Chipmunk CritterTHE PROBLEM

Living in a log home, the natural look of wood is not only aesthetically pleasing, it provides a vast array of uses for the wonderful world of wildlife. While we feed birds, squirrels and chipmunks without discrimination, we don’t necessarily want critters freeloading within our lodging. For this reason, we’ve been forced to enter into a Cat’s Eye pest control program.

Baby Phoebe


As clients with great respect for the general animal kingdom, we pose an interesting challenge for Cat’s Eye. Typically, exterminators hunt to kill. We’ve asked, instead, that ours hunt to preserve. So far, we’ve found the following ways to achieve that end:

  • When mice infiltrated the basement, Tin Cats were baited but never poisoned. Rattling traps prompted Tim to blindfold captives, drive them to an undisclosed location and release them under witness protection until holes were sealed.
  • To dissuade wasps and bees from encroaching upon my imaginary allergin relief zone, our annual phoebe hatchlings are kept safe from preventative dusting.
  • When “redirecting” a legion of carpenter bees deeply entrenched under the gutters, Cat’s Eye engaged in combat while the majority of bees were on a pollen mission. This was to ensure minimum collateral damage. Tunnels were dusted with organic, peppermint-scented powder, the entrance was barricaded, and surveillance continued throughout the season. Eventually, the bees moved on.

Bottom line: we take no prisoners.


Last year we had squirrels in our chimney. Gnawing, gnawing, gnawing, grinding and crunching for days, these sounds tunneled through my ears and chewed at the edges of my sanity. Believing that squirrels dislike noise as much as I do, I clanged fireplace tools like cymbals. I rapped on the stonework. At wits end, I beat the outside bricks with a snow shovel screaming “Get OUT!” ┬áSilence. Finally, it had stopped. Then, another chunk of mortar dropped from inside the fireplace.

I called Cat’s Eye. Squirrels were not part of our contract. It would take 1 week and $1K to trap, relocate and exclude future interlopers. I was not about to pay a fortune to get what I started with: nothing. Not even a squirrel. It was nuts. In the end, the critters nested elsewhere with their eventual offspring. Perhaps my song and dance wasn’t their prefered lullabye after all.

In the fall, we converted our fireplace to a gas insert. As I saw it, it was a $6K project to seal the chimney shaft – with the added bonus of clean, draftless heat and a romantic atmosphere. We were in the clear… until this spring. The gnawing and crunching recently fired up again, entertaining the new cats to no end.


The squirrels never entered the chimney shaft after all. The crafty creatures burrowed between the seam of logs and brick as evidenced by a missing chunk of mortar. Engaging in practical rather than psychological warfare, Tim filled the hole with steel wool and spray foam while the critter was out for lunch. My hero. Miraculously, the house is silent once more – aside from the barking, meowing, chirping, crashing of potted plants and dogs rearranging the furniture. Those are things I can live with.


Have your own combat story? How do you humanely handle unwanted house guests? We’d love to hear. Misery loves company. Next up for us: removing the bird feeders before our neighborhood bear wakes from his long winter nap…