lizzy and the tin cat

Right, so, remember how I had this mouse-mate house-mate named Oscar? And he got shitty, literally, so I sneakily set up a live-trap called the “Tin Cat” to capture him and take him far, far away?

Well, this is what happened.

So I set up the Tin Cat, which looks like this:



Also, just for fun, I googled reviews of this device, because I was curious as to what the kind of people who review mouse traps would say. Some excerpts:

“Leaves mice sweaty but ready to live outside again.”

“Don’t use glue sheets/traps inside of your Tin Mouse. Dude, that is like the most cruel thing you can do. The bloody things should be illegal. It would be kinder to just nail the mice to the driveway and back over them slowly with a steam roller.”

“Although the description claims that no bait is needed, I’ve found that peanut butter works well for mice and salami works well for shrews.” (Who the crap has a shrew problem? I’ve never heard of such a thing. I mean, shrews, yes, but not a domestic shrew issue.)

“All I catch is mouse poop, lots and lots of mouse poop.”

Right. Anyway. So back to my own Tin Cat story. I set it up in my kitchen, which is Oscar’s prime hangout zone, and checked it pretty much fanatically the rest of the day. (It’s amazing how quickly it became a new hobby. I thought of it as an activity that you could call Surprise Pet!) Late that evening, after my evening program, Mike stopped by to check it out. (Clearly park housing is the kind of place where a new mouse trap is kind of a big deal.) I peered through the side grates, was like, “Damn, no mouse,” and opened the top, holding the trap between Mike and I at about chest-level.


there was Oscar.

He’d been hiding, the scoundrel, in the space between the two openings, the only space not visible to me. Mike and I both screamed, in a prolonged, horrifying sort of way. Oscar froze, momentarily, and then wisely took a leap for it, which was precisely the moment that my reflexes finally kicked in and I decided to slam the lid of the trap shut. Unfortunately, this was right as Oscar hurled himself out. The lid closed tightly across the middle of the tail, and I’m shrieking, and Oscar’s dangling above the floor, and just as I’m thinking, “Maybe I can carry him outside this way!” the tail snaps, Oscar drops to the floor and races to the safe haven of under-the-couch, and Mike and I are left staring at an inch and a half of fuzzy mouse tail, which is the most depressing looking thing ever.

I was extremely traumatized by this event, and kept wailing, “Oscar thought of me as his FRIEND! And what do I do?? I TRAP him in a BOX and then I cut his TAIL off.” Mike had to basically talk me down, like, “Okay, Liz, Oscar does not think of you as his friend. You just cramp his style. You come home, and he’s like, damn it, I have to stop eating and shitting all over this counter and hide again. Oscar belongsĀ outside,” etc. So eventually I calmed down, but was then worried about like, okay, now he KNOWS. Now I am NEVER trapping that little devil.

BUT! I smeared a liberal dab of organic crunchy peanut butter on a piece of paper towel and stuck it inside the ol’ Tin Cat and, optimistically, put it back on the kitchen floor.

Hours later, I was awakened that night by metallic snapping sounds in the kitchen. I flew out of bed and ran to the Tin Cat. Surprise Pet! Sure enough, there was a new little guy in there. Unfortunately, I knew immediately that this was not Oscar. I mean, Oscar and I were on intimate terms now – you get that way after an appendage-losing incident. This mouse was lighter in color, more brown and less gray, and – dead giveaway – fully endowed with tail.

Anyway, I truck her outside, name her Madeline for no reason whatsoever, let her go several hundred yards from my house by a big yucca.

Next morning, new mouse. Surprise Pet! This one is also not-Oscar, and because now I am alarmed by how there are apparently way more mice in my house than just the one, I do not name it, but unceremoniously dump this one across the road as well.

Finally – late in the day – I look through the grates and there’s Oscar – fuzzy, gray, and depleted in the tail department. There was a bit of melancholy to the scene, there was, as I took him outside, said a short goodbye speech, and released to the wilds of Colorado National Monument. He ran off towards a juniper and didn’t look back.


Since then, three days and no new Surprise Pets, or, for that matter, poop on my counters. Once again, it appears, I live alone.


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