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Monday, 2 July 2018

The Nose Knows

Quite a number of days ago, when daughter and I came home from town, my husband responded to our, "Hi!" with "We have a problem."

This was the problem. While daughter and I were out and about, tabby cat, Samson (he of the header picture) came in through the cat door with a rodent in his mouth. My husband only noticed this when said rodent was dropped in the kitchen and ran. It ran under our dishwasher (which had the bottom panel removed because of the repeated attempts by service people to fix the leak because it is under extended warranty, but that's a whole other story...)

Husband told us it was large and held his hands up to show the size. He was demonstrating 'rat size'. Great, so now we had a rodent in the house, potentially a rat, hopefully just a hefty mouse. Traps were set. Nothing. Time went on. More traps were set. Daughter slept with towels jammed under her bedroom door (we have an old house with gaps under the old doors).

Two days ago, I thought, "Boy, I really need to dump the compost regularly in this heat!", which I did. One day ago, I said, "Something smells in this kitchen. No, it's not the garbage." I contemplated going through the bag of potatoes, thinking one was rotting which can happen sometimes. There was also a niggling worry in my mind. "You don't think it might be..."

This morning, the stench was undeniably that of decomposition. It would seem the run under the dishwasher was the last physical exertion that mouse had experienced. Husband started to maneuver the dishwasher from its spot in the kitchen (it's built in), but it would only go so far. Both of us laid on the floor (yup, nasty smell just wafting out at us), flashlight in hand, hoping we could see the deceased in the back recesses of the dishwasher hole. I thought I saw some dark grey fur in the back corner and asked husband if he had one of those skinny grabber tools (mechanic types use it when they inadvertently drop something that's hard to reach). Yes he did and within moments I was rolling around trying to grab onto the "mouse". Well, in reality it was just a clump of the sound-deadening fabric that is wrapped around the machine. No mouse.

However, our olfactory senses told us that it was still in there, somewhere, so husband went to the basement and detached various lines so the dishwasher could be pulled out even more. And voila!! There it was (mouse, not rat). Plastic gloves were donned, mouse was deposited into a plastic bag and taken out to the burn barrel, and I proceeded to bleach and disinfect the area until absolutely no stench remained.

Have I mentioned we've been under a heat advisory these past couple of days. There's nothing more delightful than dead mouse on a hot day!


I know someone out there has a 'dead animal in your old house' story. Feel free to share.

42 comments:

  1. We use to have a cat who would go hunting, bring the dead prey in and line them up, thank God he never brought live ones in.

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    1. Our girl likes to deposit them at the foot of the bed in the middle of the night quite often.

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  2. Yup..dead mouse in the house....inside the vent to the range house...several days of scrabblig and rustling followed by 'dead' silence. Yuck.

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    1. Ha! I knew what you meant. I hope you could get it out easily.

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  3. Having a new mantel built in our old house, a rat got boxed in. We had to either deal with the odor or have the new mantle torn apart and as it was a huge mantle that went above and along sides of the brick we decided to wait it out. 4 weeks!!! the sweet sickly smell stuck around for 4 weeks. UGH

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    1. I was worried the stench would "stick" to food. Maybe if it had been in another part of the house, we might not have ripped things apart, but I'm ALWAYS in the kitchen. For what it's worth, I'm still wiping things down, taking out all the cleaning products, garbage can, emergency candles, etc. from under the sink. I now have a bowl of vinegar sitting there to absorb the smell.

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  4. Jenn, You sound like me ...I would have not been able to rest smelling that. I do not even want an incest in my house. I will look for a fly if I see it go thru the house and usually find it in a window. LOL. Good cat catching a mouse...just needs to drop them outside. LOL. Blessings, xoxo, Susie
    p.s. I did laugh about your daughter stuffing the towels. :)

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    1. I texted her a picture of the dead mouse. (Just so she'd have proof!)

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  5. :: knock on wood:: captured any errant creatures before they became decomposing stink traps. Sorry for the effort it took to handle it, but glad it didn't require calling in (and paying for) a professional...

    Maybe this is one more reason (besides allergies) that it's good I don't have cats?

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    1. Well, it's because of "professionals" that there was a space under the dish washer for the little varmint to run into. I kid you not, it has taken six (six!!) visits from repair people. Still leaks. I've been washing dishes by hand for about two months. Someone is coming again tomorrow with a new part. (Eye roll) Should have left the dead mouse!!

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  6. Never, ever were we able to remove enough boards/hoses/lines/equipment to retrieve a rotting prize released by a proud cat. Not until the new hatched flies had exited and were gone was it over. Every single time.

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    1. And they are so proud, aren't they? Your mention of flies reminds me of all the Kay Scarpetta mysteries where they forensically figure out murders. (Patricia Cornwell is the author - I know you have a bit of a gap when it comes to books. If you like a series, you may like these).

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  7. In walls, under shelving, in the car... I am a dead mouse expert, if that is a thing. Gak.

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  8. I regret to say that I get this a lot. I recently had one hell of a smell in my 'office' and it got so bad that it was impossible to work in there at all. It turned out to be one quite small rotting mouse corpse underneath something I had leaned against a wall. Boy was I pleased to find it. It is an ongoing thing with four cats, all hunters.

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    1. Two coworkers who share a workspace found both a dead mouse and a live mouse last Friday. They were not pleased.

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  9. Damn mice nested in the engine of my car this winter and caused six hundred dollars of wiring damage. Our two cats keep mice out of our house, but have'nt figured out how I will keep the void of the car this winter.

    Happy Canada Day
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I hear you. They keep building nests in our riding lawn mower.

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    2. We had to set mouse traps in the van this spring!

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  10. Found a mouse at work, captured it, took it outside well away from the building and released it only to see it make a beeline back where it had come from! So much for my humanitarian instincts!

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    1. Oh, you tried to do the right thing. Silly mouse.

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  11. Our last house (in Illinois) before moving here to Minnesota was indeed an old house with an old furnace in the basement and old heat ducts running to registers in each room. A mouse somehow crawled into one of the ducts and died. It was in the winter when the furnace was on. We had no way to find exactly where it was or how to extract it. We just had to run the furnace until the body decomposed enough that it didn't smell anymore. There's no smell like a dead mouse smell, is there? Eeeeuuuuw!!

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  12. ACK! Nasty stuff. We have experienced this in our old house. Unfortunately for us, the mouse found a way into the walls of the home but couldn't find its way out.And it died there. So...we couldn't just grab it and throw it out. We had to wait until the decomposition was done and the smell dissipated. It was a horrible experience!

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  13. “in reality it was just a clump of the sound-deadening fabric that is wrapped around the machine.”

    Bwhahahhahahha!

    I will write about my mom and dad’s rat story one day. It’s quite funny. It ended up with my dad throwing a flashlight at it because it scared him. The rat died.

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  14. One of our cats regularly comes from the basement with mice. She drops them then tortures them, or plays with them. I know, gross eh? We had one of these half dead things climb into the back of our refrigerator where the compressor is...yeah, the hot spot. It took us weeks to find the bad smell! I'm finding the mice are HUGE this summer!

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  15. See, Martha, Birdie, Karen - I knew there would be mouse stories out there! I think there is a healthy population of mice right now (and squirrels - god I hate squirrels).

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  16. You have my sympathy! Not a fun ordeal. I'm glad it isn't setting up a cozy nest in your home. There is always something to keep us occupied.

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  17. Our tend to bring them in, alive, then dump then in their food dish. This is Hooper, who is nearly 1. Then the games begin. Mouse, chipmunk, baby rabbit. One morning hubby swears it was a bat at the foot of the bed on the floor, he grabbed a butterfly net and put it out. I think it was a noisy vole! cheers

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  18. The first house we bought was newish, had been built by “the best builders in the area” and also had serious mouse issues. The interior walls were hollow, uninsulated, of course. Mice seemed to have been trained to fall into the wall void directly behind our bed. Horrible smells would develop and take days to dissipate. Right behind our bed. Repeatedly. Eventually we filled that wall void with vermiculite so that the mice wouldn’t get trapped in the void. Side note: we couldn’t figure out how the mice were getting in. With the help of a wildlife biologist friend, we live trapped some, coated them in a fluorescent powder and took them several miles away and literally over a mountain to release. Each night after we scanned the exterior of the house with a black light, looking for their fluorescent trails. Three days after releasing the (itty bitty luscious bits ‘o prey) mice miles away, we found fluorescent tracks going straight up the downspouts and disappearing into the tiniest of holes under the eaves. Homing mice. Who knew?

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    1. I don't even know what to say. Coated them in fluorescent powder?? That's incredible. With our old house, even if a helpful cat didn't bring them in, there are probably any number of places they could come in. We used to hear them in the walls, too. I have heard of people trapping raccoons and then putting a little spray paint on them, taking them far away, and then having the same raccoons come back again.

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  19. Our old farmhouse was built is 1895 and we lived there quite happily for twenty years. Mice though, were always a problem. I finally relented and let one of our barn cats hang out inside. Just the smell of the cat seemed to work and the mouse population dwindled. Now in the grain bin house, no basement, concrete slab floor and only one doorway,-we are totally mouse free. I did have a toad hop in the other day though. He went back out (gently) with the toe of my shoe.

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  20. Oh, you have my deepest sympathies. I had one under the fridge and that was bad enough but at least it wasn't in the midst of this oppressive heat. I am SO sorry. But glad you found it.

    Lizzie's an innie so no mice unless one gets in the house on its own (it's happened, especially at the lake) but she's taken to thinking out of the box again. I'm not sure what to do next, but at least it's on the cement in the basement...

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  21. Yak !!....What a story....i am glad everything is ok now in your house no mouse more....love from me Ria enjoy summer here in Holland we have also beautiful weather ...💜

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  22. Hello Bonnie, Joy, Jenn, Donna, Jeanie, and Ria!! All mouse remnant smell is gone, gone, gone, and the dishwasher finally is fixed! Life is good. I know it's hot (really hot), but I distinctly remember snow in April, so I'm totally o.k. with the heat. Jeanie, I'm the wrong woman to ask since I have a cat who I describe as being "on the spectrum' who won't use a litter box at all. Thank goodness he's an outside cat. He has been known to use the bathtub as a "litter box" a couple of times. I think it's a texture thing with him, but then, he's strange. (Bathtubs are easy to clean up!)

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  23. Oh no, isn't that awful!! I've had a dead mouse in a spot where I didn't know it was there until the stink came, it was NOT pleasant!!!! Glad it wasn't a rat though, I would lose my life...

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  24. Oh dear that did make me laugh especially your daughter with the towel under her door. It is indeed an awful stench. We have had them in the cavity wall when we have put poison in the attic.

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  25. Oh my goodness, we have been through that too. Our dead mouse smell usually came from under the house and we had to live with the smell until it disappeared. Thankfully, we haven't had one in a while. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

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  26. I'm sanguine - a mouse, that's do-able. A rat is another thing entirely, they really freak me out! Glad all is once again sweet.

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  27. When we lived in VA we sometimes would have field mice get into the kitchen by coming up through kitchen floor grates. It was an old house with no basement. We used the sticky type traps and would usually catch them before they died in the house. Hope your cat doesn’t bring in any more live trophies.

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