So last week was probably a little one sided. I don’t think Jay got any support for his towel thievery, which is quite understandable in my opinion. This week I have a topic that does not guarantee me a win: rats. About 18 months ago or so I put some bird feeders out in the yard. They attracted a decent variety of birds for us to enjoy and for the cats to salivate over from the dining room window. One winter day last year I was feeding Madeline when she pointed out the window and exclaimed, “squirrel!” I looked and did not see a squirrel; I saw a rat hanging on the feeder snacking on the suet.
I’m not that familiar with rats, but it seemed like an average size rodent. I did a little research and learned that rats will frequent bird feeders, either climbing on them or snacking on the seed that has fallen on the ground. I read that if I wanted to avoid rats coming to the feeder I should just put enough food to feed the birds for one day and then make sure they are empty at night. Um, too much work. I wasn’t too concerned about the rat. It was outside, where rats live, and we have two cats and a dog happy to kill it if it did come inside. The poor thing was just hungry.
Fast forward to this summer and Jay is home from Afghanistan. I hadn’t mentioned the rat, figuring he had more important things to think about. Then he saw it:
Jay: There is a f-ing rat on the bird feeder.
Me: Don’t say f-ing. Yes, sometimes there is a rat that comes to eat. It’s not a big deal.
Jay: Rats are disgusting and carry diseases.
Me: Not all rats have diseases. Just being a rat does not make it diseased.
Jay: I’m going to kill it.
Me: No, you’re not. First of all, you won’t be able to catch it. It runs under the deck as soon as it hears the door open. Second of all, it’s not hurting anything.
Jay: I’m going to kill it. I don’t want that thing in my backyard where my kids play.
Me: Yeah, cause it’s going to come out and run around the yard while the kids are out there.
Jay: I’m going to kill it.
Me: Calm down Rambo (then I knock on the window, warning the rat to go hide). [let the larger fight not appropriate for sharing ensue because I made fun of him and called him Rambo and for scaring the rat and foiling his plan to kill it]
There were actually two rats that frequent our feeders and are undeterred by the presence of humans, canines or felines. I started letting the cats out every time I saw one, hoping it would be too scared of death to return. I would rather they find a new place to hang out or even get killed by one of the cats (a natural death in the rodent world) than Jay catch it and inflict the true death. I can’t protect these rats forever. I did see a crow flying overhead two weeks ago with a rat in his mouth, but I don’t know if it was one of ‘our’ rats. They have been more scarce since our cats started going outside full time, but occasionally I see one jumping from the feeder when I open the back door.
So, who’s right? Am I being silly wanting to protect the rats? Are they vile and disgusting creatures that have no business living anywhere near our house?