As far as I know, nobody in my family, not parents, aunts, uncles, ever owned a cat until my niece adopted a beautiful smoky grey long hair who started as an adorable kitten and decamped to a more attractive home next door as soon as he reached adulthood. She was nonplussed by his lack of fidelity, having being raised, like myself, with a confident expectation of the unadulterated adoration delivered by the line of much-loved canines who had filled our homes with love, fun, half-buried bones and hair throughout the years.
So why, you might ask, did I adopt two cats? Well, the situation is this – Baskerville Manor is one of those late 1950’s houses that were built with those open-type cement blocks. We always had the odd mouse, which was summarily dealt with. Over time, the house got older, wear and tear set in and eventually we were flooded twice in two years. It was like giving mice a VIP “Access All Areas” pass. The open cement blocks provided a highway to heaven as far as they were concerned. As time went by and the family grew up the number of people in the house dwindled until there were just two, and then one person living in it. There are three elderly canines so most of the time, it is really quiet. Ideal mouse territory.
As the mouse population increased, they got bolder. First it sounded like there was one or maybe two, tap-dancing behind the skirting boards in the kitchen. Then they began to tramp around the whole house as though they were wearing heavy-duty work boots. They danced on the kitchen worktops. They worked their way into sacks of dog food, and left their calling cards everywhere.
I can deal with the odd mousetrap, but I don’t have the heart for mass murder. I tried the humane traps, which caused hysteria among the dogs. There was also the problem of where to take the wee not-so cowering and not so timorous beasties when I caught them – dump them at the end of the back garden and they saw it as a nice day out with a handy hike home. Put them in the car and drive somewhere to dump them? Not likely, they would probably end up infesting the car too.
The next thing I resorted to was the magic plug in sonic thing, and for one glorious winter, they seemed to have backed off, but by August 2013 I was finding the familiar little trails in all sorts of places – nowhere was safe. There was mouse poop on the sonic device. The last straw landed one Saturday morning in early October. Looking forward to a nice cup of coffee and some toast, I opened the breadbin and found five of the little horrors munching on the last two slices of bread. They didn’t even have the grace to scatter – they sat and looked at me and were only short of giving me the finger. True Northside mice.
When I recovered from that I went upstairs to get dressed and found another bunch of them having a party in my underwear drawer. So it was time to bring in the special forces. Decision made, the existing population of critters was going to expand.
New correspondents to Baskerville Manor, Mr Kit-Kat and Little Jet-Black will be relating their stories and giving their impressions of life as Baskerville Beasties on their own pages over the next few weeks.
Mouse picture linked from Preparedness Pro