Tag: rodents

Got A Rat Problem? Get A Cat To…Befriend It And Groom It?

Cats and humans began their grand partnership some 10,000 years ago, when kitties handled humans’ pesky rodent problem and people repaid the felines with food, shelter and companionship.

Now the deal’s off, apparently.

Yesterday a Reddit user shared a video titled “When you get a cat hoping it will help you get rid of the big rat in your yard.”

The video shows the user’s new cat, a tortoiseshell/calico, “solving” the rat problem by befriending the rodent, playing with it and even grooming it.

The video has amassed almost 86,000 upvotes in 24 hours.

The odd friendship between feline and rodent is not without precedent. Studies have shown that cats are not effective rodent hunters in urban settings where rats have gone unchallenged for so long that they rival or exceed the size of most members of Felis catus.

In certain neighborhoods of New York City, for example, researchers observed cats essentially ignoring massive rats and in some cases eating trash side by side with them. The largest rats, apparently aware of the truce, are equally unconcerned by the presence of the cats. Other rats were more cautious around kitties.

The scene reminded me of the time my brother wanted me to bring Bud over to handle his rat problem. At the time he was living on 88th St. in Manhattan, less than a block from Gracie Mansion. His apartment had an unusual perk for Manhattan living — it was a spacious ground floor flat that opened up into a private, fenced-in backyard with grass and a few trees.

Mighty Bud
Tremble before him! Buddy the Mighty Slayer of Rodents!

In fact, it was one of the first places I took Buddy after adopting him. He was just a kitten, maybe 14 weeks old, and I brought him with me on a warm summer day when my brother had a few friends over for a barbecue.

Buddy made fast friends with my brother’s Chihuahua-terrier mix, Cosmo, and spent the day playing with his doggie cousin, frolicking in the grass and chasing bugs around the yard. Then he got a treat: Steak from the grill, chopped into tiny Buddy-size pieces.

Having a backyard in Manhattan was awesome, but there was a downside. At night the yard was like a stretch of highway for marauding rats who ran across it in numbers with impunity, probably en route to raiding the garbage bins of a bodega on the corner of 88th. The rats were so emboldened and so numerous, you could hear them scurrying across the yard at night.

My brother proposed bringing Buddy over and letting him loose in the yard after dark, letting his claws and predatorial instincts thin the rodential herd.

I declined, using the excuse that Bud could pick up diseases from going to war with the rats. That was true, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have come to that: At the first sign of those rats, Buddy would have run screaming!

(We don’t acknowledge that around him, of course. Officially, Buddy was not set loose upon the Manhattan rats because it would be grossly unfair to unleash such a meowscular, brave and battle-hardened feline warrior upon them.)

It’s one thing if Buddy won’t kill rats. He’s a wimp. But as the Reddit video illustrates, we are apparently closing the chapter on 10,000 glorious years of human-feline partnership, and officially entering the Era of Zero Reciprocity.

We do everything for our cats, and in return they nap, eat and allow us to serve them. From their point of view, it’s a fine deal.

Meowscular Buddy!
Just look at those meowscular guns and vicious claws!

With Cat Food Scarce, President Buddy Threatens War With Humans

WASHINGTON — President Buddy has ordered the human race to “get its poop together” and solve the ongoing cat food shortage, or face an imminent mouser strike that could lead to “a biblical resurgence of rodents in human spaces.”

“The deal we made with humans 10,000 years ago was simple: We’ll take care of your little rodent problem, and in exchange you’ll provide us with yums, shelter and massages,” the president of the Americats said in a televised address. “Humans have broken this covenant with their willful disregard for making sure we have adequate yums.”

With thousands of cats behind him — many holding signs with slogans like “Humans, Why Have U Betrayed Us?” and “Liars! There is no Fancy Feast!” — President Buddy outlined a series of sanctions he said his government would levy on humankind “to get them off their behinds and solve this crisis.”

War, the president said, is not off the table if delicious turkey pâté and shredded chicken don’t immediately become abundant again.

The protests come as cat food becomes increasingly difficult to find online and on local store shelves, with industry executives, trade groups and logistics analysts saying the shortages won’t end any time soon.

Credit: KellyAvellino/Twitter

Starting immediately, house cats across the US were to withhold snuggle time from their humans and make no effort to bury their excrement after using their litter boxes. If humans fail to solve the cat food crisis by Feb. 1, the nation’s cats say they will begin grooming their behinds whilst seated on kitchen tables and counter tops.

And if that doesn’t solve the problem, cats will coordinate a mouser strike, allowing rodents from New York to Los Angeles to run rampant, reproduce and burrow into human food supplies without the fear of felines attacking them.

The Americat president pointed to the 2021 mouse plague of eastern Australia, where billions of the tiny rodents stormed through farm fields and grain silos in massive waves, as “but a taste of what’s to come for humans if they don’t get serious.”

A kitten prepares for possible war with humankind if the cat food crisis isn’t solved.

Mice caused about a billion dollars in damage to crops and grain stores alone in 2021, not including property damage to facilities and homes where they chewed through walls and ceilings to reach pantries. The plague has disrupted the Australian beer industry and driven up the price of rodent poisons.

“If you still think this is a joke, think about your beer,” President Buddy said, wagging a paw at the cameras. “You forced us to consider the nuclear option. All we wanted was yums, massages, soft beds, naps on your laps, and to be called good boys and good girls. We’re not asking a lot. We urge human leaders to consider the precarious position they find themselves in, and not to press their luck. After all, we hear mouse traps are in short supply as well.”

The horrifying scene in too many homes across America.

The president took questions after his speech, with multiple reporters asking him why he was threatening such severe action now.

“When my advisors showed me photos of empty shelves and data on resupply rates, I realized The Great Turkey Shortage of Fall 2021 was not an aberration, but a harbinger of things to come,” President Buddy explained. “My own human has but a single serving of turkey left in the cat food cupboard, meaning I may be subjected to weeks or potentially months of nothing but salmon, chicken, whitefish, tuna and beef. We can’t live like this.”

What Was Buddy Doing In Canada?!

Dear Buddy,

I saw the amazing footage of you chasing a coyote out of a parking lot in British Columbia a few days ago. What were you doing in Canada?

Aboot in Alberta


Dear Aboot,

Quite a few cities are reaching out to me for help these days. You might say I’m like a superhero, responding to distress calls to save the day.

As you know, I was at the head of a 1,000-cat-strong army in Chicago recently, tasked with using my brave legion to save the Windy City from an epidemic of rats. Normally the sight of me and my huge muscles is enough to send rats scurrying for whatever dank and disgusting places they’ve emerged from, but Chicago has a lot of rats. Like millions. That’s too many, even for me.

After conquering the rodential scourge of Chicago, I saw the Cat Signal illuminating the night sky, beamed from a town called Port Moody in the Vancouver metro area.

After flying there and making my entrance with a superhero landing to thunderous applause from the gathered townspeople, I was informed that coyotes were disturbing the peace.

“Please, Buddy,” the townspeople begged. “You’re our only hope.”

buddycoyote
A coyote is a blur, left, as it races to get away from Buddy, right.

Never one to deny people in need, I met the coyotes full on.

“This town is now under the protection of the Buddesian Tiger,” I told the coyotes. “You shall not pass!”

What you saw was the tail end of the clip, after I defeated a small army of coyotes and was chasing the stragglers out of the parking lot. The police clapped when it was over, and the mayor gave me a key to the city and an entire roast turkey!

So yeah, that’s what I was doing in Canada.

Your friend,

Buddy the Cat

Image credit: HeroMachine

Cat TV Is Legit

This is not music for cats.

I tried that a few years ago after reading a story about composer David Teie, who’d designed tracks especially for felines, incorporating tones and rhythms that supposedly have a calming influence on cats.

Here I was thinking it would be something nice for my cat, so I queued up one of the tracks — and Buddy lost his shit!

Bud’s reaction didn’t leave any room for ambiguity: Ears flattened to his head, whiskers pulled back, crouched in a defensive position and hissing at the TV. It was a full-fledged freak-out.

As anyone who’s read this blog knows, Buddy’s a weirdo even among cats, so I don’t doubt Mr. Teie’s music does calm some kitties. Just not this one.

After that experience you can understand how I was hesitant to give “cat TV” a go. Turns out I was worried over nothing.

Buddy usually ignores the TV, but when the video started and the first bird flittered on screen, pecking at some seeds scattered on a tree stump, little man got really interested.

After a few seconds he settled in like a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons, mesmerized as he stared up at the screen.

There were a few times when he looked back at me over his shoulder, seeking a bit of social reassurance as if to say “Can I watch the birdies, Big Bud?” Then he started chirping!

Cat TV isn’t all about the visuals. Sound plays a key element and Paul Dinning, the Youtuber who produces the videos, captures an omnidirectional array of flutters, birdsong and the background hum of nature.

Buddy bounced on the balls of his feet once or twice as if he was ready to pounce on the screen, but he never did. He didn’t look for birds behind the TV either, which is apparently a common reaction. Maybe he understands what he’s seeing isn’t real, but he’s entertained nonetheless.

So it’s with Buddy’s ringing endorsement I can report cat TV is legitimate kitty entertainment. If you ever need to buy yourself an hour or two to get something done without a furry personal assistant getting in the way, cat TV can provide a nice distraction.