One of my DAILY.NOT.TO.BE.MISSED blogs, Mrs. Blandings, today has the subject of a recent visit to her home by a tiny creature (that would be of the mouse variety). Which reminded me of my several dealings with these as well.
Living in the South and in a house that was raised on piers (think very wet ground), we never really saw these – and well, with five girls of various ages and at one point a dachshund, a black lab and a tabby male cat… little creatures would have been treated as lovely little toys!
However moving to Big Cities on the East Coast (Washington and then New York) and living in small/smallish/smaller apartments over the years, the question became not IF the mice would appear but WHEN.
My first NYC apt was in a VERY BAD neighborhood. We had a hole in the bathroom floor right next to the toilet…kept stuffed with various rags and newspapers but well, mice can squeeze thru anything.
After about eighteen months in that apt (and to help with a broken romance), I got a tiny kitten who grew up to become EMMA my favorite ever cat. Once she relaxed and came out of my front bedroom she took to her task quite well and kept us creature free.
Emma and I and Miranda (a gray tabby) moved to several other apts in the City and then to Park Slope where we settled for awhile in a lovely brownstone on a block right off of Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza.
However, time marches on and sadly Miranda (Oct 99) and then Emma died (Feb 01). I was bereft; it was a bad time in my life otherwise as well. Not.good.times.
There were several years during that time, where I was working 18 hour days and not at home very much at all (obviously). All of a sudden it seems, I noticed little black droppings in the kitchen, on the stove, and the floor and then at night if I went into the windowless kitchen, I would hear the tell tale swishing and flurry of movement under cabinets and the refrigerator.
It took awhile to figure out where it came from – the landlord had totally renovated the back apt on my floor and after completion there was some problem with the bathroom which backed to mine. So instead of disturbing the NEW tile work, the workers had come in and cut a 1×1 foot hole under my sink AND LEFT IT OPEN!
At this point, I was a long sitting tenant and the landlord wanted me out (to raise the rent etc), he didn’t care about fixing the hole. And so I just took a cookie sheet and sealed it with duct tape.
However, by then the damage had been well done, they were everywhere! It was pretty bad. So that along with the idea that it was time – spurred me to adopt another cat. Actually two. A cat and her only kitten.
Cordelia had been a stray (although I think she had been abandoned because she was litterbox trained). Her kitten, Katie, is the only survivor of Cordelia’s first litter.
God Bless her, Cordelia had those mice gone within two weeks. She had a lot of fun too.
Of course dealing with the remains of the mice was ongoing – and not really totally conquered until I moved in 05… NEVER AGAIN is all I can say.
I went thru SEVERAL bottles of Clorox bleach cleaning EVERYTHING in the Kitchen and the Bathroom and all shelves etc. and MANY MANY loads of wash.
And all was well…. until….
At some point in the first winter here, I noticed that Cordelia was spending time in the kitchen – in that very familiar (to cat owners) HUNTING crouch. And she would make occasional approaches to two spots. One was at the corner of the cabinets next to the outside wall (we have baseboard heaters). The other spot was in front of the Sink Unit – Its one of those ALL IN ONE sink, drainboard and cabinet affairs. Like the photo on the right – but without the drawers on the right – just two doors. (and not that big).
I have only seen ONE mouse in all the time we have been here – I had noticed that the girls had been very interested in the bottom of a set of bookcases in the den – they are just opposite the kitchen door. One night, there was a lot of activity in the den – much growling and scurrying around. Coming in to investigate, I saw the familiar little furry creature skittering under the entertainment armoire We all sat and waited and eventually it must have come out and been eaten cause I gave up and went to bed and haven’t seen one since.
Ironically, the landlord had an exterminator come by last winter – it turns out that the ONLY apt in this 4 apt building WITHOUT cats had mice! Of course I didn’t let him spray anywhere as we are fine!
The girls are still very vigilant and are still often found in the kitchen at their “posts” I have great confidence that they will keep all under control!
After posting this and THEN looking at my big wall calendar
I see that TODAY is my girls’ Birthday!
my dear Cordelia and Katie!
You bring comfort and love
into my life
and joy every day!