I have used rat traps in the past but the results are so ugly. And we have a feral cat in the area who we are quite fond of, and I didn’t want to inadvertently hurt him instead. I tried a glue trap once, but the mouse that got stuck to it was still alive, so I tried to get it unstuck and the whole thing ended up like an episode of I Love Lucy. So Sunday night I set out a small Havahart trap in the tack room, put a glob of peanut butter on the inside, and waited to see what happened.
Yesterday at evening feed, I had caught the little bugger. And man, was he P.O.ed. He threw himself around in the cage, clinging to the wire like a little demented Jimmy Cagney threatening to kill me if he ever got out. I left him in the cage, my plan being that in the morning I would take him into town somewhere and turn him loose.
And so events today transpired as such:
7:00 a.m. Squirrel in cage looks like he is dying. One eye is swelled shut and he is huddled in a corner of the cage, breathing rapidly. Damn it! Why couldn’t he have just died if that was what he was going to do? I don’t want him to suffer. Now I feel bad. No, don’t feel bad. He’s a destructive rodent. Take him to the other side of the Northway and turn him loose.
7:10 a.m. I don’t think the squirrel would live if I just kicked him out somewhere. He isn’t moving unless I poke him. Maybe I should just let him loose outside. He’s probably going to die anyway. I take the cage out of the barn on the path, open the end, and put him by a tree, thinking he’s going to leave the cage and scamper up the tree to terrorize me another day.
7:20 a.m. Walking back to the house, I think: Well, stupid, let’s say he does leave the trap and goes up the tree, then you’re no better off! He’s still going to get destructive in the barn! And then you’re NEVER going to trap him again because now he knows the game! Duh! Better go get the trap, if he hasn’t already run out, and do something with him, I don’t know what now.
7:25 a.m. Squirrel is still in trap, still huddled in corner, still breathing rapidly. But having hydrated slightly by being the snow seems to have rejuvenated him a tiny bit. Still looks like he’s on death’s door. Why won’t he die already? He’s ruining my day!
7:30 a.m. Throw Havahart trap with heaving squirrel in back of truck for ride into town.
8:15 a.m. Get ready to drive to work, look at squirrel in trap. He lifts his head a little when I look at him. The ride in the back of the truck will be flippin’ cold, that may kill him off. Oh screw it, I put the cage in the front seat of the truck. But I don’t secure him with the seat belt. I don’t like him that much. I do tell him that village living is much more interesting – there are more houses, more squirrels to fight with and the always exciting traffic to dodge. He should be looking at this as an opportunity.
8:30 a.m. I arrive at work and shuttle the squirrel to the side porch of our building. I see one of our neighborhood cats glide through the snow in the backyard. He may have easy pickings today. I set the cage down and open the end, hoping the clear view of trees will be enough to encourage him to make his move.
9:00 a.m. I check and the squirrel is still huddled in the corner, not making a move. I poke him and he gives me an indignant look. He does scuttle out of the cage and hides under some wood piled on the porch a few feet away.
9:30 a.m. I tell my boss Cherie and tenant-lawyer Mark about my morning. Cherie says I’m letting my guilt get the better of me, I’m over-thinking the whole thing and that her husband catches his wretched squirrels with glue traps. Mark rolls his eyes at me and proceeds to tell me about all the insulation in his attic that needs to be replaced because of rodent damage. I know they’re right. I decide if he's back in the cage, I’m just going to dump the stupid thing out of the trap into the snowbank and let the chips fall where they may.
10:00 a.m. The squirrel is gone. I can see tracks in the fresh snow where he made his way towards some trees and the back of the building.
I didn’t need a Disney ending. I just didn’t want to know that I was responsible for his demise, although I suppose I certainly can be. Oh well. We all have soft spots. I have no doubt there are relatives of his to take his place in the barn. It’s just a matter of time.