Every self-respecting farm must have a Mouser! A cat with a clearly defined job description and KPI’s (I am in HR) whose sole existence is to ensure the complete and total annihilation of any and all rodents on the farm.
I used to have cats on the farm. They did a pretty ok job of making sure the rodents were nowhere to be seen. But I also had dogs, and one of those dogs (dumb Leo) had no patience for cats. In blind rage or maybe just sheer dumb luck, he managed to kill most of the cats and terrorize the rest into packing their belongings and becoming refugees at the neighboring farms. That left me with a farm and no Mouser. With time, the rats realized there were no cats keeping watch on the farm.
The first inkling I had that we had a problem was when I lost my water pump piping to rats. They ate holes through the entire pipe. Complete and total wastage. Then the rats got courageous. They moved closer to the farm house and invaded the outdoor tool shed. They found my old (but serviceable generator) and ate every wire on that generator. Here’s the thing with rats. They eat anything and everything, spoons included. I am sure, next to roaches, they would surely survive a nuclear holocaust. I am talking about rats here – not those mice that Walt Disney movies sought to make adorable through their animated movie Ratatouille. Those are the mild cousins. Rats are vermin. Make no mistake.
Once the generator was polished off, the rats got brave. They moved into the farmhouse ceiling. That was when I started to panic. The ceiling was too close to the rest of the house for us to continue ignoring the rats. You could hear them at night. Running from one end of the house to the other. Unhindered and carefree. They must have had such a happy life. I can picture the grandpa rat telling the kids stories of where they started their lives and how they landed on this haven of plenty they now lived in. They raised kids who had no knowledge of predators and were therefore lazy and lacked any survival instinct.
The day I got fed up was when they ate through the ceiling, ate through my suitcase, and attempted to build a nest in the suitcase. In the house! Such shameless behavior! I recruited my daughter into the fight and sent her to the local vet to see if we could adopt an adept Mouser, aka cat! She found one. We named him Dracula and promptly took him to the farm. Dracula must have been a real house cat in his past life. A lot like Tom from Tom and Jerry. He sat in the house, licked his paws and ate his cat food. When he got tired, he’d climb onto my mother’s lap and promptly fall asleep. This was not working. One day, the farm hands locked him in the tool shed so he could dispense with the resident rats. Here’s what I think happened. The rats realized they had an enemy. They formed a posse and lured Dracula into the toll boxes that were piled high on the shelves. Poor Dracula slipped and fell and the rats promptly pushed the tool box after him. When I asked, I was told Dracula was found dead with a pipe wrench as the suspected weapon of death. This was game on!
I sent my daughter to KSPCA and asked her to adopt four cats. Yes, four. This was all out war. She found the cats; we paid for their vaccinations and took them to the farm. Izzy, Jasmine, Benz and Paka had arrived. Day one, Paka and Benz killed 11 rats. As I said, the rat parents and grandparents had raised kids who had zero survival instinct. They had never been hunted and knew no predator.
Izzy eventually ran away, but Benz and Paka remained. Jasmine though! I have never met a cat like this. Fluffy, beautiful, and has swag! She does not hunt. She does not eat vermin. She does not eat particular cat food because I guess it’s not expensive enough? She has a taste for human food, specifically chicken and cake, which my mother constantly gives to her then denies all knowledge of such treats going to Jasmine. Jasmine sleeps next to my mother and “helps” her count out her medication. Anywhere my mother goes, Jasmine follows. The greatest thing about Jasmine is this – She has disciplined the dogs. They won’t dare show her any aggression. Many a dog has had their whiskers slapped off their faces by Jasmine. Balance has been restored. Rats are dead, the dogs respect the cats, and the cats believe they own the farm house. Order! No wonder there is so much in ancient mythology about cats, including some revering them as gods!
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