animal wisdom mouse Feb 07, 2024

Who’s Rex? A new cat?

I wish.

Last December, I noticed there were plastic pieces strewn around the inside of my car. This is not an old car - it’s on lease, and we’ve only had it about a year. 

The car has acquired an unauthorized passenger - a mouse. How said mouse got in is anybody’s guess. Maybe it came over on the boat from Japan. I have left the tailgate up on occasion when bringing in groceries, and for a long time we had a trash bag in the back seat - very handy for keeping the rest of the car looking decent. Maybe has been keeping a low profile because there was plenty to eat from said trash bag, and the occasional sip of mocha (decaf) on the bottom of a discarded-in-the-trash bag cup.

The car in question. Note that the license plate holder says “adopt a shelter pet.” I guess Rex can read, too.

It was during a sort-of cold snap that we first noticed the gnaw marks attempting entry into the center console, wherein lived a container of almonds. Maybe mousie got cold and thought snuggling up to an almost limitless supply of food was a great Christmas present to itself. 

How did it even get IN?

And how were we going to encourage it to leave?

We are gentle people; we escort spiders outside the house, and the thought of killing an inoffensive creature is not generally where we go. So we got a humane mousetrap, figuring we’d give the little fellow someplace else to live.

Several attempts later, we realized this mouse was smarter than the average rodent. Each morning, the trap would be empty and the peanut butter left to entice the interloper inside was gone. How did he do that?

We tried to catch him for a couple of weeks, all to no avail. Fortunately, he stopped gnawing on the plastic and the only evidence he even existed was the turd or two on the front seats in the morning. Very funny.

Despite the fact that we abhor killing, we decided it was time to turn up the heat. I asked Glenn to bring home an actual mouse trap. The kind I had in mind was that snappy thing that if you’re not careful when setting it will be on the end of your finger. He brought home one of the things with poison, because of course on the label it says it’s an easy way to send rodents into the next life. The label does not mention how painful it is for the mouse while slowly expiring. So we threw that away, and went to stage three - the snappy trap. Quick, clean, it should, when working correctly, end this life quickly and relatively painlessly.

I carefully sent the trap, making sure my fingers were not part of a “let’s see how this works” plan. Peanut butter in place. Trap on the mat. We said a little prayer for the mouse, and closed the car door.

Imagine my surprise when the next morning, the trap was not where I left it. It had moved about two feet toward the rear of the car. It had been sprung. There wasn’t a drop of peanut butter (or blood) to be seen. 

Nasty, evil, vicious mouse! 

Well, actually, very smart mouse.

What our mouse might look like.

I give up. The mouse can live. I’ll never be alone in my car. I have told it I refuse to feed it, or leave it water or old mocha (and instantly I hear in my head a tiny little voice - “I’m thirsty…..”). If it wants to live in the car it’s going to have to accept the consequences, which is there will be crumbs, there may be the occasional drip of water, but no special treatment. This is a human vehicle, not a mousemobile. 

Of course, it had to have a name. That tiny little voice in my head said “Rex”.

Welcome to the family, Rex. So long as you keep gnawing and destruction to a minimum, and it’s only you and no other family members, you are invited to stay in the car. 

Perhaps next time I take it in for service, I’ll ask the car mechanics to “remove the mouse.” I wonder if there’s a line item for that.


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