Trick or Treat from a Pack Rat

This is the plastic pumpkin I put out on the patio table just outside the kitchen. It has an electric light inside of it and is our only outside Halloween decoration this year. I thought the mask was a nice touch for the hideous 2020 year this Halloween is in. Besides, we wanted to be sure that we were following Oregon’s mask mandate. More on the pumpkin in a minute.

Living in rural America is a different experience for us two city boys. Imagine our animated excitement when meeting Cecil, the mouse who we have now seen in the kitchen trash compactor on several occasions. So, what to do?

I don’t want to poison it. That seems cruel, and it might die in the walls someplace and smell horrible. I don’t want (but may have) to put out a traditional mouse trap that may only injure it, requiring one of us to then kill it. Besides, he looks kinda cute.

But I’m not sharing the kitchen with a mouse!

So, having observed two different cats dashing through the pasture in the past couple of months, probably returning from hunting mice or rats in the woods, we decided to put some dry cat food near the house in the hopes that one of the cats would find Cecil, and nature could take its course. We placed the cat food in a plastic bowl on top of the patio table in front of the pumpkin. The next morning, the cat food was gone.

We did this for several days, and each time, the food was gone the next morning. But was it one of the cats? I’ve seen some rather massive raccoon tracks about…

Last night we hosted an outdoor dinner party for a couple of guests. When setting up, I decided to move the pumpkin from the center of the table. When I picked it up, I was puzzled. It was significantly heavier. I shook it, and it rattled. What in the world was inside of the pumpkin?

Well, all of the cat food, of course!

A cat simply would not have put the dry cat food bits (cutely shaped like little fish) inside of the pumpkin.

One of our guests then told us that pack rats live in the woods and are impossible to get rid of. He is convinced this was the work of a pack rat! Well, okay then. Back to square one.