Opinion: Trappings of humane mice removal


There was a mouse running around the Wolfsie kitchen.Then it was in the basement. Then in the storeroom. Angel, the cat, knows it. And my wife knows it. We’re just trying to hide it from the neighbors.

We’ve had critter problems before in other homes, but there’s a big difference between having mice in your kitchen and having, let’s say, a woodchuck in your backyard. Having a woodchuck is something you can mention at a cocktail party and someday those very same people will flock to your backyard for a cookout or sit in your kitchen and gorge themselves on your homemade guacamole. The fact that you have woodchucks does not diminish your stature in the community one bit or call into question your worthiness or cleanliness as a neighbor. This is not true of mice.

In fact, when news gets out you have woodchucks, people will call to chat about it. Some will suggest you learn to tolerate the chucking. I mean, how much wood … never mind. A few folks may actually come over with beer to observe the woodchucks at work.

My wife insists we are infested with mice, but I believe it is the same mouse every time. Debating this point has become almost surreal.

“Dick, I think it’s several different mice. The first one acts nervous and shy. The other one is aggressive and dominant. And there’s this one under the kitchen sink that just seems lost.”

“Mary Ellen, please don’t do this. If you assign rodents a personality, it will make it that much more difficult to get rid of them.”

“What do you mean by, ‘Get rid of them?’ Look, Dick, I want you to get rid of the mice, but I don’t want you to ever tell me you got rid of them. I do not want any information about it.”

“You don’t want any specifics on how they died?”

“Do not mention the word ‘die’ in this house. Is there a catch-and-release program you can sign up for or a mice relocation project? I don’t want to hear about how any succumbed to some barbaric trap you bought at Home Depot. And you be nice to Seymour, especially.”

“Mary Ellen, please don’t give them names. This is just making it worse when I have to … well, you know …”

“Too much information! Too much information!”

So, I took care of things. We no longer have mice in our kitchen, and I am pleased to say that Mary Ellen chooses to see me as benevolent and kind. She’s convinced — and rightfully so — that I was humane and civilized in my task.

But the cat hasn’t spoken to me in a week.


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