35 Comment

  • Wow, that’s awesome! I’m getting a very strong “cool Joe camel” vibe from the rat. Keep on rockin’ in the free world!

  • Rock beat scissors, scissors beat paper, paper beats rock and you guessed it…Cats kill rats.

    • Are you new here? I’ve never see the cat that could take on a full-sized DC rat. But if you suggest importing large predators, people get their knickers in a twist about pets and small children and stuff.

      • I have community cats that frequent my property. They will murder anything; snakes, possums, large rats. There may very well be a size of rat that they wouldn’t tangle with, but I haven’t encountered it.

        • Same, we had alley cats at our house and I never saw any rats. Lord knows there is/was tonssss of trash and other food scraps on our street too. I think the cats helped. Anyhow, some lady drove up to the alley in her SUV almost every night and fed them. She named them all too…

          • I live in Park View and the SUV lady feeds cats in my alley. The food attracts rats, there are tons of them. I’ve literally seen rats and the cats eating the food together at the same time. Great for animal kingdom harmony, not so great if you want to get rid of a rat infestation.

        • But if you feed the cats cat food they won’t go after the rats. (Which they only go after after trash and other food of opportunity then smaller vermin/birds.)

          • Cats will absolutely still go after the rats if well fed. It’s instinct. They do it for fun. There are a million studies about how much damage a well-fed house cat does to it’s ecosystem if allowed to come in and out as it pleases

      • LOL, New is a relative term. Over the last 6 years we have never had a mouse. Our house was built in 1934. There is no way it is completely sealed. I’ve seen 2 dead rats in the alley behind our house since I have moved in. So something is killing them. The only thing I can attribute it to is our friendly neighborhood cat lady down the street. I’m not sure how many cats she is feeding and most of them seem pretty skittish and borderline feral but as long mouse house stays mouse free I ain’t saying !@#$.

      • We have a couple of big mean tomcats that own our alley, and have tons of rats. I wonder if it has less to do with the cat population, and more to do with neighbors keeping their trash contained. Because there are a few houses that always have trash strewn around. Of course, the rats have chewed holes in ALL the trashcans, so even if people did bag and dispose properly, it wouldn’t slow them down.

      • My feral cat friend regularly brings dead rats to my back door. However, I do not suggest leaving food unaccompanied in the alley unless you can watch the cats eat and remove when finished.

  • Relatedly, what’s with people dumping their leftovers out? I see fried rice pretty often, lovingly scattered in the treeboxes. And bread, torn up into little bits. And just today, fried plantains.
    Also, Anon, that’s Templeton the Rat.

    • People are not very diligent about making sure their trash goes into trashcans. Also, sometimes things don’t stay in trashcans because homeless people pull them out, and then they in turn aren’t that diligent. That is “what’s with” trash on the streets. Never considered that it needed an explanation personally.

  • Great drawing. I hope someone gets an ironic tattoo of that hitchhiking rat.

  • Pretty sure if the alleys of U Street had more stray cats around the rat problem would all but disappear.

    • you may want to research (a) gestational period of rat; (b) gestational period of cat; (c) average daily food intake requirements of a cat; (d) average daily sleeping hours of a cat. HINT: your solution has a math problem.

      • DCers want to rant and whine. They had trouble with math.

      • HINT: Your math problem has a carrying capacity problem

      • Cats don’t really kill to eat. They kill for fun (and as a grand gesture of thanks if it’s a particularly impressive kill).

      • Ever heard of a rat terrier? It is a type of dog and is not exactly a big dog. But a single rat terrier has been known to kill 100 rats…in a single sitting. One cat might not be able to do that type of damage to the rat populace, but the fact remains that a cats instinct is to hunt rats. And they are pretty good at it. And science seems to be backing the idea that a larger feral cat population can be used to combat a rat problem. Check out Chicago.

        • I have a miniature dachshund. She is quite proficient at hunting mice, and I’m sure given the opportunity, she would happily go toe-to-toe with a rat. The biggest thing she has gotten was a squirrel (sorry squirrel). I think the difference between cats and dogs that were bred for the purpose of hunting small mammals is that the dogs really have a blood thirst for it (when it’s been bred in). A cat that is being well-fed will hunt for sport, but may just choose not to.

        • There was a This American Life about rat terrier hunting groups in the city – I think it was NYC. They were not killing anything close to a number that would make a dent in rat population. And that’s where I got the idea about the gestational period – basically, TAL did the math and it was pretty clear that it was absolutely hopeless. The folks in the rat terrier hunting group conceded as much – they were really just doing it to entertain their dogs.

  • I live in Adams Morgan. Plenty of cats around. Maybe they are scared of the rats? But they certainly don’t do the job here. Cars seem to be the most effective killer. Yup. Run over one and it’s done! Only prob is you have gross carcass left behind in the alley.

  • I have a solution for the cat lady issue.

    OK – so, I understand that there are two side to the cat lady feeding the cats debate. I know there are valid arguments on both sides. I am on the side that thinks that leaving cat food in alleys just helps the rat population and the cats can/will survive without the cat lady leaving food out in 33 alleys every night.

    People in my alley have tried several times to reason with the cat lady over the years to no avail. I have finally found a solution. One night I just said to the cat lady – ‘when you leave, I am going to throw away all the cat food you leave out.’ That’s it, no more conversation. For the last month the cat lady has stayed and waited for the cats to eat and then cleaned up the paper plates and uneaten cat food. I don’t think she’s terribly happy because it slows her down on her 33 alley route but, works for my alley.

    • “For the last month the cat lady has stayed and waited for the cats to eat and then cleaned up the paper plates and uneaten cat food.” That’s how it’s supposed to be done — anyone feeding alley cats who is NOT doing this is not following best practices (and risks aggravating the rat problem and annoying the neighbors).

  • I have the same problem at my house! I thought DC addressed this at the “rat summit” a few years back, and the experts said that leaving unattended food for the alley cats made the rat problem worse, not better.
    Regardless, even if some people think they know better than the “experts” /snark, I would really like it if they stopped leaving food at *my* fence line. Who do you think cleans up the mess when the food is spilled or rained on? Plus putting at somebody else’s house seems aimed at feeding cats but making the rate congregation somebody else’s problem. Rude!

  • Crazy cat ladies do not give a damn about whether you have rats or whether cats are an imported species or whether feral cats carry diseases like feline leukemia that can cross to housecats. They just want to think they are helping a helpless creature and feel better about themselves. Cat lady should switch to making sandwiches for the homeless.

  • My husband and I used to watch the folks across the alley put out two food dishes for their two cats. Within minutes, the two cats would huddle around one dish while the neighborhood rats feasted at the other just 2 feet away.

  • Agreed! When I moved here, my next door neighbor politely asked me not to feed my dog outside in my yard. He said the food bits on the ground attracts RATS. Ok, I don’t want rats in my backyard.