In an attempt to rid my kitchen of the mouse that seems to have taken up residence — the one that my cat has befriended, broken bread with, even — I decided that I needed to procure some mouse traps. To this end, I did what anyone in my position would do — I went on the internet to research “humane” traps.
Either I was misled or simply confused. Whichever the case, I sent my husband a link to one of your more “inhumane” traps, which he dutifully followed, as a mouse to the cheese, and he it brought home last night. The minute I opened the package I knew that I had made a mistake, but at that point, I really just wanted to be able to open my under-the-sink cabinet without trepidation. So, I baited it and set it up. I convinced myself that death would be quick and relatively painless for our little intruder.
My daughter, the compassionate Fangette, took one look at the trap and FLIPPED OUT! She carried on about what a terrible person I was. “Mom, how could you even think about using THAT THING? Do you know what that will do to his little mouse body? I see that you bought the kind where you don’t have to see the damage you’ll cause. (I had) I’ll tell you something, if you use that trap, if you catch the mouse in it, I’m going to open it up and leave it out on the counter for you. You know, so that you can see the consequences of your actions! Really, Mom, you know I’ll do it. I’m not squeamish about these things!” (She would. She’s not.)
Truthfully, I wasn’t happy about killing anything myself — I “shoo” bees out the window whenever possible. I relocate spiders to moister environs under the tree outside. Admittedly, those centipedes are a little too quick for me, usually I have no choice but to squash them. But, I try not to go on killing sprees, even where insects are concerned. Really, I do.
Once, I had a cricket in my house for quite some time. I knew it was there, I could hear the damn thing cricketing or whatever you call it. Try as I might, I just couldn’t find it. Until, one day, I did find it — in my purse while I was at the grocery store. Yup. Damn thing JUMPED out of my bag as I went to retrieve my wallet. Oh, well. Now he was the grocery store’s problem as far as I was concerned. I took some comfort in the fact that at least I wouldn’t have to spend any more time trying to catch it nor would I be the instrument of its death. Plus, I had taken him on a little trip. It may have been his last trip ever, but it was probably further than he’d ever been in his life. So, that was something.
I removed the death trap. I asked Fangette if she would check the internet for “humane” traps. I explained to her that I did not want any of those traps that claim to be humane — the ones where the mouse gets stuck on some sticky good that’s attached to the bottom of the trap — because those are NOT in any way humane. I know this from experience.
Once, my mother-in-law had a mouse problem in her garage. She lived alone and, frankly, while she was a wonderful and kind-hearted person in almost every way, her compassion did NOT extend to mice (or to spiders, ants, bees, or anything that did NOT belong in the house). She was a Christian. She did not believe in karma. She believed that she was sending them to a better place — mouse heaven or wherever they could find salvation.
She bought “humane” traps and asked Fang and I to set them up in the garage. Having little to no experience with mice or traps ourselves, we obliged. Well, let me just tell you, it was one of the more horrible experiences of my life. At some point in the middle of the night, I awakened to find my mother-in-law standing over me. She asked me if I could hear “that noise”. I hadn’t, up until then, been hearing anything outside of my husband snoring beside me. I was asleep, for crying out loud!
Normally my mother-in-law was the type of woman to suffer in silence. But, not this time. This time she wanted a comrade. She also needed someone to do something about “that noise”. That someone, apparently, was supposed to be me. “That noise”, as it turned out, was a mouse squealing to get out of the “humane” traps that we had set.
I attempted to wake my husband gently, but he sleeps like the dead. I finally had to resort to shaking him and shouting something crazy like, “Get the hell up, that mouse is trapped and it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. You have to do something about it!” He just mumbled something like, “Okay.” before he turned over and continued on with what he had been doing — trying to get his ten hours in.
My mother-in-law and I were left to become familiar with the sound a mouse makes when it is trapped by sticky goo. It’s a disturbing sound. It’s all the more disturbing when you know that you are the people responsible for trapping it in sticky goo to begin with.
At some point, when we were no longer able to listen to the poor thing, I rallied my husband from his slumber. We made him take it outside. We encouraged him to try and free it. He said that he couldn’t do it, that the mouse was both uncooperative and just too embedded in the glue. Clearly my husband had done his level best to release the mouse, but was unsuccessful. He definitely did NOT want to talk about it. The only thing he did say, upon returning from his errand of death, was “Yeah. Those traps are really ‘humane’.” He said this as he slammed the bedroom door.
To say that I had learned my lesson regarding “humane” traps that included sticky substances would be an understatement. This time around I was determined to either find something truly humane or to just go ahead and use the snappy ones — instant death had to be better than prolonged suffering.
I’m happy to report that Fangette did her research and we are now in possession of what looks a little bit like a “mouse hotel”. I’m thinking of using champagne as bait. Perhaps I’ll throw in a party hat, too. It’s a shame it isn’t big enough to fit the cat, too. I think he’d enjoy doing the cha-cha and tossing back some bubbly with his newfound rodent friends.
photo credit: mouse
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