Earning Their Keep

1225151403aI woke up at nearly 3 am, tangled up in a heap of blankets, husband and cats. Useless cats!

Here in the quiet living room, where I retreated to read after realizing sleep was done, I can hear the skitter of little feet in the ceilings. I once read that where you see one mouse, you can expect 100 more unseen. If that’s true, then our little 135 year old farmhouse is Mouse Manhattan.

All summer long, we found mouse parts on the patio. We know which cat brings the gift by which parts are left. Pansy, our older kitty, eats the meaty middles but leaves a head and some kind of back-end mouse mess. Alley, our monster kitten, eats the heads first and rarely leaves us a mouse morsel. However, she has brought us a headless garter snake and a fully intact but quite dead chipmunk.

It’s been a mild winter, but still, the mice have taken up residence in the warmth of our walls. There’s also a large rat living in the stone wall along the patio. I’ve seen his tunnels and caught a glimpse of him on top of the bird seed pail. I wonder about the number of cousins he’s got with him.

The cats have moved inside, as well. When Pansy isn’t under the blankets, she’s behind the wood stove. Alley tramps around behind whomever is most likely to feed her or give her a lap.

We’ll do the usual things to mitigate the mouse issue: fill cracks and gaps with steel wool,  leave peppermint oil-soaked cotton where the mice may linger, keep the kitchen clean and the trash sealed. I’ve even been doing some research on attracting owls to our yard. I’m half-heartedly contemplating putting the cats on a diet. A hungry cat might just be our best defense!

Meanwhile, the fat lazies have moved off the bed in favor of curling up beside me on the couch. They know I’ll keep snuggling them just to hear them purr. They know there will be plenty of food in the bowl in the morning. I told them not to expect any more treats until I get a dead rodent present. Neither one of them moves at the sounds of scurrying overhead.



4 thoughts on “Earning Their Keep

  1. Susan, I love to see that you are once again writing. Your prose, as always, is delightful and intuitive. I look forward to your next vignettes.



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