Mausaggeddon officially opened with my trying to persuade our three cats to do what should come naturally -- i.e., hunt down mice. This was an unmitigated disaster.
Cat the first: Bitey! He can be a mean fucker, right? He'll engage Fierce Mandibles of Death as soon as he realizes there are mice! Right. I scooped him up off Ginger Beastie's bed where he was lazing in a sunbeam on her pillow with his concubine the Sock Monkey and hossed his fat-assed freight to the basement. I carried him from corner to corner, pointed out a few likely places for mice to lurk, and put him down. He blinked at me apathetically. I pointed emphatically; he sniffed my finger for any traces of butter. Then he flounced off like the tarty little git that he is, back to bed.
Cat the second: Meela. She's the youngest, most feral of the three. Plus, female cats are traditionally the mousers. Instincts will kick in, and we will be up to our ankles in mouse corpses first thing in the morning! Yeah...no. I opened the basement door and ushered her down the steps. She made it to the bottom step, flopped on her side and began to roll luxuriously in the sawdust. Then she hopped up, streaked up the stairs and tracked basement dirt and sawdust through the kitchen, on the table and up the stairs.
Aggravated, I called in the Big Gun: Cat the third, Bill Z. Bubba, Elder Statescat. Surely he would not stand for rodents in his domicile! I located him curled in a pile of feather comforter on my bed, and processed ceremoniously to the basement with His Majesty, our Great Tabby Hope, hoisted high. Upon placing him on the basement floor, he withered my with a look of supreme disdain, looked around the basement, twitched his whiskers disgustedly and stalked back up the stairs -- tail held high in the "talk to the browneye" position.
A total rout. Mice 3; Cats 0.
I tried cutting back on food to encourage them to hunt for fresh mouse meat, but the howling at all hours of the night was more than any of us could stand.
Oh, well. There are still conventional weapons, traps and flamethrowers in the mix. Except for the fact that my daughters are actively thwarting the process.