The Necessary Cat

Every time we have a mouse in the house, I’m reminded of that chapter in Laura Ingalls’ book, Little Town On the Prairie, in which Pa procured a “necessary cat” to take care of a rat. But not before it chewed off a clump of his hair!

Did I ever tell you about that time we had a few mice take up residence? And after we caught a few, we discovered a RAT in the basement (that once or twice made an appearance upstairs)? And after spotting the RAT we found a SNAKE in the laundry room?

food allergies and kids

I do believe the rat was there hunting the mice. My husband killed the rat accidentally when he dropped a large piece of wooden furniture on it (hey – whatever works!), and the snake eventually left us (but left a fresh snakeskin hanging right over the dryer!). Thank goodness.

I thought the best course of action would be to complete the circle of life by going up the food chain, but PetSmart was fresh out of MONGOOSE.

We’re considering borrowing a cat for a weekend. Hubby and I are both allergic, but I would endure a few sneezes if it meant I no longer had to hear scurrying at night while I try to sleep.

These little buggars are so crafty too. Somehow they’re able to grab the bait, including licking all the peanut butter, off the traps we set without triggering them.

Today hubby and I did a bit of early spring cleaning. At breakfast I declared that it was time for him to don his blue face paint and kilt and declare WAR.

These 21st century men. Hmmph. Sometimes they need to be reminded that it is THEIR JOB to kill things to keep the women and children safe.

After moving appliances out of the way to clean behind them, we discovered a couple of holes that looked like this:

mouse hole


I can just see little Jerry or Mickey in there propping his feet up on a table!  (By the way, that white powdery stuff was the Diatomaceous Earth we sprinkle around to keep the other vermin away! It’s a full time job keeping the critters out here in Georgia.)

Hubby filled the holes with steel wool then put caulk over them. While cleaning out the pantry, I discovered that the mice had chewed holes in some of my foodstuffs. Apparently they have fancy tastes, because the bag of organic buckwheat was torn to bits.

I hid all the food in coolers and tossed everything that was dirty, including several straw baskets I used to organize stuff. Because exactly how would I be able to clean and sanitize those?

I asked Google for advice and found that peppermint oil may deter mice, so I put 10 drops in 2 cups of my favorite cleaner, and cleaned and sprayed with that. Then we went to Home Depot to buy another dozen traps.

If I were to put an ad in the paper for a Necessary Cat, it would read something like this:

Cat Needed

For 2-3 days only. Must be fully house-trained. Must be tolerant of frequent harassment from multiple children, including but not limited to: tail-pulling by a 1 year old, dressing up like a baby doll by a 3 year old, and other insults. Keep in mind your cat will not be fed during its stay at my home. Must keep it motivated to catch and kill mouse population.

Think I’d have any takers?

P.S. I realize that after publishing this post, none of my friends will ever want to come over to my house again.

About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of 7 curious kiddos, autodidact, author, blogger, head chef, wanna-be French girl and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book.


  1. You could borrow one of our cats! They are Ragdolls though, so they aren’t much into hunting ;o)

  2. Living in the middle of nowhere, in an old farm house, we have the frequent mice problem, and they used to lick our traps clean too! My husband discovered jamming a peanut, or half of one, in the trap always gets the mouse.

  3. Penny is the best mouser we have ever had. She even killed a rabbit and squirrel. I don’t know if she’d be good indoors. She is mostly outdoors.

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