Achtung Baby Or Toys That Breathe

03/12/2009 15:38 | Updated 22 May 2015

My husband and I were enjoying a little cuddle in the kitchen last week when he, without warning, bellowed "MAUS MAUS!" directly into my right ear hole. The furry critter had apparently scuttled at some speed across the dining room floor and into a hole in the floorboards.

We were not surprised. Over the past few weeks we have been attempting to ignore suspicious scratchy noises, convincing ourselves that one should expect and accept such things when living in the depths of German farming country. I'm not afraid of mice and I'm not about to start leaping onto the nearest chair screaming like a girl, but that said I'm not too keen on the thought of them playing Happy Vermin Families in my sofa either.

Finje, having only experienced mice in books, clearly thinks they all wear clothes, have names and speak as she was over the moon at the news. No doubt already planning a mouse dinner/slumber party.

Not me. I went off in search of a cat.On procurement of said feline, all thoughts regarding rodent friendships dispersed and our new kitten became Finje's instant B.F.F. I opted for a kitten with the intention of training her to be the best mouser in the Northern Hemisphere and one with stripes hoping that some Big Cat genealogy lingers on.

Ripley (named after the unforgiving Alien character) must be in the running for Most Tolerant Cat 2010. A perpetual "Leave the cat ALONE" or "Lass die Katze in RUHE" can now be heard perpetually in our house. Finje appears unable to allow the poor thing a moments peace. There is no cruelty involved. No tail pulling or rough handling just a relentless following, stroking, picking up and putting down routine that would drive me insane, were I a cat. Apart from seeking occasional refuge behind the radiator, Ripley tolerates her tormentor with a dignity and grace only cats can execute.

It is difficult though to teach a wired three and a half year old that this adorable, tempting ball of fluff is not a toy but a merciless mouse slayer in the making.

Oh, did I say Mouse Slayer? Yesterday in a moment of unusual peace, a loud SNAP from the direction of the mouse trap caught my attention, somewhat! Oh yes. Before its meeting with the Grim Reaper the now rather flat and thankfully dead mouse had managed to patter PAST Ripley on its way to its untimely end. Not a good start!

Animals and children (or indeed mice). Any advice?

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