To Catch a Mouse...

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I opened the car door, glanced at the back deck, tossed my purse onto the seat, and pulled the seat-belt loose from the booster.

“WAIT!!!” I shouted as the six-year-old began to make her way into the vehicle.

“Oh, crap,” I continued, “not again.” 

The turds were everywhere. On the floor. On the back seat. In my daughter’s booster chair. On the front dash. In the cup holders. In the door pockets.

Everywhere I looked there were tiny little shits.

Every. Where.

It wasn’t my first time discovering rodent poo in the car and so I went into full-on Fixer mode. I began removing the reusable grocery bags from the back of the automobile. And by removing, I mean I threw those suckers clear across the driveway in case one or more poop machines might be hiding out inside one of our President’s Choice sacks.

Meanwhile, Jan – who had been watching from the house – joined me until it looked like the car had thrown up on the gravel.


Unfortunately, we were in hurry and so – after a quick shake of the booster chair – Jan, the kiddo and I left the pile of canvas sacks on the ground and drove to town with our pants securely bunched up in our socks, our hair tightly tucked into our hats and our eyes open emoji-wide.

The first time I found evidence of mice in the car, I had accused Geoff of being careless with his bike bag. The second time, I blamed the farm where we pick up our produce in the summertime. Where this latest little fellow (or fellows) came from was anyone’s best guess but the fact remained… we needed to extricate him (them).

I won’t lie. Although I’ve never physically dumped dead vermin into the ditch next to the driveway, I have been “involved" in the murder of a fair number of mice. (In our family I’m known as the squeamish accomplice.) But - and this is a big but - I’ve NEVER shared the details with my daughter who believes that whenever we catch a mouse, we set it free.

What? The kid LOVES animals. All animals. Even especially rodents.

We once nursed an adorable, abandoned baby field mouse back to health.

Unfortunately, he died five days later. From his appearance on day 4, we could have known the end was near, but to be fair, none of us are veterinarians.

And, we own a hamster. He is healthier than he looks and yes, those are mighty big balls. It's a curse of all black bear hamsters.

In any case, a hamster is a rodent which makes him a cousin to the victims who infest our car. You wanna tell the six-year-old the truth? I didn't think so.

Under normal circumstances, we would bait a snap trap, place it in the car, let the mouse do it’s thing and dispose of the remains without the kiddo having any knowledge of the barbarity. But on this day, my child had a request. She wanted to see the mouse before we set it free.

She wanted to SEE IT.

Since we weren’t quite ready to confess to previous homicides, and seeing as how we were in town, Jan popped into the hardware store to procure a couple of wildly expensive catch and hold/release mousetraps designed to trap multiple mice at once. MULTIPLE MICE.

Then she and the kid went into the grocery store – pants still tucked into socks - leaving me to figure out the complicated plastic contraption while desperately trying not to hear the rustles, scuttles and scratches coming from the back of the car.

The concept was simple. Slide the trap open. Set the bait. Slide the trap shut. Presumably the mouse would be so tempted that he would crawl through the one-way gravity-activated door, thus trapping him - temporarily - in a temple of protein, until we happily released him into the wilderness.

Like so.

Unlike the video demo, we had to force the hell out of the sliding panels, just to pry them open enough to toss in pieces of Mini Babybel cheese. We had no idea how we would ever get a mouse – or the cheese - out of that trap.

We placed a loaded snare on the back deck of the car and one on the floor. Then we drove home.

Once there, we checked the traps religiously – as in, every several hours. Because the instructions said we should. But then it got cold outside. Siberia cold. And that’s when we stopped leaving the house.

One half a day and one full night later, Jan walked out to check the car.
The mouse was much smaller than we expected him to be. In fact, he was so pint-sized we almost didn’t see him. Also, who makes a mouse trap out of opaque, smoky grey plastic? Who can hell see through that stuff? Seriously.

The level of moisture inside of the trap led us to believe that the mouse had probably been in there since we had first baited it, the previous morning. It was then that we remembered the words of the manufacturer.

The poor little guy wasn’t moving because, of course he wasn’t. After all, it was minus 36 degrees outside and the well-meaning, yet negligent women who provided the cheese had misunderstood the concept of the word humane. This was not how this was supposed to go down. This was not at all like the online reviews said it would be.

Clearly "Bill" and "JAB" were better at checking their traps than we were.

Nevertheless, we brought the contraption inside and placed it in front of the fireplace - in the event of a miracle - much to the delight of the six-year-old.

I dare you to see a mouse.

Is he alive? 

Um… of course!

Can I see him?

Uh… in a minute.

What’s that slimy stuff all over the inside of the trap?

Cheese. Probably.

What’s that smell?


Can I take him out now?

Not right now. He’s sleeping.

We all piled into the car to drive our mouse somewhere away from the house - as per the manufacturer's instructions. But Jan and I both knew there was no way that little fella was making his way back to anywhere - what with him happily scurrying around in the afterlife - so instead of driving two miles away, we drove around the corner.

At our destination, Jan carried the critter to his final resting place, taking care not to vomit from the stench.

Then, she pried the plastic lid open and laid the little bugger on the ground while the kiddo said, "see you later mousie" and walked away, completely satisfied that we had just transported a sleeping mouse from our car to our neighbour's yard.

Meanwhile, Jan and I resolved to never make an attempt at being humane again. Ever.

Poor wee dead mouse. And yes, we let him go at the base of our neighbor’s summer cottage. He was stiff. What damage could he do?

 No, really.

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