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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:13 PM
Original message
A Liberal with claws.....
My latest column....just for fun:

online here: http://www.cumberlink.com/articles/2005/01/27/editorial...


The better mousetrap is not a cat
By Rich Lewis, January 27, 2005

My "Columnists Code of Ethics" includes a firm rule against writing about my cats.

So let me be very clear this column is not about our new kitten.

The last time I didn't write a column about our cats was three years ago when I explained that, when the time came, I intended to have my favorite cat freeze-dried and stuffed by a taxidermist in Franklin County who specializes in pets.

Well, the remarkable Honey, a frazzled, mean tortoise, finally expired last summer at the age of 16 or so.

And, no, I didn't get her stuffed. The idea of putting her in my refrigerator until I could deliver her to his refrigerator was altogether too weird.

Plus, the idea of her staring at us from the mantle with forever-open eyes seemed like something Vincent Price would enjoy more than I would.

So we respectfully buried her in the back yard with a nice limestone marker.

Some months went by, and my son decided we should get a kitten insofar as we were now down to three cats and they were all old and boring. I suggested we wait until spring and the new crop of unwanteds appeared.

But two weeks ago I had to go out to the PetsMart store in Hampden Township to buy a dog bed (don't ask), and discovered that PAWS of Pennsylvania operates a pet-adoption kiosk inside the store.

And guess what they had?

Lots of young-adult and old-adult cats.

And one kitten.

A tortoise.

She was charming in every way cute, playful, affectionate. The kind of little furball you just can't walk away from.

So we adopted her.

Her name is Libby, which my conservative readers such as Burton Chertok will be delighted to hear is short for Liberal.

Frankly, though, she doesn't have nearly as much interest in politics as she does in leaping wildly on and off every shelf, table and desk; playing floor hockey with assorted small objects; and baiting the dogs into chasing her into places they can't fit.

It's been 10 years since we had a kitten, and I'd forgotten how much energy and enjoyment they can bring into a house. She certainly has brightened up the winter.

But again, this column is not about my cats. It's about my mice.

We live in an old farmhouse and are surrounded by open fields. That means that every winter, hordes of mice pack up their little bags and move into my walls, where the heat is free and the food more conveniently located.

You would think that having four cats would solve this problem, but no. The three older ones couldn't be bothered, and the kitten currently prefers chasing dust motes.

Thus, every winter, I am required to seek ways to deal with all these scritch-scratching invaders.

Poison is out because of the other animals, so one of my unlikely hobbies is seeking out mouse traps that actually work.

One of humanity's great motivating adages is "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." And lots of people are out there trying. And failing.

The classic spring-loaded, lever-of-death traps are terrible. You are just as likely to crush your own finger trying to set it. The cats and dogs are probably going to get their paws and noses whacked off since they also like peanut butter and cheese. And you have to deal with the mangled corpse of the mouse if you execute one.

Then you have the little sheet of cardboard covered with gummy glue and sprinkled with birdseed. I couldn't avoid getting my own fingers stuck all over it. Not to mention the cat-and-dog problem again. I did get one into service, but found it the next day with tiny mouseprints all over the glue and fewer seeds but no mouse.

Next came this complicated plastic device with tunnels and a metal see-saw inside. I caught a mouse in one, but the next two mice escaped. One bent the metal thingy and opened the door. The other chewed a hole in the soft plastic wall and walked out.

Then there was a "sonic" mousetrap that emitted sounds purportedly alluring to mice. But it also used the tunnel system, cost more than 20 bucks, and required batteries.

Then, last week, I found the answer.

It is a hard, unchewable, plastic tube two inches tall and wide, and five inches long. It has a little plastic door that swings open when the mouse crawls in and swings shut behind him. It has exactly one moving part (the door), no metal and probably costs about three cents to make. It's what a third-grader would come up with if challenged to catch a mouse.

I deployed two of these traps and caught 14 mice in four days and haven't seen a single one since.

And nobody died. I just walked way out into the field, turned the trap over, the door flapped open and the mouse skittered away.

So listen, if you want the world to beat a path to your door, build a better coffee pot or vacuum cleaner because there is no way to build a better mousetrap than this one.

And the more people try, the dumber the results.

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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Libby is adorable, and a few yers ago when I had a field mice
problem, I resorted to the same exact solution, with a "humane" Mouse trap. I would catch them and then release them in a field a bit away from my house. I was actually never sure that it wasn't the same mice that kept coming back to be recaptured, but at least I was not killing them.
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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. My wife says I should paint numbers on them....
before I let them go.... to see which ones come back (she thinks they all do. But have you ever tried to paint a number on a mouse?
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. heh heh. Never thought of the "number " solution. Perhaps ribbons around
their necks hahahahahaha.
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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. dupe
Edited on Thu Jan-27-05 11:40 PM by flowomo
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. this is wonderful!
you wrote this? it is great and I love your new Libby kitty.
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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I did (weekly columnist)....
and thanks for the kind words!
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
7. What a sweetheart! Thanks for the good advice about the mousetrap
You're a very good writer, and a humane mousetrap that works is something I've been looking for. Thanks for posting!
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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. It's called a "Mice Cube"...
got mine at Wal-Mart for $1.54 each. They're made in New Castle, New Hampshire.
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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. here's a picture of it:
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. It's brilliant. Can't go to Walmart but maybe I can order it from
the makers directly. Thanks!
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Moderator DU Moderator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
11. flowomo
Per DU copyright rules
please post only four
paragraphs from the
copyrighted news source.


Thank you.


DU Moderator
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