I've been trying for some time now to create a home atmosphere which is inhospitable, but not deadly, to mice. I'm exactly the kind of girl who can't stand the thought of dead little mouse families and wonder how they'll suffer if I poison them in any way. I'm definitely not the trap sort, as that would bring me face to face with my crimes. No, I'd just like them to stay away from my food, the dog's food, and, well, anything I might want to use in any way. I wouldn't even care if they wanted to come in and, say, sleep behind the washing machine when it was cold. I don't care if they're here. I just don't want them fouling up my stuff.
They have failed to see what a good thing they have going here. They are not taking my subtle hints, though they are very smart. I've never actually seen one of these little beasts. I did not even know they were around until this spring. One morning, I put on my hiking boots so that I could take the dog for a romp and found cat food in the toe of one boot. There are moments that make you question your sanity and make it clear to you that you might very well be insane and have no idea that's the case. On this morning I looked at the cat food and I looked at my boot, which I'd worn not three days before, and I looked again at cat food and then I looked around my living room to make sure I was, in fact, where I thought I was. I looked at Bug, the dog, and checked my watch. (I don't know why I checked my watch, but at the time it seemed like a good thing to do.) I thought over and over again, "I don't have a cat. I don't have a cat." I used to have a cat, but he doesn't live here now and this is what made the whole affair quite confusing.
It turns out that mice do this. It seems like a questionable move, but they actually take their tiny little selves on tiny little feet to one house—a house with a cat—and get themselves a piece of cat food or two, and then carry this cat food on tiny little legs across not at all tiny yards, comparatively, and then stash them in their little hidey holes in other people's houses. I'm betting houses without cats are preferable. Houses with dogs like Bug are fine. I recently found another stash of cat food all of six inches from where he lays his head at night. Apparently, he can't be bothered.
So I've now got a home that's just the right place for a mouse, and I have to find a way to keep them out. Really, if they'd stayed away from my shoes and my kitchen counters, they could have kept their sleeping spot behind the washing machine and we'd all have gotten along just fine. I used to live in a yurt in rural Oregon, and I had a similar arrangement with the mice there. They left my stuff alone and if they wandered where they shouldn't I just put them outside and we were all quite happy. But these city mice just don't know when to stop. So I guess I'm going to have to bring in the big guns in the form of my Country Cat. I dare them to steal his food.