The Montana Mighty Mouse Comedy Chase

Comedy of errors, maybe? Definitely a chase. The Deer Lodge, Montana, mouse was certainly mighty in his own right.

Okay, so maybe the beady eyed, furry little critter was a her. It’s my story and I’m calling it a him.

9:20 p.m. I was on the phone in the living room with a lady from Texas (who’d called to thank me for helping her brother with a wee problem) when a noise in the office area got my attention. Curious. Turn head. “Aha! Good boy, Gato! No, not you, Heather. One of my cats just nailed a mouse. Guess we’d better wrap this up so I can go deal with it.”

The hanging up worked the way it was supposed to work. Dealing with the mouse…did not. Gato is a strictly indoor cat and a bit overweight because of that, but he’s also a premier “monsker spotter.” (Monsker, not monster. Cat dialect.) He’s also a very fast mouser. After a bit, he dropped the mouse, which landed on its back, still as a stone, belly to the ceiling, stone cold–alive! Zip–hah! Caught again. Batted about between front cat-paws. Dead this time–alive!

Gato had no interest in eating Mighty Mouse. He was simply delighted with his new, sometimes highly mobile toy. Many times, he played catch-and-release. Many times, Mr. Mouse played possum and then flip-scrambled for a hidey hole.

Harvey cat and I considered the situation.

No visible mouse blood. It looked like Gato was soft-mouthing the little rodent, not even breaking the skin. Was not-so-Speedy Gonzalez truly playing possum or truly going into short term shock again and again? Enquiring minds will never know.

There wasn’t much point in my trying to snag the mouse while it was still semi-functional. Even a half-speed mouse is quicker than I am. Plus, Gato’s attitude had to be taken into account. Harvey got a serious don’t-even-think-about-grabbing-my-mouse gr-r-rowl from Gato every time he got within three feet of the action. But then, just as Harvey’s presence seemed to distract Gato enough to throw his timing off by a split second, Mighty Mouse kicked it up a gear. Went all Stuart Little on cat. For some time, the little furry fellow kept an office chair leg between himself and the giant green-eyed predator, standing on his hind legs and watching his adversary intently, shifting just enough to counter the cat’s moves. Pure Stuart Little, if Little was a gray mouse instead of a white one.

And around and back and forth and loop-de-loop they go. Catch and release, catch and release, catch–no catch! David outmaneuvered Goliath, zipping along the narrow space between office cabinet and wall. Made it! Cat can’t fit here!

Enter the mighty human, Super Goliath, the mountain troll of the mobile home. My flashlight showed Mighty’s bright eyes peering up at me from the back corner of his safety lane.

Time for almighty Ghost to act the fool. Why not? My feline housemates were already doing it.

Tried to move the cabinet. Too heavy. Unloaded the shelves, piling the contents all over the living room couch. Moved the cabinet. Mouse already gone.

Huh? Where?

Ah. Skittering around into the living room–under the recliner? Flashlight says no. Gato and Harvey both paying suspicious attention to the area around my tennis shoes, which I was not wearing, thank you very much. Human flips shoe. Mouse dashes out, heads over and under the couch. Back and forth along the wall. Human considers moving heavy couch. Must. Rearrange. All. Furniture. In. Pursuit. Of. One-ounce. Tricky mouse!

Be vewy, vewy quiet! We’re hunting wodents!

But no. Cats are now focused in kitchen, noses pointing toward kitchen range. Open low storage drawer on stove, shine flashlight. No mouse.

Cats remain on sentry duty for some time but mouse has vanished, at least for now. Enquiring minds ponder possibilities.

–Mouse fatally wounded despite appearances, will die in house and stink after a while? If so, nothing to do but wait until nose announces carcass location.

–Mouse not very smart despite brilliant escape-and-evasion tactics, will make appearance later? Who knows? House cats good to have.

–Mouse got message and left house for good? Possible. Any mouse could climb wall behind stove, squeeze through hole made for electric fan cable, across behind corner lazy Susan, through other hole to get under sink, then down-hole past water pipes into underbelly insulation.

Keystone Cops comedy chase time: 44 minutes.

Score: Mighty Mouse, 1. Human plus two cats, 0. A one-ounce mouse had just outmaneuvered three hunters weighing a total of nearly 200 pounds.

Hilarious. Not to Mighty Mouse, of course. But to me, amused despite myself, yes. America’s Funniest Home Video, sans video.

Two hours after the high speed chase, Gato is prowling the kitchen again, on the alert for mouse monskers. He wants his toy back. It’s good exercise for him, sedentary as he gets otherwise, eight years of age and still ready for rodent battle.

Harvey is less jazzed. An indoor-outdoor cat who’s lived by his wits and reflexes on the street in the past, he’s napping on the carpet by my feet as I type.

Human me is scratching my bald head. One part of me has to admire the survival skills of a mouse like that. Another part thinks it would be better if Gato had been a bit more serious and made the kill. A third part is just as glad there is no need for blood-and-guts cleanup on Aisle 5, while a fourth part is working to figure out the best places to position whack-’em mousetraps (once I buy some) where meeces will find the cheeses but kitties will not have access to spring loaded paw-snappers.

If Mighty Mouse did escape the premises more or less intact, he’s probably being elected King of the Cheese Nibbling Nation as we speak. Who’s going to vote against a war hero of that magnitude, a regular Rodent Rambo?

2:00 a.m. No visual sign of Houdini Mouse but mouse-stink emanating from behind kitchen range is noticeably nasty. Move stove out…no mouse. Two little something-marks on floor that might be signs of passage. Suspect wodent felt safe here for the first time since encounter with House Monsters, let down adrenaline along with #1 and #2 and something else, an odor no one who’s ever smelled it before could fail to identify. Pee-yew! What a great aroma to go with herbs and spices, meats and rices when range is in use. Spray lots of Lysol. Helps for a while. Spray again. Top off with Febreze which seems to do the trick. Whew! Maybe, hopefully, won’t have to pull stove all the way out, unplug, scrub floor and walls, etc.

Will know come the dawn.

Cats back in kitchen on high alert. Will pretend I didn’t see that.

7 thoughts on “The Montana Mighty Mouse Comedy Chase

  1. We got the normal Fall invasion and Blake has performed admirably. She may be a dog, but she not only catches but also kills with a shake of her head. Then she drops the little monsters and leaves them in the middle of the floor. Yesterday, she manage to kill 4 in 26 hours. They were all babies, but she got them all. I have D-Con set up to catch momma mouse. She seems to be too smart or quick for Blake. I have seen Blake honing her skills all summer in the backyard. I can’t seem to bring myself to kill them once they are in a trap, but I do not mind throwing the carcass in the trash can outside. I also can’t seem to release them from the trap.

  2. Mice in the house can be a problem, and I try to speak with them Soul to Soul first before resorting to glue traps and poison (NYC mice seem to understand how to avoid the spring traps). I personally hate having to kill them, but my home and my wife are not mice-friendly. My wife actually doesn’t want any animals inside our home besides me… so no cats to help with the mice, though I’d love to have a siamese cat again. 🙂

    Manny

  3. Becky:

    I was thinking of Blake the entire time I was writing this. Don’t dare use D-Con because “what if” Gato or Harvey did someday kill and devour a mouse that had just taken a dose? Probably good odds that wouldn’t happen but I don’t dare risk the consequences. With a shake-and-drop technique like Blake’s, no problem, but with two cats….

    I understand your inability to kill a wounded, trapped mouse. Completely. It’s no fun, though I can steel myself to it when necessary. We were raised that way, believing for one thing that leaving any wounded animal to suffer was a blight on our honor. So to speak; I don’t recall the word “honor” ever actually entering into it. My mother used to whack ’em in the head with a stick of firewood, but that was when we had wood heat only, no electrical or gas stoves, and she (Mom) was first up in the mornings to get breakfast ready and thus first to check the traps.

    Releasing a dead one from a trap is not a challenge for me…except when the carcass sticks to the trap. That does up the ick factor. But again, being able to handle that was part of growing up in a log home on a ranch. Mousies aplenty.

    This morning (10:30 a.m.), I finally pulled the range out and unplugged it. Pinned the remaining odor source down to a specific area, almost a point, though I couldn’t see anything causing it. Swabbed the section of floor down with hot water and Dawn, dried it with paper towels, then put down a thick layer of Lysol spray. It’s dried now and seems okay, though I’m none too sure it will stay that way after I put the stove back in place. Hope so. Got pies to bake this afternoon.

    Maybe it’s time to think about introducing mice (and pack rats) to the Michael Jade story. Got a thought, a bit of a Blake-inspired plot that’s been rumbling around in my brain for a while. 😀
    ——————————————–
    Manny:

    I’ve never had much luck talking things over Soul to Soul with mice. Maybe it’s a gap in my skill set.

    Gato is definitely part Siamese. On the straightaway, his extra weight slows him down some, but he’s lightning quick on the turns and retains impressive paw speed. That’s his picture in the header photo. Got red-eye from the flash, but that seemed appropriate for the key predator in this little tail…uh, tale.

    When the time comes to build at Holy Waters Ranch (2028?), making the structure 100% mouseproof is one of my priorities. Few buildings are, but the Border Fort is a shining exception, thanks to the heavy, thick coats of concrete stucco that cover the walls all the way from roof to mother Earth. I learned a lot from building that place, much of it rather old school. For instance, the water main stub and propane gas stub must both rise from under the center of the dwelling so that a concrete foundation can enclose the space with no openings whatsoever except for the vent screens. Which means (old school) crawlspace access must also be inside, through a trapdoor in the floor, not through an opening in the foundation wall.

  4. I was worried about using poison too, but I have never found a chewed on mouse. Blake doesn’t seem to like to chew on them, just likes to get them out of her dog food. The terrier in her makes her an excellent mouser though.

  5. Yeah, I get that.

    The cleanup effort behind the stove seems to have paid off. No more nasty mouse smell, at least that my nose can detect. Stove is hooked back up and baking rhubarb pie. Apple to follow.

  6. Cats are so funny. My indoor cats don’t have the luxury of live toys (at least not so far!), but one of my outside kitties is pretty good squirrel-er. The only thing is, is she eats the tail and the head and leaves the rest of it where I can find – even if I don’t want to!

  7. You have one eccentric little hunter there! At least, so it would seem to me. You’d think the middle parts would be tastier than the two ends, eh?

    Pam used to have it worse than that, long before she met me, when she was raising Great Danes. Yeah, I know those are not cats, heh, but her big boy stud dog would hunt javelinas–which are tough enough as adults in a herd to hold off coyotes but not humongous Great Danes. She knew they’d been hunting javelinas because Thor (her boy dog) would bring her the heads. Which are less “gutsy” than squirrel middles but certainly a whole lot bigger. 😀

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