Building A Better Mousetrap

Last month, I came downstairs and Ken was staring at the kitchen counter. “Did Kate do some baking last night? There are crumbs everywhere.”

I looked more closely, with my reading glasses on. “Those aren’t crumbs—that’s MOUSE SH*T!!”

The infestation had begun. We immediately got out our trusty old live trap and set it up that night with a tasty assortment of cheeses inside it. The next morning, sure enough, there was a tiny mouse shivering in the trap. “Never mind, little Mickey,” I told him. “You’re going to a lovely field to live out your days.” And that’s not a euphemism—Ken really did take him to the park and set him free to frolic in the long grass.

That night, before we went to sleep, we set the trap up again in case Mickey had a Minnie. But in the morning, instead of another mouse curled up in the trap, there was mouse poo all over the counter—and the cheese inside the trap WAS GONE. “Are these mice learning from each other’s mistakes?!” I asked.

“Don’t worry,” said Ken. “I have an idea for a better mousetrap.” So he put together a contraption with a seesaw made out of cardboard and doweling and positioned it over a large wastebasket. “See,” he said, “when the mouse walks out to get the cheese, the cardboard will tip and it’ll fall into the basket.”

And it worked! The next morning, there was a wee rodent in the bottom of the wastebasket. “Minnie, I assume,” I addressed it. “Don’t worry—you’ll be reunited with your other half soon.”

That night, we set up the basket trap again, and again in the morning, the cheese was gone and there was mouse poo all over the counter. “What the hell!” I exclaimed, infuriated. “How did it get the cheese and not fall in?!”

“I guess it’s a smarter mouse than the last one. Do you want me to just buy a snap trap?” Ken offered.

“No!” I exclaimed. “Unless you do it without telling me and then don’t tell me what happens. You know how much I hate killing things. You have to promise to keep it a secret.”

But before we resorted to a kill trap, Kate decided to try her hand at building a better mousetrap. It was the same principal as Ken’s but with the addition of a toothpick to securely hold the cheese so that the mouse couldn’t just reach out and snatch it from the safety of the counter. Of course, the first night, she got involved in an online game and forgot to set it, but the NEXT night, it was in place and ready to execute our clever plan. Unfortunately, as clever as we thought we were, the mouse was smarter. The mouse had absconded with the cheese but left behind an extraordinary amount of poo. “Should we let Ilana out of Kate’s room at night?” Ken suggested.

“But what if Atlas finds out? He’ll try to eat HER before she eats the mouse.”

It seemed we were at an impasse, then Ken went out shopping and came home with something called The Tomcat. Its claim to fame was the following:

Ready To Use
Child Safe
Captures Up To Ten Mice At Once

The side of the box equally sang the praises of its sleek design that “blends into surroundings”, its “reliable, highly sensitive trap door”, and the fact that it was “strong and durable” as evidenced by the accompanying picture of someone dropping a can of peas onto it.

“Phew,” I said. “I have full confidence in the Tomcat. I shall sleep well tonight.”

And in the morning, I rose with a smile on my face, ready to greet several of the tiny evil geniuses that were causing me to bleach my counter on the daily. And what did I find? An empty Tomcat with a hole chewed through it, no cheese to be seen, and mouse poo everywhere. So much for strong and durable. Maybe they should have tested it on actual mice instead of a can of peas. And as much as I hate to do it, unless any of you have a better mouse trap idea, Ken will be keeping secrets from me for a long time.

Hole-y mousetrap, Batman

47 thoughts on “Building A Better Mousetrap

  1. Rats are a problem here in the Philippines, but we often resort to a more brutal solution. Oftentimes, we use rat poisons such as Racumin. (I don’t know if it’s available on your side of the world, though.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe try baiting them with different substances…like, I dunno, a glop of cat or dog food. Something that they have to sit there and eat. Just keep trying with the live traps…maybe even a bigger piece of cheese that’s harder to run off with? Maybe move the trap to a different location in the kitchen. Good luck! I hope you don’t have to resort to the lethal kind. Maybe put Atlas up for the night and let Ilana out? I can let you borrow Moon Pie–she’s a former feral and an exceptional security officer/hunter. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. barbaramullenix says:

    They can’t run off with peanut butter and I know from first hand experience that it works. But we used the lethal traps that I never saw the results of, but my husband was emptying them on a daily basis until we ran out of mice/rats.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m pretty sure it was the snap-traps that used to have the slogan “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Ken’s design sounds like it would if you didn’t already have neighbours practically doing that already. But I don’t think any trap is going to work 100% of the time, not because rodents are smart, but because they’ll try anything. And they’re also smart enough to know a home is a safer place to live than an open field.
    And then there’s the Tomcat trap which is apparently effective 0% of the time. Too bad it won’t make the world beat a path away from your door.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love squirrels, but have zero patience or sympathy for their small cousins and used to be the primary snap trap maintainer in the house I grew up in. I also keep poison in my garage because I know they get in there. But they never try to get in my house, and I always thought it was because Ody (and Spilly/Biskit when they were alive) were just damn good mousers. But it turns out mice avoid places where they can smell a cat has been… cat urine in particular is a great mouse deterrent. And since I use no fragrances in my home, it’s no mystery to any person or beast that a cat lives here. Just some helpful advice if you don’t want a secret rodent bloodbath going on!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh My Gosh. You have supermice! I hate to admit it, but we had to resort to kill-traps, Suzanne. I felt terrible, but mouse infestations can get out of control. We used the glue traps with a lot of success, but we also had to figure out how they were getting in… through the dryer vent! We got a little wire cage to attach to the outside of the house so the sneaky beasts were foiled. Your mouse problem made for a fun post, but I hope it ends soon.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Yeah, mice are smarter than we think. We had mice at our old place, off and on, for years, an old country barn of a place.Generations of them grew tired of outsmarting us. We fooled them, though! We finally moved.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is too coincidental!! I woke up Friday morning to freaking mouse poo on my counter!! I looked at Charlie and asked why the hell he hadn’t caught it and he responded with….
    “I have discriminating taste hooman, I don’t eat wild game” and walked away shaking his fat cat butt. I have put out some D-Con No view No Touch mouse traps but have yet to catch the stupid mouse! Let me know if you succeed in catching the others, good luck my friend…..ugh mice, blah.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh no! You have very clever mice! I thought the Tomcat would turn out to be a kind of Roomba mouse catcher–one that looked like a cat and scooted around on its own, electronically. I thought maybe it would open its mouth, the mouse would climb in, and the mouth would shut, and then the Roomba/Tomcat could go out a pet door, into a field to deposit the mouse and come back?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Back in the day, when I lived in a rural area, I had mice. Tried cheese in a standard mousetrap. Mouse would set the mousetrap off and then steal the cheese. Peanut butter worked. Seems like I had to finagle the mousetrap trigger, too, so it became more of a hair trigger release. Don’t remember exactly what I did, but it involved folding a piece of paper and placing it just so. I remember hearing it go off and the poor mouse caught in it. It was soooo sad! Cats work too. Just make sure you don’t use rat poison on the rats and then the cat and/or Atlas eats the rat with rat poison in its system. We found out the hard and very expensive way that wasn’t a good idea. Our cat, Birdie, nearly died and it cost us around $4,000 to bring her back. (She’s sitting at my desk as I write this harassing me, btw!) Anyway, rat poison causes bleeding on the inside. It’s a painful way to go. Birdie screamed the entire thirty minute trip to the vet hospital (rush hour on a Friday afternoon of all times!) David nearly killed us getting her there, but he drove like the superhero he is. Birdie stayed close to a week in that place. They had to give her Vitamin K and transfusions of blood and plasma transfusions. It was awful and she was one sick kitty, but she pulled through! Never again will rat poison come anywhere near our home! Glad you’re giving the mice a second chance in a very nice field. Little Bunny Foo Foo aka David is in charge of dealing with mice around here. We don’t get many, but on occasion, one will turn up, then screaming (me) will happen, the cat gets involved…and Buddy the dog…it’s a whole thing. Poor mouse rues the day it entered our domicile! Then David tends to bop it on the head and throws it over our fence into the alley. I think. I hope. Shudder! Good luck with the peanut butter and/or the cat! Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh wow you have got a smart bugger there. The best thing I saw was a bucket with a lid that would fit inside it hinged so that anything on it would be trapped and not get out – the bait firmly stuck in the middle.
    I hope you catch mousey soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. time to get a cat? or someone on facebook mentioned she found they like seed-type food best, so she got a big bag, put a little in, & each morning grabbed the mouse-laden bag & unloaded it outdoors — she said she caught & released 20 mice! (dunno if I could do tho…)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I hope you get a resolution soon and that few secrets have to be kept in so doing. I’m with you re: vermin—you can keep partying, but you can’t party at my house. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

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