Saturday night our male cat, Mason, emphatically demanded to be let back into the house. As he zipped past me I didn’t notice that he had something in his mouth. He was across the main floor and into the front entryway before I saw it — a mouse. Initially I thought it was dead and he was bringing it in to display his hunting prowess (boys are such braggarts). But when he put it down it squeaked and ran away. Dead mice don’t do that. Before I knew it, I was standing on my couch, my back against the wall. I should mention that Phil was on the road. I was alone. With the romping cat and his tiny prey.
Relevant background: My dear mother and dear sister are TERRIFIED of mice. I was in the kitchen with these strong women one day in my childhood when a squeak sent them into the hallway — literally dragging me with them. Turns out it was the new-to-us fridge we had just gotten, but before they accepted that answer they sent me – young, defenseless, little ole’ me – back into the kitchen to lift a garbage bag in the corner to ensure no rodents lurked beneath it. I have tried not to be so held by this same fear with only minimal success. I’m not as sensitive as my familial female examples are, but one thought of little feet crawling on me and I can get a good jolt of the willies too (in my defense I’ve tried to conquer this fear – I once tried to empty a mouse trap at my parents house but it freaked me right out).
Back to my exciting Saturday night (see, this is why you shouldn’t be home alone on a Saturday night – bad things happen). I was now faced with two options – rid my house of a live mouse (eek) or wait until my cat killed the cute little thing and then remove a dead mouse from my house (eww). Problems with option one were: I didn’t know how to capture a live mouse, I didn’t want to touch a live mouse, I didn’t want to be touched by a live mouse. Problems with option two were: I didn’t know if Mason would ever get around to killing it, I didn’t want to touch a dead mouse, I didn’t want it to die somewhere beyond my reach and/or sight. Then the mouse disappeared. Mason couldn’t find it. Now I had a mouse loose in my house (this story would be so much more dramatic if mouse and house didn’t rhyme in such a Seussian way). So, I did what any rationale grown woman home alone with a rodent running amok in her home would do – I called my Daddy. He suggested, quite calmly and unsympathetically, I thought, that I scoop the mouse up in the dustpan. Now, why didn’t I think of that?
While I was on the phone with my brilliant but bewildered-by-feminine-fear Father the mouse re-emerged and the chase was on again. Then he/she disappeared again. While our quarry was safely hidden I actually worked up the nerve to get off the couch and go into the entryway. Thankfully I’d been puttering about the house in clogs and they were with me – can you imagine barefeet or sandals in such a scenario – shudder! When the mouse came back out for more, I was ready – dustpan in hand, door slightly open. Mason and I cornered the poor thing and I was able to scoop it up. Now I had to get it out the door. Here is where it got a bit dicey – the mouse started crawling up the handle toward my hand. Thankfully I was able to reposition and keep a hold of the dustpan and keep the mouse IN the dustpan and get them both out the door (with only the very minimum of girlish squeals). My adventures were over. I had defeated the mouse. And maybe a little bit of fear.
My mother, sister and a female co-worker have all stated that they would not be able to do what I did. So I guess I am encouraged that my fear isn’t SO great as to be completely immobilizing. And I guess it is kind of interesting to experience that kind of fear – it is so visceral. I really don’t like being scared (HATE scary movies), but on the other hand, if I’m going to experience fear, I’d rather it be at the cold, icky little paws of an itty-bitty mouse than a number of other scenarios I can imagine (great, now I’m going to be paranoid about being home alone without Phil – mouse-catcher and defender).
My only big question about all of this is: How was Mason able to meow at the door if he had a mouse in his mouth?