Slog Comments


Comments (25) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Cato the Younger Younger 2
But my cat not only gets food by keeping rats away. She also demands customized jewelry from Tiffany's, a new E -Class Mercedes every year...with a chauffeur of her choice (she's fired 4 of them in the last 6 months...very demanding) and I'm not sure if I can afford a new custom built sable covered cat couch that she insists upon.

Not sure if I'm getting a good deal.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 3
yeah, my cat catches baby rats and brings them IN to the house. one got away from him & proceeded to eat, and poop in, all our staples. when the dog killed it it was twice as big.

the cat's still paying us back for that one.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 11, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Cats have co-evolved in a symbiotic relationship with a a parasitic protist that causes toxoplasmosis. One of the side effects from exposure to, inhalation or consumption of cat feces is the protist can alter behavioral patterns by increasing dopamine production. What once caused fear among rodents, now causes pleasure, and causes them to seek out cats. They are a microscopic Pied Piper, leading the rodents to their death.

Humans can be affected as well (granted, pregnant mothers can get sick and die, or miscarry as a result of infection). But many people who once hated cats can come to love them simply because their brain has been tricked by a parasite into feeling joy and pleasure instead of revulsion.

Posted by Bored@School on February 11, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
care bear 5
That's a cute cat.
Posted by care bear on February 11, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 6
I had a dog once that would chase and kill rodents. She loved doing it. She got so that all I had to say was "mouse" and she would go bonkers, sniffing and running around looking for it. And she had the added benefit of not pissing and shitting in the house.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM · Report this
julie russell 7
We keep em around BC they are awesome!
Posted by julie russell http:// on February 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Knat 8
As a lifelong and current cat owner, I think the characterization of cats as serial killers is totally accurate. I've seen what a cat does to a rodent once the rodent is dead, and it makes Dexter look like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Posted by Knat on February 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Yes, my cat is a bird murderer. He also loves to "play" with rodents. Generally, this will kill the rodent in question. Cats do not believe in consentual play. But I really hate when the toy gets away alive. Last time this happened, everything the storage area in our basement was chewed on, pissed on, pooped on and destroyed.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM · Report this
chinaski 10
additionally, they can be hilarious when stoned.
Posted by chinaski on February 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM · Report this
My husband and I adopted our first cat after he saw a mouse one night. It was cheaper than breaking the lease.
Posted by wxPDX on February 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Cats are getting great press in Seattle. We're the cat capital of the country…
Posted by annettefunicello on February 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Simone 13
Oh stop all of this cat talk. You're making me miss the old family cats. And making me remember the good times such as when I would sprinkle catnip on the floor for them. It was my first time (as a little kid) with a recreational substance. A cat recreational substance but still.

Then there was the times when my hamster got free and managed to go from my bedroom to the laundry room (kind of in the kitchen) all without getting pawned by the family cats. The cats alerted me and my mother to the whereabouts of said hamster because they were guarding the laundry door patiently waiting.
Posted by Simone on February 11, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 14
@4 Do you have a link for that? We have a neighbor with a bunch of cats that complains about veggie gardens attracting rats to the neighborhood.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this
lauramae 15
@14. I think the first indication of a crazy neighbor who loves to mind other peoples' business, is attributing all sorts of things to attracting rats. The simple, ugly truth is that rats are attracted to the same things humans are attracted to: warmth and shelter and access to food.

If she has cats, then it would seem that her place should be relatively safe from rodents, but that doesn't mean they won't set up a home somewhere the cats cannot get to. Rats especially are problem solvers and will figure out quickly that a window or wall between them and a cat makes them safe.

Posted by lauramae on February 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
@11 Do you not have health and safety regs in Seattle? Any place I've ever lived, "vermin free" was part of the basic deal on the lease and in the municipal code (sort of like "floor" or "roof"). Anything north of an outright slumlord wants to get an exterminator in immediately before there's real damage. If you saw a mouse, there are several dozen more you didn't see. A cat isn't practical for rodent control, especially in an urban environment. Notify your landlord in writing, and if you don't have a response within 72 hours, notify the city health department. Even if you landlord doesn't care, they do.
Posted by usagi on February 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 17

As I've noted before in other comment threads, tenant rights in Seattle are a fucking joke. If #11 and husband live in a detached single family home, they are shit out of luck. Any extermination of pests is entirely their responsibility, or they can break the lease and lose their deposit.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM · Report this
@16 I was living in a college town in New York at the time. We were within city limits, but it was well known that the city did not interfere with college landlords. I looked into it -- hundreds of complaints had been made, but the city had not taken any action against any landlord since the late 1990s. @17 is correct too: our lease stated that we were responsible for any pests, unless we could demonstrate clearly that they had been there all along.

Our cat has been pretty "practical" for rodent control, though the other benefits have made pet ownership well worth it anyway.
Posted by wxPDX on February 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 19
I think the title of the article should be changed.

It should be "Why Cats Keep Us".

On a related note, barn cats are very useful in keeping down rodents, large insects, and snakes. Or at least they were when I was a kid in Pennsylvania, Texas, and British Columbia. Yes, I said snakes.
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 20
There's a salmon fisherman in SE Alaska with a boat cat. He's an odd duck.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on February 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM · Report this
@14 Sorry for the delayed response, here's one study:…

There are plenty of things that attract rats, free food being number one. If your neighbor is letting her cats run amok in the neighborhood, they are likely crapping in peoples' veggie gardens, among other areas. Those veggies can come into contact with their feces and spread toxoplasmosis to anyone/anything eating them (if the cat is a carrier, which most are). The thing is, you shouldn't see an increase in rat populations as a result of infection, because they will be less cautious when scavenging, and therefore more likely to be caught/killed by a cat.

Your neighbor is crazy, there are rats in the neighborhood because rats live everywhere.
Posted by Bored@School on February 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 22
My old landlord once asked us to shut down our bird feeder because it was attracting rats. Technically true: we saw both Dusky-Footed Wood Rat (native vole) and a European rat feeding from it.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on February 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Behavioral changes noted in human males infected with feline toxoplasmosis include social isolation, aversion to designer-brand clothing, and bad driving. See how your cat is making you crazy.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on February 11, 2013 at 1:28 PM · Report this
McGee 25
See even rats are smart enough to know cats are gross.
Posted by McGee on February 11, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
Baby Blue 26
In Amsterdam, cats are EVERYWHERE. Even in most restaurants. I'm an animal lover so it didn't really bother me but I thought it was odd that it didn't seem to bother anyone else. Thinking about it this way (keeping rodents out of the kitchen), it makes perfect sense.
Posted by Baby Blue on February 12, 2013 at 3:36 AM · Report this
gwhayduke 27
Isn't this a rather ridiculous statement:
" And nothing in biology makes sense outside of the light of Darwinian evolution."
It seems to be contradictory; as descent with modification is observed with a scientific gaze, so too is the ability to wonder. Wondering is a tentative and curious activity that despises -- yet it too contains internal sophistication and seeming contradiction -- knowing what one thinks one knows because this is a form of self-harm.
Posted by gwhayduke on February 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.