First rat of the season

One of the cats brought in the first dead baby rat of the year. It was already cold, but he still wanted to play with it, dropping it onto the kitchen scatter rug and then wrestling with the rug. I tucked it under the rug for him, so he could fish it out. I heard some crunching sounds shortly afterwards, so I don’t think I have to worry about finding a rat corpse.

Our old cat used to drop mice into the SO’s shoes so he could have the fun of fishing them out again. Occasionally he would forget about one and wander off…

Our previous cat

As the spring and summer progress, the rats get larger until the cats are dispatching full-sized ones. These are black rats or “roof rats,” not the march larger brown or Norway rat.

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Another rat

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One of the cats, presumably Cloud or Fog, dragged in and dismembered a full-grown rat last night. I found the head on the kitchen floor and the rest of it a couple of feet away.

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Rainy night

The remains of Tropical Storm Fay are raining gently down on us.

One of the grey cats – Fog I think – brought in a dead rat and flopped it on the floor. It must have weighed 12 ounces. That’s a pretty hefty rat. I don’t know if he killed it or found it- but it didn’t seem mauled and it was cold. I’m afraid they’ll eat a poisoned one and die. So I took it away and gave him a bowl of catfood instead. I hope he likes the exchange.

I paid a whole pile of bills.

I compiled a list of popular science books for a blog meme.

I’m going to bed. After I check I Can Has Cheezburger:
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Rat blogging

Marlowe just brought in a young rat and dropped it into the cat castle. Then she had a choice of two temptations: the cat castle was surrounded by catnip I’d sprinkled for Emily and the kittens. She kept darting out to have a lick, then back in to harass her rat. It appeared unharmed and made a couple of breaks for freedom but she was on it in a pounce. Finally she ate the rat and settled down to playing in the catnip.

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Another rat

Cloud caught a rat last night. I heard him flopping something around in the kitchen. I thought maybe he had brought in another stuffed toy. But no, it was a dead rat—still warm. So I opened a can of catfood and gave him a big dish of it. While he was occupied, Fog found the rat and sniffed it curiously. I threw the rat away and gave Fog some of the catfood.

Cloud finds his toy

I hope that Cloud killed it and that it wasn’t poisoned. Now that I know from reading Parasite Rex that rats with toxoplasmosis infections are careless of cats, I don’t want my cats eating them. Cloud seemed to accept the trade of dead rat for catfood.

The rat was a big one, probably 8 or 10 ounces, sorry, almost 300 grams, like the one that Marlowe caught in December 2006.

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Rat patrol!

Our cat Marlowe can’t be be all that sick. After her trip to the veterinarian, I let her out in the back yard. She came in and I fed her a generous meal; then she went out again. She was back about twenty minutes later with a fair-sized brown rat, more or less unharmed. She played with it for a while but didn’t seem interested in actually eating it. Of course, she wasn’t hungry! It would lie still, then try to creep under her, then away into the grass. (I haven’t been able to mow because of rain.) She would leap onto it and carry it back into the open.

funny pictures

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When she began to lose interest, of of our young boy-cats, Cloud, took over. He was fascinated but is not the experienced hunter that she is. He let it get into the undergrowth of the garden. There, the rat began to shriek its shrill war-cry and leap at him, about six inches into the air, so he backed off. The rat made a break for the fence-line. He managed to keep it from getting away but couldn’t re-capture it. So I brought out his brother Fog. Between the two of them the captured the rat again. When I saw it last, Fog was galloping away with it and Cloud was chasing. I was reminded that polo was originally played with the head of a sheep as the ball.

Later, Fog was eating something in the yard, but when he saw me he came in for some real cat food. I went out and picked up the partially eaten carcass of a rat. But it was a smaller rat than they’d been playing with! I found the larger rat later. Both went into the compost.

It may seem cruel to let the cats toy with rats but anything that keeps down the rats is OK with me. And I can’t stop them in their unsupervised hours. Rats are always with us in the city. The only reason we don’t see them in the open more often is that they are very territorial and are always at war against other tribes of rats. Where they feel safe, they are out in force during the daytime. The waterfowl enclosure at High Park used to have fat rats strolling through the bushes back when people were allowed to feed the ducks. I’m sure there are as many rats as people in the city, perhaps more. The previous neighbours have decked over their whole back yard and the rats live quite safely under the decking (true of any boardwalk at ground level). The businesses across the parking lot keep their garbage in a shed and I know Marlowe hunts the entrances to the shed.

My real fear is that the cats will eat a poisoned one and be poisoned themselves.

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So that’s what she’s eating

I’ve been wondering if someone is feeding our cat Marlowe, because she doesn’t always come home for supper. However, she’s an avid ratter and it’s quite possible she’s feeding herself. Tonight there was a chorus of squeaks from the back yard. I opened the door and Marlowe rushed in with a rat hanging from her jaws. She headed straight for her “cat castle,” which provides an enclosed cave. She thrust the rat inside just long enough to change her grip or something. By the time I got in there, she had killed it efficiently and was eating it. “Nom, nom, nom!” She polished it right off and then meowed to be let out again.

cat with rat

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