Don’t Kiss the Mouse and Other Tales From the (lesser) Wild Kingdom

I’m not (obviously) somebody out there on the water, fighting the elements, matching wits with sea creatures, and trying to earn a living. Still, there are other creatures in the world and many of them are determined to make my life one continuous battle.

It is a constant struggle to keep the hummingbirds satisfied. I think there’s a new crop of young ones and they demand multiple feeder refills a day. I got out the tall ladder yesterday to put out their supper and (as I was climbing it) discovered a slug on one of the steps.

This isn’t unusual – the area under my back porch is a perfect breeding ground and I often see the adults and babies at this time of year. Contrary to the local legend a friend is creating, I did not bring big ones from the West Coast. These guys are only about 4″ long – just little ones.

The one on the ladder though was different. She was giving birth and her entire underside was covered with roe. I guess I just assumed the little ones came out fully formed – more fool me. Now I know! 🙂

Those mouse repellent devices I installed might be working. It’s really hard to tell without a control. They are certainly having an effect on insects. The few flies I get in the house are very agitated and, if I open a window or door, more than willing to leave.

The cats don’t seem to believe that there are any mice at the moment – particularly after Ciaran killed a longtime resident last week. She (it had to be a she because there had been some young ones) liked to taunt us by wandering out onto the plastic sheeting over the sunporch ceiling. Much drama would ensue. I’m just lucky one of the hunters didn’t smash the television jumping on top of it trying to reach the enemy.

I showed a friend a photo of the dead mouse and learned that it was, unfortunately, a Deer Mouse. I say unfortunately because 30% of them are positive for the agent of Lyme Disease and 25% carry Hanta Virus.

I do what I can to prevent ticks on the animals (and myself) so should be able to avoid the former. Apparently the latter is shared with animals and humans through contact with the urine, droppings, and saliva of infected mice. I’ve told Ciaran that he should continue to kill any unwanted visitors but there will be no eating of the bits. I really don’t need another virus to worry about.

Speaking of Ciaran – he and Fish have entered a new phase in their relationship. I’m convinced it is karma visiting me.

For many years I worked in the professional world – one which was overpopulated by “old school” men. Daily office life was invariably interrupted by virtual chest thumping and “mine is bigger than yours” types of swaggering.

When I rose to a position which meant I was in charge of the meetings, and often the jackasses trying to “be the alpha”, I would direct them to the urinals down the hall and tell them there were rulers available for their convenience.

It is a wonder to me that 95% of the dogs and cats in my life – and there are a lot of them – are male. I recognize the symptoms of testosterone overload and its use after the “best before” date. Having 4 legs does not mean the behaviour is any different – there are just bigger teeth.

It is, therefore, embarrassing that it took me so long to figure out what Fish and Ciaran were up to.

I mentioned that Ciaran was neutered in April. This was absolutely necessary as he had begun spraying around the house and the result was the most powerful chemical weapon on the planet. The operation immediately stopped the overwhelming odour – but it hasn’t stopped him marking his favourite places. It seems they may continue with their efforts for up to 6 months – or, in some cases, forever. sigh

I go check his usual spots a few times a day and clean them up. (Some areas of my floor are much shinier than others.) One of the most frequent locations was right outside the bathroom.

I was passing by the other day and caught Fish lifting his leg in that exact spot. We had a chat. I caught him again and we had a more vigorous discussion – I got mad, he got mad, I won. He stopped.

Weirdly when the dog stopped marking the floor, Ciaran’s spray was reduced to only the occasional effort.

It seems Fish had decided that Ciaran’s behaviour was something to be emulated. The kitten took it as a challenge and was determined to best him.

In other words, my idiot dog and mutant cat have been having a literal pissing contest in my house. Somewhere there are former work colleagues smirking in satisfaction.


  1. I turned green and had to get up and walk around a bit (theoretically getting a fresh coffee) at the description of the slug’s belly. FFS, put a trigger warning on these things!

    Liked by 1 person

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