The once white, now grayish streaked cat, sits at attention in front of the stove. She peers intently into the black space underneath it. She has been doing this off and on for a couple of days. Hmm I wonder what she thinks is under there. My husband finally decides to see for himself if he can stir up anything. As he sweeps under the stove with a yardstick, a gray fury critter scurries out and across the kitchen floor. The cat, now joined by her three colored companion, and the dog pounces on the prize. But to the cats, this is a toy to be played with and they bat it around while my husband watches.
“Why didn’t you kill it?” I ask.
“Oh, I thought they would take care of it,” he replied.
This is not the first time in the last few weeks that we have been reminded that fall is approaching and the little gray pests are looking for a home for the winter. Just last week, the white cat was found playing with one of her toys in the mud room. It was lifeless and I soon disposed of it into the woods.
In early September, I climbed into my car one day and noticed the faint scent of a not so pleasant smell. I wonder what that is, I asked? I hoped it was not a dead mouse. Within a few days, the smell had increased to an overpowering stench. I needed to hold my breath every time I stepped into that car. Diligently, I peered under seats, in the trunk, under the hood, and in every nook and cranny that I could think of but there was no evidence of where the offending odor was originating from. Even driving down the road with the windows open did not eradicate the smell of death. Finally, I went to the store to buy an air freshener.
The salesman there said, “Buy this black ice one. It’s the only one I use.”
I had my doubts. The smell of black ice did not sound appealing to me but I took his advice. I bought it. Of course, I did not read the directions first but took all the packaging off and hung, what I hoped, would be my savior off the rearview mirror. Whoa, what a pungent aroma. I was assaulted now with the overpowering reek of laundry soap. I was not sure if the black ice smell was better than the dead animal smell. Mixing the two smells together only made we want to throw up every time I entered my transportation carriage. I soon threw out the black ice air freshener. My internet search revealed an expected two to three weeks for decomposition of a mouse. It’s pretty bad when one has to research the time of decomposition.
A trip to the Toyota dealer after another week revealed a well prepared mouse nest in the cabin intake filter but no skeletons. By then the smell was diminishing or maybe I had just gotten used to it. And that mouse in the closet, never to be seen again. Never to be smelled either. That reminds me, I need to go remove the plastic cover on the car engine before our friends make cozy nests on the engine block and chew off the ignition timing wires.