I’m not a cat person.

First of all, I’m allergic to them. They make me sneeze, and my eyes water, and my nose itch. Just looking at a cat makes me think of miserable nights that I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe because I was in a house FULL of cat hair.  It’s happened more than once.

So my husband had to do some real sweet-talking to convince me we needed to bring a kitten with us as we moved to our new house. He didn’t have to convince me the kitty was cute - I couldn’t deny that. And when he started reminding me of how over-run with mice our previous house was - how I couldn’t even keep my dishes in the cabinets because they would get covered with mouse droppings overnight - how we tried and tried and tried to trap them, sometimes getting two or three in a night but never, never getting them all - well, I started to cave.

I did cave. We kept the kitten.

He’s been a member of our family for a year now. He’s grown from a cute kitten to a beautiful cat. There is something luxurious about a sleek tomcat sunning himself in front of the living room window. But my husband has had to convince me over and over again that we should keep him - like, every time I wake up to the strong smell of tomcat urine and find that he marked his territory on my favorite throw rug.

“But we don’t have mice!” hubby says sweetly.

“I’d rather have mice than this stench!” I retort sharply.

“But remember how bad it was? How you couldn’t even keep dishes in the cabinets?” I sigh and shake my head and clean up the mess again.

But the cat stays.

Then there’s the way he scares our boys. The screams of terror from my three year old as the cat stalks him. Seriously, a stalking cat is creepy! And when he’s stalking your own child, it’s just not okay.

“But we don’t have mice!” my husband reminds me.

“I’d rather have mice - at least they don’t make my babies cry.”

But the cat stays.

And then . . . I found mouse droppings in a cabinet.

A day or two later, I heard a mouse scurrying away when I flipped on the kitchen light.

The next day, I actually saw the creature dash from counter to stove before disappearing.

And then, the final crowning insult, I stood in the kitchen doorway in broad daylight as a mouse crawled onto the stove, climbed into a dirty pot, and proceeded to eat his lunch from the scraps of our lunch while I watched.

And the cat slept.

I burst into my husband’s office, “That’s it! The cat is going! The only reason he’s still here is because he keeps the mice away. Now I have a mouse and a cat. This is not okay!”

I don’t remember what he responded. Maybe something like, “He just needs some time to catch it.”

But that night, after we put the boys in bed and the cat was rubbing around our ankles, arching his back and asking for attention, my husband looked at me sheepishly.

“I just like him,” he said.

And so the cat stays.

I’ll see if I can find mouse traps next time I go to market.

**This post was actually written almost a year ago, while we were still living in West Africa.**

Mice in the house is a common problem - even in parts of America! Do you have mice in your kitchen? What do you do about them? Share your advice (and funny stories!) in the comments!

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