The world tells you that there are only two types of people: cat people and dog people. My family has a dog, so cats aren’t my thing.
Bu that changed a few weeks ago when my colleague Teresa told me about her cat – she and her roommate got him because they had mice in their apartment. Cats in Amsterdam are like children a hundred years ago. People have them not because they’re cute and they love them, but because there is work to be done.
And I don’t know why it was that idea that got me into cats, but it was. I want a cat. A pet with a job.
Teresa says her cat doesn’t even need to kill mice, its presence alone scares the mice away.
I wanted nothing more than an apartment with mice so that we could get a cat who could scare the mice away using only its natural musk or a well-timed look or hiss. But we moved into an apartment four floors up from the street, and it seemed unlikely.
Then I came downstairs one morning and found a miracle on the counter – a mouse poop.
Maybe. It seemed too good to be true so we investigated it from all angles with the flashlight function on my phone. Was it actually a chocolate sprinkle? Part of a cookie? A sliver of a chocolate bar? A rolled up little ball of Nutella? If you’d lived with me you would know all of those are more likely than mouse poop. Chocolate crumbs line the pockets of every jacket and backpack I have, and every time I get a new jacket or backpack I say this time it’s going to be different, this is going to be the one that doesn’t get lined with chocolate, but a few weeks later it’s too late. Most of my favorite foods are the color of mouse poop. So we sort of assumed it was chocolate, cleaned the counter, and forgot about it until a few hours later.
That’s when I found the mouse door, because there’s no other word for it. Behind the trash can in the kitchen (don’t ask why I was looking there because I can’t remember) is a tiny mouse door, straight out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, and all around the door were more tiny brown things that at this point couldn’t be sprinkles.
We have a mouse! Why don’t other wishes come true this quickly?
We haven’t started looking for a pet with a job yet – because the real reason I’m a dog person is I’m incredibly allergic to cats, and so is Boaz. We won’t be getting a cat until after scientists invent some kind of surgery we can get.
But I don’t regret wishing for a mouse. So far she’s an unobtrusive roommate, and Boaz pointed out that a mouse is worlds better than cockroaches. In high school I slept in a room with slugs, and our last apartment had so many ants that we could feel them in our scalp and they crawled all over us in the shower, filled the insides of our clean socks, and swam in our milk. A mouse is also better than bedbugs, and snakes, and hand-sized spiders. A mouse is better than a lot of things.
And what if she’s scaring away the cockroaches? Maybe we have a pet with a job after all.
This is McGee on his birthday. I’ll add a photo of the mouse on her birthday as soon as we figure out when that is.