Toad in the Hole

June 17, 2006

Friday Cat-Plus Blogging

Matt the Cat has lately found a new Power Spot on Joe's desk.


Sometimes his comfort requires a certain rearrangement of desktop clutter, but as long as he's happy, what the hell.

This mouse earned a reprieve; either he was just too lively and too small a mouthful to be worth the effort, or Shep is lovesick and off his feed again.


Cute li'l booger, isn't he? And not snake chow tonight, unless he got sold again after I returned him this afternoon. He's been boarding chez nous since last week, and I figured I'd fed him enough peanutbutter cookies, cheese (yes they like it) and breakfast cereal, plus the odd strawberry top and bit of cat kibble, and got nothing in return but hostile glares. Weirdly, he ate but never grew. Lively, though -- jumped to the top of his cage and spent a couple hours tucked between the wall and the water bottle yesterday. It would've been a great hiding place if the cage wall weren't clear plastic.

I don't think I've posted a shot of our original turtle, Studs, yet.


We don't know how old he is, but we've had him for over 25 years at least, and he was an adult when Joe snatched him from the middle of a road in Arkansas. As you might see here, he has a certain presence.

The reason Matt could occupy Joe's desk this morning was this: Joe was down in the driveway watering the timber bamboo. I planted it a few years ago in hopes of screening off the apartment decks/stairs/stage/doors next door. Works, so far.


The nasturtium is a longtime volunteer, one of many; the 'Skeleton Rose' scented geranium (OK, pelargonium) is tough enough to make it in this weird situation, where it's mostly in shade (buildings on either side of the narrow driveway) except at midday, when it's in blazing reflected sun. Plus it smells nice when I whap it in passing with the side of the car.

One discovery we made this week, just by the way, was the Eel River brewery in Fortuna. My goodness but they make nice beer.

Posted at June 17, 2006 04:21 AM


Thank you for your comments at Feministe. I guess in this I might be stooping to the same level, but lately I feel that Piny's goal in blogging is to inflict as much hurting as possible on other feminists. Some Piny posts are great, but the anger and epithets are frequent. I am afraid to comment at Feministe, but wanted to thank you here for the voice of reason.

Posted by: Redah at June 19, 2006 07:40 AM

Well, of course the mouse gave you nothing but hostility. Did you not purchase him (her?) to feed to someone else? Would you not surmise that this might tend to interfere with bonding possibilities?

We have mice in our house. They are not our friends, either, even though they are freakin' adorable, and even though several owe their lives to me per my intercession on their behalf with a certain feline intent on cheerfully terrifying them to death and then dismembering them.

We rent the top half of a late Victorian. The folks who rent the bottom half enthusiastically described for us their success with these little electronic devices you can put in various wall plugs throughout a home, which devices will send forth some kind of (to us) subsonic rhythm that drives mice away. They recommended we get some, too, and said our landlord had even reimbursed them for theirs.

"Oh, I'd never do that to Furry Lewis*," replied my boyfriend.

heh heh

What's a little hanta virus or a chewed wire here and there, as long as the cat is happy?

Posted by: Sara at June 19, 2006 02:46 PM

Redah, I don't know WTF is going on over there, but that slap at Pony just pissed me off. I do prefer the blade over the club.

Sara, I dunno, I've bonded with livestock before; I even keep a toiletpaper tube in the carrying cage so they have something to hide in, which seems to keep them more comfortable. And I've had some eating out of my hand and coming out to be petted. I mean, I do believe in kindness to critters, including food. Sometimes I think of myself of the Temple Grandin of rodents.

We had a mouse as an involuntary pet for nearly a year after my cornsnake Zea died (of a congenital heart defect, poor dear). I didn't know I could return them, or didn't have the will to, I forget. But we just set him up in her cage and gave him tubes to run around in -- certain plastic plumbing joints fit TP and paper-towel tubes perfectly, just by the way -- and shared snacks and all, expecting him to senesce and die in a few weeks, like every other feeder mouse including his companion.

I got Shep (on sale, of course, evidently a surplus male in a breeding program) only after the mouse finally died.

FWIW, I doubt that those noisy repellents really work well anyway, unless they make Furry L. grouchy enough to hunt-n-kill in a more businesslike manner. You might want to try a livetrap -- I recommend a Tin Cat (tm) -- and release somewhere, though if they're house mice they might not do so well in the wild, and if they do well, it would likely be at the expense of some local species that doesn't have the rest of the world to spread into.

Mouse circus, a la Cat TV?

We and our commensals do make rather a hash of things, don't we.

Posted by: Ron at June 19, 2006 07:42 PM

I would expect you to be kind to food animals; that's in keeping with what we see of your spirit. I would not expect the food animals to bond back.

Our kitty does not hunt and kill in a businesslike manner. He stalks, catches, and then plays with his prey 'til it breaks, and then he tends to shred it. This is what makes it all so awful. Snakes eat, what, a mouse a week each? My well-fed little cuddly pumpkin, though, doesn't go for the critters for any reason other than entertainment -- his entertainment, not the prey's, of course -- and supply and napping schedules are the only limits to the amount of them he will use this way.

We definitely need a humane trap. And don't worry about garden-released house mice. If not more cleanly and swiftly used by actual predators first -- owls, snakes, red-tailed hawks, etc. -- they will just find their way right back into the house. There are pathways all over every property, countless generations old. At our last domicile, they came in on the plumbing and then found their way out into the kitchen through holes in the wall made to accommodate the gas stove.

Sometimes I wonder how many times I rescue each mouse over and over again. It might be some kind of zen exercise.

Posted by: Sara at June 20, 2006 04:36 PM

Non-hostile foodstuffs (Bay Area division):

If yam fries are a reasonable facsimile of sweet-potato fries*, Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco has 'em. I can't speak personally as to their yumminess (I'm more partial to the biscuits), but the yam/sweet potato fanciers in my family were quite taken with them.

IBTP lurker

* -- seems likely. I'm betting they're using the colloquial name for sweet potatoes.

Posted by: Maggie at June 21, 2006 08:42 PM

Maggie, thank you! Joe's been making noises about trying that place sometime anyway, maybe on the night every month when we meet a couple of his former co-workers (also retired) for dinner in some Tenderloin restaurant and the members' lecture at the California Academy of Sciences. And yeah, I'm sure that yam = sweet potato in this context. You used to be able to get, IIRC, mixed sweet potato, irish potato, and was it taro? fries from Ginger Island in Berkeley, till it closed. Not that I ever went there, but the Ecology Center's money wizard used to and she brought us a bag or two.

And unlike some rodents I've known, they won't bite the hand that feeds them, which works in several ways.

Sara, some of Shep's mice and rats have been more friendly, seeming to enjoy headrubs and such. Have you ever considered marking the mice you set free, to see if they're coming back? I figure after three times, you have a new pet.

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