Mouse in the House

Last night I woke up around 1am to the sound of our two cats scrambling in the front corner of the bedroom after something, with accompanying odd noises. Something behind a row of books in a low bookcase there, apparently. I turned on the light, started pulling the books out onto the carpet; something ran under the end of the curtain. I saw–a snake? a tail? The cats were curious, not aggressive. (Like Le Guin’s Pard in NO TIME TO SPARE, our indoor cats don’t seem to have a killer instinct.) I went to turn on the ceiling light. Something, now obviously a rodent and no snake, sped across the room and into the bathroom. The cats trotted after. It went into the tiny toilet room, I didn’t see exactly where. On inspiration, I pulled Potsticker out of the room and closed the toilet room door. I would deal with it later.

(I immediately understood how a rodent could have gotten into our bedroom. There’s a small balcony at the front of the room, with a sliding glass door and screen, and the screen has a tear in it at the lower corner, from our previous cat. I’d blocked the tear to have the door open for ventilation, sufficiently so that cats couldn’t go out, but not enough so that a rodent might not sneak in. Thing is, this is a *third floor* bedroom and balcony. Presumably rodents can climb stucco walls that high..? Now I won’t open that sliding door again until we fix the screen.)

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, a shower and getting dressed, I opened the toilet room door. And saw nothing. I’d closed the main bathroom door, I had a box primed with a cheese lure, and a broom, and had thought to sweep the rodent into the box and quickly shut the lids and take it outside. But nothing was there, not behind the toilet, not behind the rolls of extra t.p.; the window screen was intact. How could it have gotten out?

I closed the main bathroom door and left the cheese box. Checked an hour later. Still nothing. Checked the toilet room again. And saw it — saw the end of a tail extruding from the bottom of the toilet bowl plunger, now on its side on the floor. I saved the cheese, got the box, quickly picked up the plunger, and plunged it into the box to seal whatever was inside, then walked the plunger and box a couple hundred feet down the street to the base of the undeveloped hillside around the corner, and released it… Had to shake the plunger a bit. I think it was a rat. It galumphed up the hillside.

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