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Monday, July 25, 2011

Rats! No, Really, RATS! OR How I Will Always Hold it Against Our Pest Control Guy!

One day I looked out into our backyard and there in the bird feeder was a little rodent.  It wasn't a big rodent, but it didn't exactly look like a mouse.  So I took a picture of it.  I emailed it to my relatives and my husband and then got this response from my brother-in-law: "You've got a rat feeder, not a bird feeder."  (Right hand to God, I had never seen a rat before that moment.)
This isn't the actual picture of the rat in the bird feeder.
You can tell because that's actually the ground and
not a bird feeder.  Also, upon reflection, it looks like
it's tail is bigger than I recall the rat's being.  But
this is for reference.  Plus later I might add captions for
hilarity's sake.
Our neighbor, the police officer, related this rat-related story: "I knocked over the pile of wood that was at the back fence since before I moved in and a shitload of rats exploded out and went in all directions."  Apparently, some of the directions that the rats took were in our house's direction.  It was a directional decision of immense import.

Therefore I called our pest control guy.  His name was Brent.  Brent said, "Don't worry.  Rats will never go into a house where there are cats."  We had two cats at the time.  Our two dumbass Siamese cats who would have looked at a rat and said, "How do you use a can opener on it?" or possibly, "Does it taste like tuna?"  But back to Brent's statement of immortal proportion.  This bears repeating.  This is very important to me because I remembered it verbatim:
"Don't worry.  Rats will never go into a house where there are cats."
This is not true.  Brent was wrong.  Not only was he wrong.  But he was horribly, awfully, craptacularly wrong.  Rats WILL go into a house where there are cats.  They WILL laugh their little ratty asses off at the cats.  They WILL laugh their little ratty asses off at you, too, for listening to the pest control guy's asinine words.

So the rats came into our attic, via a path that I do not know about.  We would be sitting around and hear a little clangity clang clang and I would look up.  Then I would look around and the two dumbass cats would be sitting on the floor nearby, looking up at the ceiling.  (Their conversation: Booboo: "What the hell was that?"  Buggy: "I don't know but it's in the ceiling."  Booboo: "Should we do anything about it?"  Buggy: "Is it something we can eat?"  Booboo: "I don't want to miss my nap."  Buggy: "The hell with it, let's both go take a nap.")  That particular house didn't have much of an attic but it was enough of an attic for the wayward rats.  There was a ventilation system in the attic made out of aluminum and the rats used the duct work it like their own personal superhighway.  Whoo-hoo.

Accordingly, I called Brent again, who reneged on his previous statement.  I believe he pretended that he had never said it.  (Although he had, in fact, said it, and said it in such a manner, that I will remember it in perpetuity.  I'm repeating it because I want to make certain that no one who reads this blog ever forgets it.  "Rats will never go into a house where there are cats."  As a matter of fact, when I called Brent on the aforementioned statement, his response was, "Well, they didn't go into your house, they went into your attic."  In Brent's world, apparently an individuals attic is NOT part of your house.  Silly me.  It also made me want to respond thusly, "Well, do you know how many pest control services there are in the greater metropolitan area who do know that rats WILL go into a house with cats in it?" but I restrained myself.)

Another conversation ensued.  There was something in the attic.  I did not see it but it clattered about on the aluminum ducts like reindeer on the roof at Christmas.  (I think they were having a party up there and I wasn't invited.  The little pipsqueaks.)  Brent said, "It's probably not rats.  It's probably squirrels."  (You see, if it was squirrels and not rats, then he would be right.  And I would be wrong.)  His solution: he clambered into the minuscule attic access door and spread fox urine around the attic.  He said, "This will scare the squirrels away because they don't like foxes."  Or apparently fox pee.  (I know the next time I have a conversation with a squirrel I will be sure and ask it how it feels about fox pee.  Just for future clarification, you understand.)

I should have said something then, but I went with it.  (I should have asked how rats feel about fox pee, but I didn't think of it...then.)

A few weeks went by.  There was regular continuance of clangity clang clang down the aluminum superhighway.  There was clunkity clunk clunk down the vent.  There was scratch, scratch, scratch.  There was no obvious effect of the fox's urine on the johnny-come-lately occupants of our attic.  The cats were all like, "Yo, distributor of food, there's something in the attic."  I was like, "Yes, I know."

Then I started having dreams about rats chewing their way through the ceiling above my bed and kamikazing me in the middle of the night.  (This is sort of like the bug on the ceiling blog but bigger and rattier.  I might have seen something on the History Channel about the black plague.)  So I called our handy dandy pest control guy again.

We had another conversation.  It was illuminating.  Brent said he could put poison in the attic and it would kill the rats, but...but...but...decomposing rat bodies in the middle of summer have a certain eau de stinky.  (Fox pee smell = okay but musky.  Rotting rodent corpses = yucky.)

But Brent had another solution.  He would put a trap in the attic.  It was a sticky trap on a board.  The animals would stick to the board and be trapped.  He could capture them and then humanely dispose of them later.  (I totally respect rats' rights to life, but I would respect them more if they chose not to live in my attic.)  He put the board just beside the attic access and went on his merry, no-flipping-rats-where-a-cats-live-delusional way.

Incidentally, that was the night that HIM was away on business.  I set the security alarm and went to bed.  (This was pre-Cressy.)  About midnight, the alarm went off.  Sirens blared.  Lights blinked.  Every neighbor on the cul-de-saq came out to see who was being murdered.  Although I didn't pee in my nighties, I did hear a massive thumping and caterwauling from the front of the house.  The phone rang.  It was the security company.  They said, "We show that your front door alarm has been tripped.  Are you all right?"  I said, "I'm all right, but I hear noises."  They said, "We've called the police."  I said, "Great.  They can deal with the noises."  I bravely cowered in the bedroom, waiting for rescue.  It's my personal belief that my stalwart pets had fled to outer Mongolia for the duration of the event.

Fearlessly, I peeked around the hallway door and saw that the front door was not only NOT broken in, but it was closed and locked.  The sirens continued to blare.  I told the security company, "The front door is not broken in.  In fact, it's still locked and closed."  They said, "But your alarm shows that the front door has been breached."  I walked closer holding the portable phone like a club.  There was still a massive thumping and screeching sound.  But the front door was well and firmly closed, locked, and secured.  The sound wasn't coming from the front door but from the closet next to the front door.  And it wasn't inside the closet, it was inside the attic access door in the ceiling inside the closet.

You see, it was the RATS WHO WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO COME INSIDE A HOUSE WITH CATS ALREADY IN IT!  (I think you might have suspected already.)

A rat had found the sticky board, become trapped on it, and was battling valiantly to free itself.  (YES, it was a rat.  Not a @#$%!! squirrel.  Bleep, bleeping, bleepity pest control guy.)  Consequently, it had banged the board around so much that it had disconnected the alarm wires to the front door, causing, voila, the alarm to go off.

After turning the alarm off, giving the security company the password, and apologizing profusely to all of the neighbors, including the police officer from next door with the original wood pile rat-a-ganza, I was able to return to the scene of the crime.

The cats cautiously stuck their heads out of the bedroom door.  (Their conversation: Booboo: "Is it safe?"  Buggy: "I'm not going out there.  She's got a butcher knife."  Booboo: "I think I'll throw up on the floor right here."  Buggy: "Great.  I'm going to shred her favorite sweater."  Booboo: "Let's roll.  Ralph!")
And I have slammed my sister's cat, Mellow, once again.
Boo-yah!  Skidoosh!
The rat, who had struggled so gallantly and courageously, had escaped his tacky snare of doom.  I'm pretty sure he was really, really, really pissed off.


Kari E said...

OK, how did you finally get rid of the rats!!? Don't leave me hanging!

Carwoo said...

We moved out of the house. So the rats got rid of us.