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Amanda Wheeler | Dealing with a mouse in the house

I love having cute furry animals in my house — as long as they are cats or dogs. Recently I had a mouse in my house, and despite how well that rhymes, it was less than ideal.

As the temperatures get colder, many animals are looking for warm places to spend the winter.

I was lucky to find and catch my mouse pretty quickly with the help of a different animal taking advantage of my warm house — my cat, Boston.

Boston alerted me to the intruder and began chasing it down. Once she cornered it, I was able to take a cup and let it run into the cup. I covered it with a piece of paper and took it back outside.

I felt a little bad for the little guy as I returned him to my frigid back yard, but I definitely didn’t want a mouse in my house.

The first thing I did after catching and releasing the mouse was to look for the mouse’s access point. I checked all of my doors and exterior walls for small spaces where a mouse could get in. Mice are so small that even when you find a place and you think “It’s probably too small for a mouse,” it probably isn’t actually too small for a mouse. You should fix it anyway.

Even if a hole really is too small for a mouse, sealing it up prevents your house from leaking heat so you don’t waste energy.

I think our mouse got in through our garage door, then snuck from the garage to our main house. Keeping our garage door closed will help prevent a repeat visit, as will checking the edges of the garage door for any gaps (we didn’t have any).

I was able to catch but not kill my mouse because I have a very helpful feline assistant. If you don’t have a helper, there are still humane options available for catching mice intruders.

You can get live traps and catch a mouse by luring it with bait. The mouse gets caught alive in the trap and you can then relocate it outside your house.

There are many ways to trap a mouse but a lot of them are not very humane. Glue paper is one of the worst options out there. When a mouse walks onto the paper, it sticks to the mouse’s feet and the poor thing just struggles and strains until it starves to death.

Some people also use poison. That similarly creates a lot of unnecessary suffering for the mouse, and it’s also not an option if you have pets or small children living in your house. This isn’t just because the pets or children might find the poison. If a mouse eats the poison and then your cat plays with or eats the mouse, it can make your cat sick.

If you must kill a mouse in your house, opt for traps that cause instant death so at least the mouse doesn’t have to suffer.

But remember — the mouse is only in your house because it seems like a nice place to live. It’s not trying to make your life harder; it’s just trying to survive.

One of the best strategies is a preemptive one: Make your house less desirable to mice so they won’t have as much of a reason to invade.

Make sure you don’t leave food out and make sure to clean up crumbs and spilled food. Be sure to check in tricky places like under cabinets and under the toaster. Keep things like loaves of bread in cabinets instead of on counter