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House mouse – guilty feelings

Have you ever had a feeling of overwhelming guilt and heartache when you realise you have unintentionally harmed someone or something in the process of trying to do a good deed?

Today my heart is heavy and I feel I should do penance. I am not religious but I hope there is a little country spirit who will forgive me.

We have a mouse problem. At night we hear the patter of tiny rodent feet amongst our life in boxes and so far we have lived together amicably. But porridge oats, French bread and maize meal are on a mouse menu and our little bags of tasty mouse cuisine were getting chewed. They carry disease. Period.

Husband buys a trap. I am upset by catching anything. It’s bated with cheddar. That evening we hear the sharp snap of the traps door shutting and squeeking. I am not scared of mice in the least. He is caught only by his tail. I am horrified, remove him and he runs to safety.

Big debate. We can’t share the house. What about rats? I get it. The traps set again. Mouse is caught and husband removes mouse and trap to our little house to take him away tomorrow to new pastures. Again I protest. This is scary for mouse. We have to block holes and stop them getting in. Not trap them.

Poor little chap. He must be terrified. Today we take the mouse to a field near a farm with geese as there is straw, grain and vegtables. He is agitated and chews the end of his tail. The van is jolting and noisy.

We leave little mouse in a leafy spot. He seems a little disconcerted and dizzy on his feet.

Returning shortly after visiting the grain depot in the hamlet, little mouse is still next to his cheese. I take some leaves to cover him. I think he has died.

I burst into tears. I feel horrible. I feel human selfish. I run through how little mouse must have felt. Had he left a family? How scared he must have been? Why did we not free him sooner?

My husband felt sad too. We will learn to do it better next time he says.

In the future the mice will be encouraged to our wild garden where mouse seeds and garden food will await. Secluded places for mice will mean they won’t venture to the house. A pro- active mouse removal I can deal with. Trapping mice I can’t deal with.

Call me sentimental and an unrealistic country dweller. That’s fine. I can be practical but I don’t have to be callous or plain uncaring.

I hope the country spirit revives little mouse. If not, then I hope he knows I feel terribly sorry. I posted this in rememberance of a little wild soul.

20 thoughts on “House mouse – guilty feelings

  1. Oh! You had to do it, but I understand how sad it feels. I am the same way. But like you said, you learned what to do for next time. If anything, that little guy was lucky to have found his way into a home that even considered his little feelings. It could have been much worse. 😟.

  2. Yup, can’t share the sentiment. Perhaps because mice are just small rats to me (or very, very large cockroaches), and we had a rat situation back in the crawlspace of our old house in the city where we killed at least 20 rats (after I saw one run from my bedroom to the kitchen then…somewhere…) before the problem stopped. A barn cat is our next priority to make sure mice stay in the outdoors where they belong 🙂

    1. That’s one way. We had a rat problem but we took the roof down and reinstalled it minus all the gaps. It was being used by Mr Rat to store eggs in from the neighbours chickens. He had a proper larder up there. We hadn’t even unloaded on arrival. Husband saw the rats and that was it, all the interior roof boards and insulation were removed. We spent a month freezing in there before we could afford to put up some plastic to stop the drafts. It was another 6 months before we could insulate it. But no rats.

    1. It seems unfair when mouse was here first. But we have decided only to trap in daylight so we can minimize the time a mouse is in the trap. It was far too long even though he had cheese and a warm woolly cover over part of the box.

      1. This is probably not what you mean, but I’ll tell you a story. In our pre-Katrina home, the floors were all hardwood. We had one spaniel then. She loved to gnaw on bones and leave them where she could find them for further use. Three mice found there way into the house. Apparently, one 6 inch water pipe didn’t have a screen on it so that how they got in.

        One night as we were going to sleep, she was dozing on the side of the bed when we all hear scrape, scrape scrape and the sound of one of her bones moving. She jumped off the bed. We heard a thwap and a thunk. We turned the light back on to find that she caught the mouse, smacked it with her paw and it bounced off the wall. Dead. “Mess with my bones will you?”

        She did that two more times.

      2. Exactly. In the wild it’s a food chain. Mouse kills and likely not always with real need. I was upset because we prolonged his fear. A quick death would have been better. Our old tortoishell cat used to play with mice and got scolded for it, but it wasn’t really her fault..just instinct.

  3. Oh dear. Always a bit of a dilemma – we don’t want to live with them but it’s a problem if they decide to move in! We have cats who are sometimes successful in catching the odd mouse (we live in town, not countryside). Yes they play with them, taunt them into submission if we don’t get them away quick enough. I put that down to ‘nature’ – the cats are instinctive hunters despite the packets of cat food they consume. My one horrid admission however is that one day they brought a mouse in and it lay twitching at the bottom of the stairs. I ran to the kitchen to get a receptacle to put it in, hurried back to the foot of the stairs then trod on the mouse and killed it! Don’t hate me please. ..

    1. I think it was the drawn out aspect that got me. Quick was needed. We have to get rid if them and honestly nature would in her way very swiftly. Cats love playing with them. My Bramble was a real torturer and not easy to take them off her. My neighbours cat is too lazy to bother.

      1. One of our cats brings them in them dumps them, the other guards them and growls like a dog if we try and take them away! We also had a wild rabbit brought in once – it was terrified sitting under our dining table! I’m not sure how it came to ‘town’, as I said we aren’t in the countryside, but I know it was wild as I described it to both the RSPCA (who didn’t want me to take it in) and the local vet (ditto!) – was advised to catch it then release it in a country park a few miles away, not anywhere near the house where my cats might recapture it! I did and it hopped off happy !

      1. No I haven’t used a knitting machine – one thing I have thought about though. My mum used to have one when I was a little girl – think they’ve moved on a lot since then, probably much easy and less clunkier than I remember. You should learn to knit or crochet just to make a tea cosy !

      2. I think machines differ. My mum’s old one you used to have to hand knit the ribbing of a jumper then hook each stitch onto the mechanism, just looked super fiddly! I did see someone using a knitting loom today – out come a big tube then you finish it off like a hat – a bit like a knittng dolly you might have had as a girl – but a bigger tube. I remember knitting dollies when you got a long skinny tube to turn into a ‘worm’, or a ‘snake’ or if you were clever you stitched it into a circle and made a coaster!

  4. Another time, in our holiday home in France I was kept awake with the sound of mice in the wall cavity. I was so traumatised that I woke my snoring husband and insisted we move bedrooms that night so I could try and sleep. The next day we booked a builder to come and close up the gaps in the outside wall they’d burrowed into. I didn’t ask if he found a nest, he came one day when we weren’t there.

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