, and into my dining room, en route to the kitchen to serve breakfast to the fur people, who were alternately capering ahead of and/or behind me, or twining enthusiastically around my ankles in anticipation of their morning repast.  Whereupon, to my abject dismay, my bare foot encountered something squishy and unidentifiably disgusting, but thankfully no longer warm, where it had expected to find only the same smooth, aged heart of pine floor I traverse each and every day of my life. 

I let loose with a distinctly high-school-girlish shriek, jumped sideways, and landed on one of Olivia's snow white paws, which she, incidentally, did not in the least appreciate, but which was helpful to me as the bone-piercing yowl said indignity elicited from Her Royal Caliconess aided in bringing me more fully to consciousness, and flicked on the light in the dining room.  Peering down through eyes that were still sleepy but nonetheless now wide open in shock and the anticipation of horror, I spied what at first looked to be a very long, rather thick, lizard tail and the much-masticated remains of a lizard-ly lower torso.  

Initially, I relaxed, albeit marginally.  Stepping in lizard guts before I'd even had my first cup of coffee is not exactly my idea of living the dream, but I could deal.  Yeah, well ... think again.  Being the utterly fearless, bad-a$$ girl that I am, I reached down, grasped the end of the alleged lizard tail, and peered closely at it.  Still battling the effects of the previous day's  sixteen hour workday, I at first did not trust what my tired eyes were telling me, and so did an about-face back into the hall to look more closely at what I was grasping under the strong lights in my bathroom.  This is where it all fell apart.

Because in the harsh fluorescent lights of said bathroom, it quickly became all too clear that what I was holding, IN MY BARE HAND I MIGHT ADD, was not a disembodied lizard tail, but rather the tail of a mouse, and that what was attached to that tail were the gruesome remains of said mouse's lower torso and its left hind leg and foot.  

Quicker than you can utter a string of words all approximately four letters long, I had, acting purely on instinct, flushed what remained of the sad little corpse down the toilet, then proceeded to gag into the sink and spend the next twenty minutes washing my hands under water so hot that it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that for the rest of that day I went around sporting first degree burns on hands that, previously sorely in need of a manicure, were now sore in a more literal sense of the word.  All I can say is, it is for precisely situations like these that the acronym FML was coined.

Also, in case you were wondering, my day did not improve one iota for the remainder of that 24 hour period, though it did not, fortunately, get any worse.  Although, let's face it.  Stepping in the remains of a dearly departed rodent, and then grasping said remains in one's bare hand all while scarcely awake and ambulatory is pretty hard to top!

Now for the back story.  A few days prior, I had rather absentmindedly noticed that Finn had developed an apparent obsession with the lower kitchen cabinet to the direct left of the sink, which he has not showed the least bit of interest in for the entire almost two years he's been with me.  

This is not surprising, as it's a seldom-used storage space that plays host to extra rolls of paper towels, assorted serving platters, and other kitchen miscellany.  In other words, it is not routinely used to store anything he would find interesting, i.e. food, treats, or anything even remotely edible. Therefore, it should have clued me in to the fact that something was not as it should be when he took to standing sentry beside it for long stretches of time with all his faculties avidly attuned to something I could not see or hear.

More back story:  I live in the Soho area of South Tampa, a block or so off the water in an area that, due to its close proximity to the water as well as its many historic homes, is known to have issues with mice, as well as their more insidious cousins, rats.  I have lived in my house for five years and never had any problems with them myself, but more than once I have been walking with the dogs along Bayshore Boulevard, a long, winding necklace of prime waterfront strung with the pearls of high end real estate valued in most cases in the multi-millions of dollars ... FYI - in case you were wondering, NO, my mouse-house is not one of these - and stumbled upon the toes-up corpse of one species of rodent or other, so it really should have dawned on me that Finn's sudden and nigh-to-rabid preoccupation with a seemingly innocent kitchen cabinet spelled trouble.  

Alas, it did not.  And I have paid, and dearly, for not paying due attention to what my little house panther's unusual behavior should have been telling me, especially when considering that my next door neighbors, who recently moved out of state and put their as-yet-unsold house on the market, were of the, if you'll pardon the pun, pack-ratly persuasion, and I find it very plausible that in the packing up of the worldly belongings stored in their garage, they may have unwittingly disturbed a rodent domicile or two in the process.

All of this is bad enough.  But as the saying goes ... where there is one, there are likely more.  Which makes me wonder if there are other cousins of the unfortunate mouse dispatched so efficiently, albeit cold-bloodedly, by Finn, lurking in the cabinet by the sink, or elsewhere in my house.  I have not seen any signs of this, but I have nonetheless contacted an exterminator to come out so I can be reassured (or horrified) by a professional assessment of the situation.  I also have to face the almost certain reality that my sweet little kitten not only killed, but also consumed, the unfortunate rodent.  

In the initial aftermath, I was not altogether sure what I feared more ... that Finn had consumed the mouse, or that he hadn't.  After cautiously pulling back my bedclothes, peering  under the bed, and searching various other places throughout the house for any additional pieces of this disturbing puzzle, all the while in fear that my explorations were a Whatever Happened to Baby Jane moment in the making, I was forced to accept the fact that Finn had dispatched his kill in the way cats have been dispatching their kills since time out of mind.  Which, inevitably, led to the fear that the mouse had been poisoned, and that my little kitten might now be in danger of being poisoned also.  

FORTUNATELY, this has proven to not be the case.  Finn, one emergency vet appointment and a full week later, is absolutely fine, thank heaven.  But I have a newfound respect for my youngest "child."  He might be my baby, but he's apparently also got some hunting chops, and he takes his house panther role more seriously than I would have imagined. 

I also, I have to admit, feel kind of bad for the mouse.  Because as bad as my day sucked on the morning that the sole of my bare foot encountered his earthly remains, that poor mouse's day sucked a lot worse.  Imagine if you were a mouse ... and the last thing you saw on this earth were these eyes staring you down ... 


RIP, little mouse.  (And I hope there are no more of your friends in my house!) 


You might also like:  Finn One - Picture Frame Zero

8 comments:

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

Fozzie's a champion mouser, but fortunately I think all of his victims have been outside. Extra fortunate because they were extra-huge--in fact, I think they were rats!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Mom is about to scream eeeeeek here as she would have had the same reaction as you did. We don't seem to have many mice issues here, but oh those dumb bunnies.

Thanks for the flashback post - we didn't remember this one.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

FURKIDSMOM said...

We've never seen that post before, so we're glad you reposted it.

One time Mom had a mouse in the house and she locked up all the kittes. She didn't want them to have mousebreath.

The Florida Furkids

Oui Oui said...

Our Carl once caught 3 mice in 20 minutes. We hope that never happens again, although he probably dreams of it!

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

LOL!!!!! I love this post so much because something similar--albeit less horrible-- happened to me two weeks ago!!! (And I am so sorry you stepped in part of a dead mouse... that is HORRIBLE).

So we live in Chicago (where we are currently experiencing an upsurge in rats!) on the top floor of an apartment building that is very, very old. My landlord renovated the inside of the building, but he left a lot of "gaps" around the pipes underneath the kitchen sink. I hadn't realized this was an issue until a few months ago when I woke up in the morning, walked into the bathroom, and saw what I thought was our cats' toy mouse on the ground. But as I peered closer, it was a dead mouse. Freddie and Stella were sitting next to it, as if they were anxiously awaiting my awakening so they could deliver their prize to me. I of course screamed like a little girl and made my husband dispose of it. You are way braver than I!!!

And then a few weeks ago, I came home from a routine eye doctor appointment--so my eyes had been dilated and I couldn't focus on anything-- and found yet another dead mouse. This time it was in our guest bedroom near my closet... so I *almost* stepped in it, but didn't. ICK!

Then last week, I saw Freddie stalking something underneath the cabinets next to the fridge... so gross. Nothing emerged, but I imagine there are more mice... :( I called my landlord, but he hasn't done anything. He's just thrilled that I have cats!

Also, the husband and I debated and determined that there is no way Stella is killing these mice. She's way too slow! It's gotta be our 9 lb Fredmonster. :)

All this rambling is to say that I can relate! :)

houndstooth said...

Ack! I feel your pain! Last summer, my sister went to Australia for two weeks. My dad lives half a mile from her house and was quite happy to take care of her dog, but she asked meIt to look after Dirty Harry, the cat, because our dad is notoriously NOT a cat person. After several visits, we came in one afternoon to find that Harry had been busy and lined up three mice in the dining room, near the door, no doubt to impress my sister when she came home. Ugh! It took a lot of willpower not to hide them somewhere for her, though...

tubby3pug said...

I have not been visiting blogs much lately as Im still on my end of summer break but I read this and had to post because....the exact same thing happened to me. It was very late on Saturday night and I saw what I thought was a piece of string on the kitchen floor and picked it up. I screamed so loud when I realized what it was that my poor husband woke up, (and he can sleep through car alarms, loud arguuments on the street outside, the fire alarm system in our college dorm that sounded like the Red Alert signal on Star Trek, etc) and pretty much thought I was being murdered. I too am more then a bit afraid of mice. I never figured out if one cat was responsible for the murder or if it was a group effort.

Tucker The Crestie said...

I am loving all these stories of commiseration! Thanks you guys!