A Mouse at Christmas

We bought Izzy, Florence & Merlin a little pack of two fabric mice filled with herbs for their Christmas present this year, something they could play with, tear up and eat without any harm befalling them.

First job in the morning I go out to let out and to feed the hens, when I walked in I was greeted with “quick go in the garage and bring a mouse trap, the cats have brought a mouse in and it’s hiding under the wine rack”. My wife had got up and let the cats out into their enclosure as it was fine and they had returned with a mouse, which she found because the three were sitting in front of the wine rack and she suspecting a lost toy had poked something under the rack only to see it was a real live mouse.

By the time I returned with the trap, the mouse had made a dash for safety, only to discover that it became used as the puck by the cats in a game of ceramic hockey using velvet paws. The mouse finally made safety beneath the pine dresser followed by an entourage of hockey playing cats. I quickly loaded the trap and pushed it as far as I could reach beneath the dresser, only to see Florence carefully hook the trap out and bat it under a dining chair.

Merlin then did his “pièce de résistance” which is to gain altitude by attempting to climb up the packs of canned lager and bottles of beer stored at the side of the dresser, unfortunately not a good subject for climbing on and they skittered all over the floor. I decided to get a torch to see if the mouse was still there and whist shining could see not only the mouse but also a shining patch spreading along the floor. Checking all the bottles showed no breakages but one of the cans had a claw puncture in its side and was gently fizzing the contents out. That became first drink of the day at about eight a.m.

Floor cleaned and trap replaced we set to with getting ready for our guests waiting for the trap to do its work. During the rest of the day the cats periodically played hockey with the mouse always with velvet paws.

By the time evening arrived I decided to have a go at catching the mouse alive so with the aid of our eldest daughter the plan was to drive the mouse out and armed with a plastic pudding basin she would trap the mouse. As I knelt down with a torch and a cat stick to force the mouse out of its hiding place the mouse ran out across my foot and made a path towards the curtains. Not for nothing is my elder daughter referred to as the Peter Bonetti* of the Atherstone Ladies Hockey team! She quickly dropped the basin over the mouse and covered him. Using a place mat we slid this under the basin and then lifting them up we had the mouse captive. My wife and daughter took the mouse outside and lifting the basin up heard a rustle of dead leaves as mouse disappeared into the darkness.

What puzzled us is why did the cats not try to kill the mouse. Were they too full of Christmas food, did they enjoy playing Hockey, was it because they felt charitable at Christmas, was this the 3rd mouse or do they not have a killer instinct. My wife’s thought, “maybe they wanted a pet of their own”.

*For those who do not watch sport, Peter Bonetti was Goalkeeper for Chelsea Football Club, nicknamed “The Cat” many years before the Roman Abramovich era.

Richard & Ann Barker