Monday, January 19, 2009

Mouse Butt for Breakfast

This is Cat King Cole, our ranch cat. Some of you have expressed concerns about my rattlesnake postings. Cole is part of the solution. I got Cole because my neighbor, who used to own this property and built the house, suggested it. Not just any rancher/contractor, this guy knows his ecology - a cat would control the population of rodents and thus create a habitat that was less attractive to predators like rattlesnakes.

Deer mice would visit the house at night when it got cold or dry last year. I tried various things like sealing all the holes around the pipes, but they kept coming. Deer mice are kinda cute with brown fur, a bright white belly, and big eyes, but they can cause hantavirus besides being pests and attracting snakes.

Shrieking at the mice didn't help. One responded by running into the hall closet and then up into the vacuum cleaner. I threw the vacuum cleaner into the driveway for the night. Good thing the crew or cattle guys didn't come by the next morning; they like how I am cleaning up the place but vacuuming the driveway would have taken some explaining. Various traps helped, but I still didn't want mice in the house. So I decided to follow my neighbor's advice and get a mouser cat.

A live trap called The Tin Cat ---->

I had to contact several groups before I found Cole. See, the way I look at it, cats like the country. However, some of the animal rescue organizations refused to let me adopt one of their cats when I mentioned I lived in the country. And, when I said I was looking for a big cat that would come in at night when I called because I didn't want the coyotes to get it. Okay, so maybe that is not the first thing you should say when you want to adopt a cat.

But I eventually found Cole at Nine Lives Foundation in Redwood City. They helped me pick out the right cat and gave me lots of good advice. Cole turns out to be not only a great mouser but a snuggler. And he comes in at night. He saw a coyote once and growled at it; Cole was in the house, coyote was out.

Cole believes in tithing. The first mouse he caught, he brought into my bedroom so I would know what a brave warrior he is and would not take him back to the shelter. By the second mouse, I recognized the pouncing and scurrying sounds, and got up and closed my bedroom door. Mouse butt was at my bedroom threshold in the morning.

Cole also likes to leave mouse butt on the bathroom threshold. He keeps the crunchy head for himself, but I don't mind. I am not sure how that splotch of mouse blood ended up on the wall above the toilet tank, but I leave Cole to his methods.

Cole also reminds me that he is a domesticated animal by purring, snuggling and sandpapering my face every morning to get up and feed him. Coyotes, deer, snakes and other wild animals do not do these things, thus we should not try to feed them or snuggle with them.

---- checking out the barn ----

That is the story of how I got the cat to eat the mice to get rid of the snakes. Feel better? One last thing. I walked across the street to visit my neighbor and thank him for his cat suggestion. While I was telling him about how great Cole is, a grey cat walked through his yard. I was confused because I had left Cole in my coyote-proof house as I always do when I am not home. Turns out my neighbor has a grey cat that looks just like Cole, and she is a great mouser and snuggler too.


  1. I love it, Cindy. All your posts so far have been great. Your photography is fab (loved the perky snakes between your gloved fingers) and getting better all the time. I am so enjoying this blog.

  2. First of all, this is a lovely story. Second of all, I used to do feral cat rescue and would have JUMPED at a country place to locate one or more excellent mousers...not so snuggly, maybe, but definitely up to the task. Third of all, great name, your idea? And lastly, what is it about mouse heads? My cat Georgia, in his healthier days, used to put the head in his food dish as a treasure for later, and then drag the body about sort of to pass the time. Brains are tasty and must have a lot of good minerals, I guess...


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