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Monday, 26 May 2008

Carmine quotes No. 2

Raining. And that's all I have to say.

Apart from perhaps Hmmph. Double Hmmph and Hmmph with bells on.

Cats 10 : Mice 0.

Yes, finally, the mouse situation (see here and here) seems to be coming under control. Finally, Alexander's cat (with some help from the old lady of Carmine, the cat they call the mama di tutti) has learned that it's quite a lot of fun being a mouser. Or perhaps its just that this spring's young have emerged from their nesting places and are not as street-wise as the older generation.

The capital of the mouse civilisation in our house is the ripostiglio, the store room where we keep and chop huge quantities of firewood, and which doubles as a tool shed and trash store. Oh, yes, quantities of chicken feed are also stored there. As with all civilisations, this one likes to branch out a bit, and you'll know if you've been reading regularly, that there have been outposts established in the storecupboard where I keep wrapping paper, in the ironing basket and in upholstered furniture of all kinds.

This week, though, the march of mouse civilisation has (I hope) been halted. This week I've found the cat with a mouse on no less than 10 separate occasions. The children have taken to running in to me shouting "Cat's gotta mouse, Cat's gotta mouse" (for like all the Carmine cats, this one is called Cat - I'm not a Breakfast at Tiffany's devotee for nothing). If she's playing with it, the children gather round chanting like a bunch of boys at a schoolyard brawl, jumping up and down and generally adding to the Tom and Jerry confusion. Eventually I manage to persuade her that life is less tumultuous outside, and she slinks out of the door with the children shouting "Go Cat, go! Out Cat, out!" (are my children becoming a tad feral, do you think?).

I have mixed feelings about letting the cats catch the mice. I can't bear to see the mouse toyed with and injured in the way that cats do. But I also know that other methods don't work. I've baited traps, humane and less-humane, with cheese, bread, chocolate and lemon cake. I've tried taking the mouse away from the cat and then transporting him to the far reaches of the village, only to find that mice have their own built-in version of Via Michelin and can find their way home before sundown.

And mice in the house aren't just little furry animals that make a mess of the chicken feed. Their droppings, urine and dander can aggravate asthma and allergies and, scarily, they can also pass on something called the hantavirus, which, even more scarily, can kill. My children come first and if the cat is the most efficient way of protecting them, then that's the way it has to be.

So the ripostiglio door into the house remains open and we make a fuss of the cat every time we see her carrying a mouse. I just hope that one day I won't be seeing B. dashing around with a mouse in her mouth too...

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

How do you always manage to make such everyday events into such entertaining reading? PS I don't like to see cats play with mice either.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Carmine quotes No. 2

Raining. And that's all I have to say.

Apart from perhaps Hmmph. Double Hmmph and Hmmph with bells on.

Cats 10 : Mice 0.

Yes, finally, the mouse situation (see here and here) seems to be coming under control. Finally, Alexander's cat (with some help from the old lady of Carmine, the cat they call the mama di tutti) has learned that it's quite a lot of fun being a mouser. Or perhaps its just that this spring's young have emerged from their nesting places and are not as street-wise as the older generation.

The capital of the mouse civilisation in our house is the ripostiglio, the store room where we keep and chop huge quantities of firewood, and which doubles as a tool shed and trash store. Oh, yes, quantities of chicken feed are also stored there. As with all civilisations, this one likes to branch out a bit, and you'll know if you've been reading regularly, that there have been outposts established in the storecupboard where I keep wrapping paper, in the ironing basket and in upholstered furniture of all kinds.

This week, though, the march of mouse civilisation has (I hope) been halted. This week I've found the cat with a mouse on no less than 10 separate occasions. The children have taken to running in to me shouting "Cat's gotta mouse, Cat's gotta mouse" (for like all the Carmine cats, this one is called Cat - I'm not a Breakfast at Tiffany's devotee for nothing). If she's playing with it, the children gather round chanting like a bunch of boys at a schoolyard brawl, jumping up and down and generally adding to the Tom and Jerry confusion. Eventually I manage to persuade her that life is less tumultuous outside, and she slinks out of the door with the children shouting "Go Cat, go! Out Cat, out!" (are my children becoming a tad feral, do you think?).

I have mixed feelings about letting the cats catch the mice. I can't bear to see the mouse toyed with and injured in the way that cats do. But I also know that other methods don't work. I've baited traps, humane and less-humane, with cheese, bread, chocolate and lemon cake. I've tried taking the mouse away from the cat and then transporting him to the far reaches of the village, only to find that mice have their own built-in version of Via Michelin and can find their way home before sundown.

And mice in the house aren't just little furry animals that make a mess of the chicken feed. Their droppings, urine and dander can aggravate asthma and allergies and, scarily, they can also pass on something called the hantavirus, which, even more scarily, can kill. My children come first and if the cat is the most efficient way of protecting them, then that's the way it has to be.

So the ripostiglio door into the house remains open and we make a fuss of the cat every time we see her carrying a mouse. I just hope that one day I won't be seeing B. dashing around with a mouse in her mouth too...

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

How do you always manage to make such everyday events into such entertaining reading? PS I don't like to see cats play with mice either.