I don’t know if we were just too new to country life or too overwhelmed by the move from Massachusetts to Maine, but I swear that last winter, our little house was occupied only by two humans, two cats and a puppy (as long as you don’t count the dust/fur elephants and hippos that lurk in every nook and cranny). This winter seems to be another matter.
Now, let me preface this with an admission…I am not particularly grossed out by rats and mice. Remember, I raised a son…we had a series of hamsters, anoles and rats that shared our homes. But they lived in cages and ate food that we provided. They were clean and trapped. I have willingly shared my home…in the past.
However, this winter has already brought its share of surprises. First, while I was in FL, awaiting the birth of Audrey Saison, my husband emailed me a photo of a mystery mammal on our deck…looked like a little opossum or a big rat. That big rat (as it turned out to be) “entertained us” for weeks, as it lived out in the woods and visited our deck for snacks. The cats were mightily entertained and Boo chased it to his heart’s content. Then, one day last week, we saw TWO rats, and that was that. We took to Google and discovered that we were at fault. Our constantly overflowing bird feeders were an open invitation to small animaldom…we were used to the squirrels, but this was too much. So, with great sadness and regret, we pulled in all our bird feeders and locked the seed and cobs up. Within days, the rats were gone…but so were the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks…damn, those silly rats.
Spring forward a few days and suddenly, we notice that our cats are lying in front of the slop sink pipe down through the floor to the basement…they have this poised, intent look that can only mean that they have a living thing on their radar. They chased a mouse around the kitchen, into the office and under the furniture. I was able to safely herd it out the door, much to the disgust of the cat posse. Fine. However, the next day, I found the cat posse camped in my closet and it was game on! The posse moved inexorably from my closet to hus’ closet to under the bed to behind the dresser to under the dresser, where the whole thing paused…I quickly grabbed a golf club, set up a little cattle run from behind the dresser to the door and persuaded a tiny little mouse to scurry out the door…I then slammed the screen before the cats could give chase and that was that. Boo and I headed out to Lowe’s, where we purchased steel wool (to stuff in any holes or crevices linking the basement to MY space) and sonic mouse repellers (no one at Lowe’s had heard any feedback about whether or not they work, but what the heck), as well as advice from one worker that mice hate the smell of dryer sheets (who knew?). So far, some 12 hours later, no heightened interest from the cat posse. We’ll see.