This is a story about a woman, Jacqueline Lamb Jackson, who was desperate to get rid of mice in her home and who eventually turned to a domestic cat which proved successful. Over this period of time, from failure to success, Jacqueline learned to love a cat who they adopted from a local rescue centre.
Jacqueline and her husband Roy had tried everything to get rid of mice. Jacqueline suggested getting a cat but Roy was completely against it because he hated them. Most of their mice problem solutions were humane such as electronic rodent deterrence and humane catch and release traps. They turned to traps which kill mice but found that they did not work either. The mice managed to pick off the food without getting crushed. Jacqueline was quietly happy about that glitch but still wanted the mice out of their home.
It appears that their desperation to resolve the mice problem and their failure to resolve it using mechanical or chemical means resulted in them turning to the best solution, the domestic cat, even though they had this idea in their heads that they disliked felines. Even that hardened disliking of the domestic cat can change, which is a lesson to many people who think that they will never like them.
Jacqueline and Roy went to their Humane Society and bravely asked for the meanest cat in the building. I’m not sure why they asked for the meanest because meanness does not necessarily translate into effectiveness in catching mice but I guess it is a good sign. Nonetheless, they were guided to a particularly aggressive and mangy looking individual, a former stray, and a male. The adoption fee was waived, so desperate was the Humane Society to get rid of him.
The initial meeting between cat and the couple was not helpful as there was plenty of growling and hissing. They decided that he was the cat for them as they envisaged him rampaging throughout their home, cleaning up their mice problem at a stroke. They took him home and couldn’t believe that they’re done it. Desperate times require desperate measures, they thought.
Jacqueline and Roy have a dog so there was a typical introduction between fierce domestic cat and resident dog. It took a little time and there was some friction to put it mildly but after a difficult settling in period for their new cat, who they named Liam, there was a transformation. Jacqueline calls it a metamorphosis.
It seems that Liam began to trust humans. This is my interpretation. He’d been mean because perhaps he had been ill-treated or neglected and didn’t trust anybody or anything. Or as a stray he’d lost some of his domestication. Now he trusted people and slept belly up on the sofa. He became friendly with the family dog and followed him around like a brother. When they called for him he came and sat on their lap.
It wasn’t Liam’s abilities as a mouser – and he did keep the mice away as required in his job description – it was his presence as a loving cat companion which made them change their minds about domestic cats.
Comment: now that Jacqueline and Roy love domestic cats as well as dogs there must be a lesson to be learned by all people who dislike cats. Perhaps they have some deeply ingrained prejudice because of a bad experience many years ago. I don’t know. But if you’re mind is open to it, and if you have mice, adopt a domestic cat. Through the cat’s utility in being a good mouser you will learn to love them.
My thanks to Jacqueline and Roy and The Globe and Mail, a Canadian online newspaper.