About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to Raise a Good Mouser

Every county home needs a good mouser. But not every cat hunts mice. There are ways to train a cat to be a killer. First of all, mothers are best. The motherly instinct drives any female feline to protect and feed her babies at all cost. Therefore, a fixed female doesn’t have the maternal instincts of a killer that she would have had with her ovaries intact. As a kitten, if she learns that food is never far, she has no need to feed herself. So if you want a good mouser, keep her at a hunting weigh. And, of course, verbal encouragement goes a long way when training any pet. Once all these elements are set, make sure you’ve disposed of any mouse traps, lay some food out, and wait for the cat to hunt the baited rat.
            The real question is not how to raise a good mouser, that is relatively easy; the conundrum is do you really want a killer. Once a cat has been trained to kill, she won’t discern between a mouse, mole, bird or bat. After the mice population has been all but wiped out, frogs are found lying on the porch without arms or legs, still breathing. Beautiful indigo buddings and endangered bats are found dead around the yard. As the frog, bird, and bat populations decrease, the insects swarm. Before long, in a cloud of mosquitoes, the mice don’t seem all that bad.    
Like the old woman who swallowed the fly found out, any ecological change has its consequences. The cycle of life has a delicate balance and each animal (including humans) keeps or destroys that balance. The mice population exploded out of control because we inadvertently feed and protected them. We got the cats to eat the mice. Soon we need something to eat the cats. Luckily, the coyotes and owls were obliged. I’ve never had a pet cat for more than two years. Though I morn every death, I am beginning to realize that my cats are disturbing the balance of nature here at Owl’s Knob. I must accept the death of a good mouser as readily as I accepted the deaths of the mice.

1 comment:

  1. Well written. The last sentence was very insightful.