Mouse vs. Cats – You Decide

Around 4:00 am, there was a lot of activity going on in our bedroom…under the bed. Instead of chasing each other, my cats were clearly after some other prey.  Very few rodents have ever managed to get into our house, much less survive a night with three cats on the prowl. One adventurous (or stupid) mouse decided to brave the gauntlet, and was now scurrying around my bedroom floor. I looked over the edge of the bed, and saw Claire lunge under the night table, emerge proudly with the wriggling little furball in her mouth, then trot off to the livingroom with her prize.

So now what? I could go back to sleep and let the cats do what cats were born to do — continue to hunt and play with the mouse until they killed it…and maybe ate it. But pragmatically, I didn’t want the mouse dying somewhere hidden, relying only on the odor of decay to reveal its whereabouts days later. (I’ve experienced that before. Trust me, it’s not pleasant.) And from a humanitarian standpoint, I didn’t want the cats to kill the furry creature (it is cute, despite the fact that mice are vile vermin).

I got up.

Claire had dropped the mouse on the carpet and was letting it try to escape over and over before she grabbed it again–just toying with it. The other two cats were waiting to pounce if it ran in their direction. I had the power to save the mouse. Its fate rested in my hands. I decided to catch and release. Using the tried and true method of throwing a plastic bowl over the mouse and sliding a piece of cardboard underneath, I scooped up the little guy and liberated him out the front door — much to the disappointment of the kitties.

It’s a big responsibility being given power over another life.  That person or creature needs to trust you will make the best decision. How many times have we seen the reminder from animal shelters that saving one animal’s life may not make a big difference, but it certainly makes a difference to that one animal? Sure, it’s a mouse today. But tomorrow it might be your pet, or even your spouse or parent.

And how many times do we feel like the mouse? All pathways seem blocked by insurmountable obstacles. What can we as little mice do?  We have to have faith that there is a bigger person with a giant plastic bowl who will shield us and ‘deliver us from evil’ felines. Sometimes we just have to let go and trust a higher power.

I believe I did the right thing this morning. And who is to say the little rodent won’t find its way back in the house, and next time I might not be around to help? Let’s hope it’s smart enough to stay outside. But that’s how free will works.

As my son finishes his last year in high school, my kids are frequently on my mind. They are a little bit like the mice. We protect them; we scoop them up before they get hurt. But in time, we also need to release them into the wild and trust that they, too, will make the best decisions for themselves. Every choice we make, from what to eat for breakfast, or what college to attend, to whether or not to save a mouse, has an impact on someone.  Some choices will have a greater, farther reaching impact than others. The opportunity to make decisions is a gift, and each outcome sets us along a different path.

What important decisions will you make today?





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