Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:
Case File No. 41-197
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Where We Left Off:
Gus has been incredibly busy mouse hunting inside the buildings.
Valentine’s Day Massacre:
If you’re a cat and an adequate hunter, then you obviously bring your humans a mouse or some other critter for Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s living or dead is up to the individual. In this case of 2021, Gus delivered a living house mouse to me at 11:30 at night. It wasn’t his usual delivery either.
Gus was carrying to small critter in his mouth. He entered the bedroom with happy tones of mewing and had a bouncy step. He was obviously in a great mood, but it took me a couple minutes to figure out why since he wasn’t growling. I got out of bed and crawled around the floor while he moved in the shadows. When Gus came closer then he started to growl. As I tried following him, then his growl changed to be deeper and more menacing. I wasn’t scared of Gus of course, but I knew he wasn’t going to give me the present I thought was for me. I guess it was just to show off.
I took two stinky dried salmon treats from a bag and tried reasoning with Gus. A simple swap: the treats for the mouse. This negotiation tactic failed. I then tried putting the treats inside the box fort which has multiple doorways. Gus did enter through the back room of the box fort and kept the mouse clenched in his teeth. I couldn’t believe it was alive. It didn’t move except for when Gus would let it go. He released it inside the fort and the mouse was quickly cornered. I didn’t have a chance to place the jar over it. Gus snatched it up and left the fort to make some laps around the room.
The trickiest part was when Gus released the speedy little mouse and it found the gap under the closet door. This is the unique closet that could be an adorable secret hiding place since it’s spacious and located under a set of stairs. However, I have it packed floor to ceiling. I pulled out boxes and never expected to see the mouse again that night. Gus kept reaching around the boxes and baskets that weren’t pulled out. He was absolutely certain the critter was still in his grasp. I moved another set of boxes and still didn’t see the mouse, but Gus knew exactly where it was and secured it again.
Gus left the closet and I put everything back. By this point, we had made enough commotion that the Butler awoke and came over to see what the situation was. We had a repeat of events: Gus moved under the bed and kept growling; he moved behind the desk; he eventually got back into the fort through the same back door; the mouse was dropped again and Gus cornered it and recaptured it inside the fort. It was like going through a checklist. So yes, eventually, the mouse again was released and went into the closet again. Everything was pulled out. I had little hope of success having this being the second time it escaped. I was wrong. Gus brought the mouse out and at some point ended up by the cat tower.
Then things in my memory are a blur. I’m not sure why. I think it was next to the cat toy basket that I saw the mouse on the floor. I remember I stood there for a whole second or two expecting it to run faster than I could grab it so I almost had myself convinced that there was no point trying to nab it. Luckily I did bend down and the mouse didn’t run. It was very much alive.
The saliva-covered little mouse had soft fur. I remember that because it was in my right hand for a short while. I put the mouse in the jar and covered it with my hands while I kept asking, “Where’s the lid? Where’s the lid?” I found the lid on the nightstand. It was bizarre and the easiest time I ever had in the part of a capture where I have to handle the critter myself and transfer it to a jar. Being able to keep Gus in the bedroom instead of chasing him around the entire house was also a huge benefit. I didn’t have to crawl across the cold hard slate stones of the dining room. I looked through the jar and saw what a tiny fuzzy mini-beast it was. It wasn’t out to cause harm. It wanted to continue to live inside where there was ample food supply and warmth.
By this point it was almost midnight. The Butler was wide awake. I was going to put the covered jar out on the balcony and deal with the mouse release in the morning. I’ve done rescues and releases at all times of night in all kinds of weather and I just didn’t feel like doing it. Thank good the Butler offered to walk the rodent transport unit across the street. The snow is still too high to gently release critters anywhere near a burrow or abandoned building. The Butler opted to send the house mouse flying out of the jar, over the snow banks and into the woods.
Valentine’s Day presents aren’t always what you want, but they can be predictable depending on the gift giver. This soft furry house mouse was alive and released in the woods. Hopefully it adapts to a new life outdoors.
Case Status: Closed