Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to http://www.catminders.biz

Welcome to CatMinders

Welcome to CatMinders

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Operation RatWatch

We have a KitchenRat.
This is not funny. I heard scufflings and scrapings whilst making Nat's sandwich midweek , and despite the fact that two of the cats were staring pointedly at the alley between the fridge freezer and the wall , assumed that they were looking for a spider . I think this is called Denial.

The cats sat there for most of the day , only leaving the RatWatch post for food or related activities ( littertray). The other two cats joined them at various points standing behind them ( in case the rat was large) watching carefully . Still I was too busy to think.
The following morning I came down first - rare for me but Alice had insisted on a Nocturnal Ablution session and D was recovering with a Late Start .

En Route to the cat feeding station I noted a moist guinea pig dropping on the bench and scooped it up with a piece of kitchen roll thinking to myself Honestly thats all I need , the Pigsters projecting their poo up out of their quarters and onto the food preparation areas . Pah and double pah! Wiping up and washing hands was the extent of the attention I paid to that . D appeared and peering at the bench further said "Where have all these all mucky marks come from " pointing at a run of large footprints leading from behind the fridge freezer to the kitchen sink . Hmm . "Ive just cleaned up a guinea pig poo" I offer helpfully .... which on reflection might have been a ratpoo... "

D fetches various disinfectants and other heavy duty cleansers and gets down to business inspecting the footprints as he goes . These could be bird prints , he says , in a weak voice . That , I say , is called Denial . Or wishful thinking . It doesnt work . Where , for example is the Bird now? Birds don't typically squeeze back down the hole they came in through. t
They bash about against the windows. We need to face it . Its a rat . Possibly Rats . Someone has to ring Environmental health . And the last time I rang them about the one in the Attic that that wimpy plumber said he saw , no one ever even rang back about .
I 'm onto it , he says . Later .

Later that day we have a torch and three of us are in the Kitchen mounting a search .It is widely believed that  the cats , or some of the cats have come face to face , and are not happy . Some of them are looking depressed and are facing the wall in D's office , as if meditatiing . They are no longer on RatWatch . That job has fallen to the Humans . The dog has no interest , though she is keen to eat the catfood as ever  , under the guise of catching a rat .

I climb onto the bench and train the torch behind the freezer . It is a narrow space , dark and there is an adjustment period for the eyes . I have to position and reposition my glasses . Nat has already tried and seen nothing . I move the torch up and down and decide my specs are better off , for long distance viewing . I am long sighted after all . It is still very dark , with a smallish circle lit . I move the circle and find what looks like a ball of something . I am not terribly squeamish but I am not wholly  at ease. It appears to be a ball of dust , cobwebby and grim . It is unpleasant . I move the torch , I am aware in the background that Nat is on the phone to the right of me . Beneath the ball of dust , a large greasy black rat shuffles across my line of vision and then disappears . I find myself shouting very loudly and I hear Nat saying Oh my mum has just seen the Rat  Oh My God . I seem to be shouting very loudly and D is shouting Which way is it going?  the over arching feeling is one of my legs weakening and failing .
Nat ends her call and comes to help me down from the bench . I am laughing helplessly .
We have a Rat . It is Official .

And , judging by the weather , snow snow and more snow , we may have a rat for a while longer .
Envirolink are scheduled to arrrive to deal on Monday afternoon . In the meantime , every time we leave the kitchen , a rat or rats appear to be skipping about on the benches . The cats are occasionally on RatWatch but mostly they are subdued and not themselves . Perhaps cats too  have that primal scared of rats feeling that I myself have experienced?

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