We have a mouse.
Wait. “We have a mouse” could be mistaken as a conscious decision on the part of the Offutt family to get into the car, drive down to the Rodent World superstore and bring home a little furry poop machine.
This mouse is no pet. It is a criminal and will be dealt with harshly.
It’s not that a mouse is the worst pest to infiltrate a home. In June, a surveillance camera captured images of a black bear forcing its way into a Vail, Colorado, apartment. The friendly fellow banged on the piano keys, then ate food from the refrigerator.
Seriously. That was in USA Today.
I grew up on a farm with fields surrounding our home, house motto, “Free Dinner,” so mice were common enough. Fine. I can deal with mice. They’re mammals. I like mammals, but that doesn’t mean it was welcome in Chez Offutt.
“I’m putting up traps,” I announced, a jar of peanut butter in one hand, steel springs of death in the other.
I shouldn’t have told my 10-year-old daughter. In the past few months she’s become a pacifist, a vegetarian and is asking a lot of questions about Buddhism. That’s not like an Offutt at all. We’re more about eating bacon and watching movies in which things blow up.
“Don’t kill it,” she pleaded. “Catch it and let it go.”
Catch it and let it go? What was she talking about? That’s not the Offutt Way. The Offutt Way is the violent way with plenty of cursing. Offutts have dealt with mice for generations by terminating them Schwarzenegger-style, even if it means destroying part of the house. I wasn’t going to catch it and let it go.
“OK, honey. I will,” I lied.
This mouse was trespassing, probably eating things that have dropped between the stove and the cabinet and is pooping in places I haven’t found. I have every right to protect my home with deadly force.
However, before I took down my prey, I had to get to know it better.
• There are at least 30 species of mice worldwide.
• Mice are nocturnal.
• They eat 15 to 20 times per day.
• They poop between 40 and 100 times a day.
• Mice are good swimmers.
• They can jump a foot high.
• Mice have been recorded using a frying pan as a weapon.
• Their main predator is the cat.
Wow. I learned a lot about mice trying to figure out how to kill one. I also learned a lot about our cat. Our cat is useless.
People ask a lot of dogs. Sit, speak, fetch, get off my leg. However, we don’t ask much from cats because we know that’s exactly what we’ll get – not much.
Cats act independently of humans, most often ignoring us unless we’re trying to read or work on a computer. However, cats do have a job – one job. That’s to catch mice.
Like our daughter, apparently, our cat is a pacifist and a vegetarian because it’s shown no interest in catching that mouse.
“Snap.” Wait, did that sound come from the kitchen?
Oh, yeah. Who needs a cat.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.