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.
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.