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Earning their Keep

February 16th, 2015

We’ve been hearing lots of mice in the house, in the walls, in the ceilings. We were wondering if the cats were doing their job, but then on two different occasions in the past month we have found evidence that they have.
dead mouse
In case you can’t quite tell what’s in the photo above, here’s a cropped version. Typically they leave what we call “mouse pants” which is just the back legs. I’m not sure why this time it was just the face.
dead mouse (1)
It’s nice to know their doing their job, but I’d be happy if they ate 100% of their catch. Oh well, I guess as long as I don’t have mice getting into the pantry I don’t mind picking up mouse parts every once and again. Two of our cats are not mousers at all, the other three are great. Having working animals is so nice, it’s so much easier than setting and monitoring traps! At least in the house it’s just mice that they leave, when they’re all outdoors they’ll leave squirrels and various other rodents on my front step.

Do your pets ever leave you gifts?

15 Comments to “Earning their Keep”
  1. Patricia on February 16, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Our mouser is 16 & slowing down. She has brought us mice, moles, bats, birds, bunnies & parts & pieces of various animals. Lately I will hear a noise & she has a chipmunk & if I open the door it scares her & the critter gets away. Our other cat does not go out much & is on a harness & leash so I’m not sure if or how he would be as a mouser.

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  2. kristin @ going country on February 16, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Yup, and the bigger the pet, the bigger the gift. So when the collies are involved, we end up with whole rib cages of deer or an entire leg. Lovely.

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  3. Natalie on February 16, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Our outdoor cat usually eats all of his catch, except the bile sac. It’s great that he doesn’t usually leave presents! I also love that he does hunt so much. We had more in the house before he showed up. Their nest was outside and he quickly took care of that.

    He’s currently safe in the garage, because the weather is so cold right now.

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    • Natalie on February 16, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Mice (not more). Auto correct!

      Reply to Natalie's comment

  4. Toni on February 16, 2015 at 10:08 am

    When we lived in FL our cats would leave snakes! Thank goodness they were dead.

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  5. Nebraska Dave on February 16, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Susy, the house I live in now for 30 years has only had one mouse and I saw that one scamper through the open garage door on a chilly fall day. I set a trap and quickly caught it. The house before this one was a breeding ground for mice. Our cat was a mouser and we had a competition to see who would catch the most mice during the winter months. Between my traps and Casey Mae’s hunting skills it was not uncommon to catch upward of 20 to 30 mice in a winter season. It was a hundred year old house that was the original farm house for the 160 acre government land grant. Of course it had been modernized and added on to over the years but still, it was an old farm house that had been prettied up. The city built up around it until all that was left was a double lot and the house. It was the second house that I bought in my journey through life. It was a good old house but it really seemed to be a mouse magnet. The most interesting thing that Casey Mae would proudly present to us on the back porch steps was headless baby snakes. Eeeeh, I hate snakes.

    Have a great mouse hunting day.

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  6. Misti on February 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Leo is a good mouser ( and lizarder). He caught a mouse in Florida, thank goodness I didn’t see it and my husband saw it first, and then last summer he and my husband caught a mouse together…Leo brought it in, dropped it in F’s bedroom and then Leo helped my husband corner it again and live trap it and release it back outside.

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  7. Brenda on February 16, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Yes, our Wilson cat catches and leaves just some internal organs (wondering not if it is the bile sac, see above comment). Also chipmunks, voles, and once a rat – all outside.
    Our dog Hendee (named after an author) loves to catch mice on the farm but not at home.
    Our daughter’s cat caught a squirrel and she helped her sons dissect it. When I was there yesterday she had the pelt mounted. Homeschoolers :)

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    • Brenda on February 16, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      now. not “not”. sheesh.

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  8. Pat in Nebraska on February 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Several years ago, when Mother would get up in the morning, she would go to the front door and view Tommie’s offerings from the night’s hunt. There would be a tidy row of victims there on the front porch. Mother would tell Tommie, “I don’t need anything this morning, thank you.” By the time Dad’s breakfast was made and on the table Mother said the porch would be cleared for the day. This went on several years until Tommie had used up her nine lives. Her offspring were probably good hunters too, but the line-up on the porch wasn’t continued by any of them.

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  9. Terri on February 16, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    We have had excellent mousers/hunters through the years. Many “gifts” have been left for us both inside and outside the house. The most interesting one was when my Jazzy brought me what I thought was a chipmunk, but upon closer examination turned out to be a small weasel. I too, like Kristin have had also had many gifts from my dogs as well. I used to joke that I could come up with enough parts after the fall hunting season to build another deer.

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  10. tj on February 16, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    …lol…I laughed out loud upon beginning to read this post! I mean, not only did you photograph a disembodied mouse head to lead us into the story but you cropped the photo too to be sure we received the full effect! lol.. :o)

    …We get these a lot here too. Like you, most of the time it is the hind legs we receive or sometimes it will be an internal organ laying there. We have two cats, one is the Master Hunter and his name is Gabe. The other one is a small black cat who is an aspiring hunter and her name is Poot. She pretty much isn’t “hunting” as much as looking for a playmate, which in turn, she plays to death! She usually leaves us the entire mouse as her gift.

    …I loved reading all the comments above, funny how many others have these little “gifts” left for them from their feline friends. :o)

    …Enjoy all of that snow too! We f-i-n-a-l-l-y got about 5 in. of snow here in Missouri, our first real snowfall since November 2014. And wouldn’t you know it, I’d be sick and can’t go outside and enjoy it! Ugh!

    …Peace & blessings you two!

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  11. katy on February 16, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    oh yeah! our cat brings us squirrels 1/2 her size, a woodpecker 3/4ths her size (and she is a BIG cat), catches cardinals out of the air…craziness. we give her lots of praise when she brings us presents but if it is not to her satisfaction, she will put her catches IN our shoes…to make sure we saw her presents ;) i was never able to harvest peas or carrots before her; the bunnies ate them all. i LOVE having a cat! we keep trying to get her companions but she chases them away. [shrug] i guess she’s good being a loner :)

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  12. Maybelline on February 19, 2015 at 1:52 am

    My old garden kitties would always present me with the heads on gophers, rats, mice, & doves. Kitty love.

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  13. Angie on February 19, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    My 3 cats won’t even go outdoors in the winter….they don’t like the 5 foot snowbanks around the house I guess. In the summer we find presents outside the doors every morning; usually moles but sometimes we get squirrels and mice. There is a mouse in the walls of our house this winter. We’ve all heard it rustling around, including the cats. If I were to get up every hour at night, I would find a different cat keeping guard by the spot where we think the mouse is holed up. I’m sure he will come out one day before spring and meet his maker!!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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