Friday, September 25, 2009

Cat and Mouse Game--With a Twist

A sliding glass door off our bedroom leads to a screened-in deck area. In the late 80s we put in a hot tub and over the next 10 or so years used it often. I’m not sure when exactly we quit using it--probably about the time that I went back to college in 1995. We found that it was more work and expense than it was worth. So now it sits empty.

Well, not quite empty, rain water from a leaky skylight overhead along with rain that gets in through the surrounding screen accumulates in the bottom and it’s not always a pretty sight.

And this is not a pretty story—but one that may make you laugh and cringe as I unload a significant share of my dignity along the way.

There’s no easy way to say this so here it is: We have an ongoing problem with mice getting into the hot tub. And drowning. Not just one at a time either. From the looks of things, I can only think of a group of mice out in search of a good time and before you know it, things get out of hand and somebody ends up in the water. The other mice watch in horror and another one ends up jumping in thinking he’s going to save his buddy. Sometimes it ends there, other times, the scene resembles the grisly ending of a horror film massacre.

Protocol for cadaver removal involves a verbal report to Sam usually something along the lines of “We’ve got some floaters!” In a perfect world, they would be disposed of within minutes of said notification. End of story.

However, this is truly a case of out of sight, out of mind. Factor in a week or two (or three) of hot humid weather and, well, that’s as much as I can say about the situation. Eventually they are removed, but now there are large amounts of Clorox Clean-up and gagging involved.
Perhaps someday I will summon the courage to tell you what happens in the winter--but for now two words: Donner Party
This past fall, two feral cats started hanging around outside. We noticed a marked decrease in the mouse problem—inside and out—and embarked on a concerted effort to encourage the cats to stick around by putting out fresh food and water daily. The calico moved on but a handsome black male has taken up residence. I’ve been calling him Salem because he reminds me of the cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that there was a dead mouse in the hot tub again—the first in a really long time. I reminded Sam a couple times and even tried to talk Zac into getting it out. When I checked it the other day while in the porch putting some clothes on the rack to dry, it was gone and I assumed Sam had finally gotten around to dipping it out.

The following morning, I was making the bed and looked out the bedroom window overlooking the hot tub and noticed Salem sitting in the hot tub looking intently into the murky water. Something about the scene made me uneasy….surely he didn’t….did he??? And if so, how???

You know what I’m going to tell you now, don’t you. No, Sam did not remove the dead mouse. Zac did not remove the mouse. I did not remove the mouse.

Salem the cat's valuation has soared--and if I could ever capture his fishing technique on camera, Hollywood here we come. We may upgrade his brand of kibble. And I’m thinking about getting him his own little fishing pole and hat just like Fluffy’s.

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