Vermin are Making News Again

By Fred

I warned people about getting too chummy with vermin after that huge rat turned up in Papua, Indonesian New Guinea. Now a 6-pound bamboo rat with a 12-inch tail and inch-long teeth has been found strolling through a residential area of Fuzhou, China, a city with a population of 6 million people.

You know that rat’s got family nearby.

Some man who apparently skipped history class the day they learned about Black Plague decided to grab the thing by the scruff of the neck, stuff it in a bag, and take it home. Here’s the fool holding his catch of the day:

"Mmmm, rat. It's lip-smacking good." (Photo -

"Mmmm, rat. It's lip-smacking good." (Photo -

The question now is, what are his intentions? The Chinese consider rats an excellent source of protein, if you know what I mean. (Cats, too, I hear. They’ll eat anything.)

I suspect that sucker ended up as ratatouille.

Covering the rodent beat right here at home, I discovered the American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association. Really. They have breeds and shows where their best specimens compete, like the world needs high-quality vermin.

People deliberately breed these things, and the ones who aren’t show quality sometimes end up in laboratories participating in gruesome experiments.

It seems to me that this hobby could cause problems with our relations with India. That country is overrun with rodents and people starve because rats beat them to the rice.

While I have nothing against finding new and exotic ways to kill vermin, I draw an ethical line at bringing them into the world solely to doom them. Where’s the sport in that?

10 Responses to Vermin are Making News Again

  1. adele says:

    Fred, good to see that you gave Karen a rest, today,and came up with a subject. Do you have Google set for large rat alerts? I’m astonished that there’s so much information out there.

    I’ll bet all you cats are just itching to get at the keyboard.

  2. Bob says:

    Yikes What’s with the rats???
    So not food…. Well Not in a Canadian point of view.

  3. catsworking says:

    Adele, we have graciously let Karen hog the keyboard because we knew you were itching to hear all about Bourdain.

    We find our blog topics everywhere. From sitting on a variety newspapers and magazines (which apparently is more than Sarah Palin does), by pretending to ignore TV news, by sneaking peeks at AOL headlines, and by getting secret Google alerts.

    Although I will say that Adele is pretty excited about Nadya Suleman talking to Dr. Phil and she’s been taking notes, so you may not have heard the last of that.

    Bob, I’m a cat and I would not consider tucking into a bamboo rat. First, the fur looks like toothbrush bristles and I’d never get it out from between my teeth. Second, it looks like high-fat meat because they said the rats just waddle around. Third, it’s just no fun chowing down on rodents without the thrill of the chase to work up an appetite.

    Funny thing is, in one of those Bourdain podcats you and Karen turned up, he said the one thing he would never eat is rats. I can’t remember which country he was in when they were cooking a “squeezle,” and he looked a little worried because nobody would tell him what it was. I bet he was thinking rat. But it turned out to be more like possum.

  4. Bob says:

    Actually the Squeezel was in Vietnam and was a Porcupine… I love that episode!!!

    They made him drink Snake Whiskey in that one too… EWWW.. Actually listening to the podcasts the fact that he would never eat a monkey brain, well that’s a no brainer.. (Nancy made him promise that) But the Rat thing kinda shocked me.. Given the limited diet of the people he visits..

    Just watched the Manhattan Episode last night…Man I gotta check out that steakhouse, my chin literally dropped when I saw the size of those hunks of meat.

  5. catsworking says:

    Thanks for the correction. I knew it was somewhere in Southeast Asia, but couldn’t remember which country. But porcupine, possum? What’s the difference except the needles? To a cat, those critters all look alike.

    I was surprised when I heard Bourdain’s squeamish about rats, too. (I was pretending to sleep under the desk while Karen listened to that podcast.) The normal-sized ones are no worse than frog legs. And he didn’t flinch at eating balut, bones, feathers, and all. With that sort of appetite, he could be a cat!

  6. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    After watching them eat guinea pig in South America, I really wonder how bad these big rats would taste? Especially if they’re grain fed? I’m actually serious. I’m not going to line up to eat one but who’s to say they’re any worse than us eating shrimp, which are basically just cockroaches of the sea? Or snails? And aren’t squab essentially the same as garden variety NY pigeons (land rats)?

    Roast those suckers. We’ve eliminated other species by overeating them, so why not deplete the rat population and feed the masses?

  7. catsworking says:

    Nancy, you’ve got a point, although Karen freaked out when she saw Andrew Zimmern eating guinea pigs. (Bourdain has done so, as well, right? If she ever saw it, she’s blocked it out and never talks about it.) She used to keep them as pets for many years, and the resident cats at the time (Coco, Cleo, and Rex) were quite protective of them.

    But if rat meat were put in a casserole and you weren’t told what it was, you would probably find it delish. It’s only when they try to serve them whole, with heads and tails, that people freak out.

    I don’t know how those bamboo rats would taste, though. I’m thinking tough and stringy. There’s nothing like the delicate crunch of tiny field mouse bones. They’re a lot of work for not much meat, but such a treat!

    If some cat food company ever dared to offer canned rodents, omitting the parts that upset humans, they could make a killing.

  8. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    Fred, is there something particularly bad about the head? I find that my cat leaves the mice heads (for me to step on) and lizard heads as well. I’m thinking you could provide me some perspective.

  9. catsworking says:

    Nancy, think about it. The head is tiny, bony, and the only real meat in it is the brain, and barely a mouthful at that. And does a cat need to absorb any rodent or lizard smarts? Hardly.

    Just as humans rip the tails off shrimp to concentrate on the good part, many cats prefer to rip the heads off mice and lizards.

  10. Bob says:

    Just bored this weekend… Doing some sleuthing. Found an old print interview. But its worth a read.. I think its back from the Cooks Tour/Early No Reservations Days.

    Covers a lot of the basics but a good refresher none the less..

    More Bourdain…. Less OctoMom…

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