The year it got really bad was 2002. I remember it because it hit its peak right after Indigo was born. Every freaking time we turned around, the cats had a mouse cornered. The good news was the fact they didn’t get far into the house – but that didn’t make the bad news (the fact they were getting into the house) any better.
The neighbor behind us had moved out that fall – and the owner had discovered that she had just been throwing the trash and crap down in the basement. His workers pulled out 5 huge drop-box sized dumpsters full of trash out of that house. And, with it, the mouse population was displaced. And, were finding their way into the house through the mudroom was our suspicion.
The night we hit rock bottom was the night we set and caught about 10 mice in the span of two hours. Garbanzo was just lamenting the fact he kept hearing the trap snap within 5 minutes of setting it when it snapped again – almost on cue. While the comedic timing was perfect, the situation was not funny. We had a two month old and a two year old – and this was NOT okay. Being the good hormonal post-pregnancy mom, I kept seeing disease and illness infecting my family. This had to end now!
We sent the girls over to a friend’s house, and tore apart the mudroom. We pulled EVERYTHING out of the place as we knew this is where they were coming into the house. It did not take long to discover that they were coming in through a hole in the floor. The previous owners when converting the side porch into a mudroom had drilled a hole into the floor for pipes for the washer. Any moron could have guessed that this was not going to work. There are two doors that needed to open and shut, and the location of their hole for the pipes would not have allowed for one of the doors to open. Oops. Instead of blocking the hole, they literally just made sure the washer was over the top of it. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. We fixed the hole, sealed up all cracks and crevices, and declared the place mouse-free.
We found out last winter when our pipes froze during the cold snap just how good of a sealing job we did. We had to bail water out of the mudroom. It just sat in there about 3 inches deep. (We had disconnected the hoses and opened the values to allow for thawing. We weren’t home when it thawed.) I never found a crack or a whole to drain out itself. Again, I guess our job was done well.
This year, I suspect our mouse problem is due in part for the chickens and their yummy chicken feed. They are getting into the house due to the fact the backdoor stays open to let the kids and dogs in and out of the house. The weather went from 100+ degrees down to a high of maybe 68 degrees in the span of one week. The overnight temps, I suspect, drove a mouse inside…..(just yesterday it was maybe 50 degrees) through an open door or window, more than likely. (We live in a pretty much mosquito free zone, so about half our windows don’t currently have screens which until now has not been a concern. The other day when I mentioned our window replacements – that’s remedying the no-screen situation.)
And, as I discovered Saturday, the mice are thriving – on cracked corn otherwise known as chicken scratch. I know they are because I went to put the chicken scratch into a sealed container and found three small holes in the bottom of the bag. Further confirmation came when my female calico – the mouse hunter extraordinaire – heard a mouse and leaped into action – quite literally. She didn’t get it, but trapped it inside of a bag – a bag Garbanzo ended up taking outside with the live mouse in it.
We have resupplied ourselves with traps. We have also armed ourselves with outdoor traps which is recommended – non-poisonous since we have kids and animals. We will begin again the process of de-mousing and mouse-proofing the house. This is truly when the cats earn their keep. While the male cat is too old to do it (he can barely hear us let alone a small rodent), I know the calico will do her job. She has already killed two outside that we know of. And provided the girls quite the “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” moment when she caught and tortured a mouse right in front of them yesterday. When we came home last night, she was on the hunt for the next one. She had it trapped in a bush.
Meanwhile, inside the house, Garbanzo has trapped 6 mice (my husband not the cat). Yes, 6 MICE! We believe that we have one more. The trap under the sink was licked clean of its peanut butter when we got home. Let’s hope this is the last of these fucking rodents. I HATE mice! I know – who really loves them….but my hatred for mice in the house goes deep. Here’s to hoping that we are on the downward side of this mouse thing.