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Life Chez Dee Episode #129: Cat and Mouse

This is a little story, as the title suggests, about a cat and a mouse. The title brings the Tom and Jerry duo to mind I expect, and thinking of this infamous pair and the chaos they leave in their wake, you wouldn’t be wrong in assuming there may be similarities in the story I’m about to tell you. The cat who features at the start of my story is my lovely, yet useless cat Pablo, and the mouse he decided to bring in through the cat flap.

Pablo, is the loveliest cat anyone could wish for, but he really is the most useless cat imaginable, and I think that this mouse which he caught was actually his first catch in over two years, and clearly he wanted to bring it inside and show me! Not being able to keep control of his catch, the mouse tasted freedom and scuttled under the piano! Much poking and prodding by my good self, resulted in the mouse taking cover under the half inch gap under the bookcase, which I might add covers the whole wall of the dining room! This bookcase is laden with cookery books, photo albums, arts and crafts materials, stationery and paper, and much, much more. Justin then has an idea that we should pull the bookcase out to reveal the mouse and flush it out!... and so we begin this [frankly daunting] task of emptying it. Piles and piles of books and paper and boxes are now placed around the dining room like stalagmites growing from the floor of a cave.

Duly emptied, Justin leans the bookcase forward and sitting looking very worried was our little rodent friend. Not liking this exposure, it scuttles around the dining room, under the table, behind the large oak chest, which was the next piece of furniture to be pulled out.

Where is the cat? You may be wondering. Well, useless cat is observing the chaos and looking on as if we’re crazy people. The sequence of events becomes a little blurry at this point, but the next I remember is that the mouse scurries under the cooker, which lead to it running and hiding under the fridge. “Oh no” I’m now in full flow professing how I’m not going to bed with a mouse under the fridge! Justin leans the fridge forward, and I’m even more in panic mode now as I’m worrying about all the jars and bottles rolling of the fridge shelves and falling out of the door; indeed will the door open by itself if the fridge is leaning … and the mouse is nowhere to be seen! So where is it?

I’m now thinking that the mouse must have scuttled underneath the kitchen units. I’m also thinking that if we can’t catch this wretched mouse, then what happens overnight? I don’t want it in the other rooms; I don’t want it upstairs either!

I go to get my other (non-useless) cat, Claude, who is an excellent mouser. However, he is at this point looking panic stricken at all the kerfuffle in the kitchen and dining room. He’s likely worried that we’re packing for holiday and he’s going to be packed off to the cattery! (I must add at this point that I don’t normally pull out all the furniture when we’re packing for holiday … but you get the picture of why he’s worried). Claude isn’t hanging around, and retreats to the safety of the lounge.

Not wanting the mouse to go in the other rooms or upstairs, I have the bright idea of putting the kickboards from the bottom of the kitchen units, across the gap which divides the kitchen and dining room. I’m well aware that mice are more than able to climb, and my 6” high board isn’t going to keep a mouse in a room, but the idea was that I wanted to contain it in the kitchen, and I figured if it decided to run, then this would channel it towards the kitchen door!

Meanwhile …

I happened to mention about my dilemma to my facebook friends, and I appealed for some advice as to what to do. Answering my desperate plea was the lovely Julie Norman, who many know from Park View. Julie messaged me to say that she had a humane mouse trap. It was very late when she messaged and she was about to go to bed, but agreed to stay up a few more minutes if I wanted to borrow the trap. Without hesitation I threw on my coat and shoes and trotted down the road to her house. Julie (ready for bed) handed me the trap, with some free guidance to put chocolate in there to entice the mouse, rather than cheese.

Feeling happier that I was armed with the equipment I needed to sort this out, I marched straight into the kitchen, forgetting about the stalagmite obstacles and bargeboard fences across the room and tripped quite spectacularly, landing flat on the hard tiled kitchen floor!

I was hurt, badly, and there was a lot of screaming! I couldn’t move my arm and the pain was beyond description. I knew I’d done something pretty nasty and didn’t know if it was a break or a dislocation, but my shoulder had dropped and the pain didn’t ease.

Justin called his mum – who had also just gone to bed – to come and sit with Oliver whilst he drove me to A&E. I told him to go, as I’d be ages, and they were unlikely to let him in anyway as still strict covid rules at the hospital.

I was in hospital all night – 7 hours to be precise – grossly understaffed, and grossly inundated with casualties. Ninety odd people in A&E, corridors littered with people on beds awaiting admittance … and four doctors! Fast forward, and I’ve been seen, had x-ray, and nothing broken or dislocated, just soft tissue damage. Time and rest, and lots of ibuprofen was on the cards for the next few weeks!

I call Justin to collect me, and the mouse is still roaming apparently. He’d gone to bed and shut the dining room door. However, when we get home, the dining room door has been shoulder barged open by Claude, he’s found, caught and killed the mouse, and is sitting next to it in the lounge. Done – caught – no messing – 5 min job - that’s the way to do it!

It is now several weeks since this incident, and I still have some pain when reaching, twisting, carrying, but I am using the arm, but without overdoing it. Although I've been in lots of pain, it could have been so much worse, and had I not landed on my arm, I would have landed on my face! So I did safe myself from expensive dental and facial reconstruction work. So the moral of the story is … "Never attempt to find mice which may be lurking under furniture, but allow your efficient cat to do their job and earn their keep."

Pablo, meanwhile, continues to earn his keep as a lap cat/hot water bottle.

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