May 11th, 2021

Clango & cat

Rodent Plague

   We have a bit of a rodent plague here right now. It's not as bad down here as it is in New South Wales but still, I seem to have at least one mouse living in every room. They're always darting between furniture out of the corner of my eye, I hear them chewing on things all night and lie there hoping they're not in the act of ruining something, and in the morning I find their poop all over the table and counters. I realize now what a "bread box" is actually for -- and not having one I've taken to storing my bread in the microwave.

   Legendary cat Cato doesn't actually live with me unfortunately, he lives at work. Every now and then I glance outside and see the neighbor cat Bailey walking by, and throw open the door calling out to him "Bailey come patrol for mice!" And, lo, he immediately changes direction and walks right in, and then he proceeds to walk the perimeter of my house sniffing around at all the nooks mice could be in. As he passes the kitchen I'll open the undersink cabinets and he'll walk in and sniff about and then come out. Once he's done a thorough inspection he proceeds to the door to be let out. He does this so purposefully it's like he's a pest control professional just doing a routine call, and it really makes me think about how really this is exactly why we domesticated cats in the first place and maybe it's deeply ingrained in their instincts as essentially a job.

   This morning after hearing particularly insistent gnawing in the kitchen I traced it to a box of pasta I hadn't known was there (it was among some things my Russian friend had given me before evacuating last year), I quickly tried to close the box to trap the mouse but it successfully lept out.
   Ereyesterday I heard rustling from the small box I put recycling in in the kitchen. I also went to quickly pick up the box but much to my alarm I fekt something strugging against the hand I'd placed under the box -- it had been under the box. I whipped my hand away doublequick because I'm not keen at all to get infected with something by a mouse bite.

   I've been lucky on occasion though, I did successfully catch one in a box, and in a stroke of remarkable luck (good luck for me, particulary bad luck for the mouse), I heard rustling in a box of crackers, I quickly picked it up but the mouse lept out. flying through the air right into a pint glass half full of water, from which it was unable to extricate itself.

   Now many people might find this very convenient indeed, since drowning is a common method of killing mice, but it feels a bit barbaric to me. I'm actually a big softy in fact, or maybe I can blame it on my vague pseudo-buddhist philisophies, I feel I cannot kill anything _directly_, but I can feed things to other things because the circle of life. I've attempted to feed mice to Cato in the past and have wished I had a snake just to feed the mice to it (though apparently feeding live mice to snakes is illegal in Australia, which.. comeon people, in nature things eat eachother, you can't deny the cycle of life!). My current preferred method of disposing of mice is to simply place them in the greenwaste bin. If it's mostly full of stuff I dont' worry too much, but currently it's mostly empty and there's two mice living in there, and now I find myself looking around for some past-its-prime fruit or vegetables to throw out to feed the mice in the Greenwaste Gulag. It may well be that they will be crushed by a trash compactor in the greenwaste truck but, well, that's still easier on my concience than if I offed them myself.