Rats Are About to Get Busted

August 25, 2011

By Max

On Friday, August 26, at 10 p.m. ET, Animal Planet is starting a 6-episode series called Rat Busters NYC. It stars two guys named Jimmy and Mike and scores of rats, who were all most likely harmed (murdered) during the filming of the show.

But don’t get me wrong. I may be a kitten, but I’m not soft on vermin. I don’t mind that Animal Planet thinks killing innocent creatures is entertainment. I can’t wait to watch those suckers go down. I’m just upset that Animal Planet hired humans to do the job when so many cats are out of work.

Don't bother pleading for mercy, you rat-bastard!

Jimmy and Mike work for Magic Exterminating. It’s like Ghost Hunters for rodents. They work in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, which is a rat paradise, according to Animal Planet.

Eeewww! Alert for the Bourdain family: The website boasts that rats are found “everywhere — from warehouses and small businesses to apartments and single-family homes, from the Upper East Side to Tribeca and crawling all over Brooklyn and Queens!”

The site also tried to dispel some myths about rats, such as that they can grow as big as cats. False. They said domestic rats usually top out at 2 pounds, and the world’s biggest rats, in Papua, New Guinea, only make it to about 3 pounds, while cats are more in the 8-10-pound range. (I’m 4 ½ lbs.)

But Cats Working documented a rat in China that weighed 6 pounds.

Even so, if a cat and a rat get into a serious smack-down, that rat won’t be around to brag about it to his grandkids.

I mull the option of suffocating him painlessly while digging my claws into his back.

But then Animal Planet dissed cats by saying we’re ineffective ratters because we can’t possibly keep up with the rat population, nor clean out the tiny places they hide.

OK, so where were Jimmy and Mike during the Black Plague? More recently, why didn’t the city of Los Angeles have any doubts cats were up to the job?

What AP forgets is that the mere presence of a cat makes rats think twice about putting down roots. If rats were so brilliant, they’d be the ones with 9 lives.

I'm not letting go 'til you squeak "Uncle!", Cheddar-Breath!

Anyway, I just thought I’d let all my new cat friends know there’s 6 hours of whisker-licking rat-bashing coming that you won’t wanna miss.


Belgium Plots to Wipe Out Housecats

August 25, 2010

By Cole

I wish I were making this up, but it’s true. By 2016, Belgium plans to have every short-haired cat in the country sterilized. They have one cat for every 10 people, and last year 13,000 homeless cats had to be put to sleep, so the Belgian government thinks it has an overpopulation problem.

I agree. They have 90% more humans than cats. If it’s a question of allocation of resources, they’re “fixing” the wrong species.

Belgium’s human population grew 0.776% in 2008 and is trending upward, while they think the cat population increases about 6% annually. But they ignore an important fact…

CATS DON’T LIVE NEARLY AS LONG.

If the proposal is passed, in 2011, they will begin with all cats in shelters, then those belonging to breeders and pet shops. Finally, housecats will have to be registered with the government and face mandatory sterilization.

Pedigreed cats like Persians and Abyssinians will be exempt. So in one generation, Belgium’s cats will consist of nothing but flat-faced, long-haired shedding machines. Not that I have anything against purebreds, but whatever happened to Vive la Difference?

The eradication of kittens should be complete in 5 years. The only thing stopping them from starting immediately is a lack of government funding.

Speaking on behalf of the “ordinary, unwanted” domestic shorthairs at Cats Working, if Belgium follows through on this heinous, incredibly short-sighted plot, may it find itself overrun by vermin. Who knows? Maybe they’ll bring the Black Plague back into vogue. Whatever hardy European mousers are left may be too old to hunt, or even deliberately let the rats thrive to control future human generations. Payback’s a bitch.


Boston Rats Meet the Feline Verminator

May 4, 2009

By Yul

When Harvard University began a “Big Dig” for a new science complex, they sent hordes of rats scurrying to the ‘burbs of Allston and Brighton, where they’re terrorizing everybody but a black cat named Klondike.

The "Verminator" with owner Linda Osgood (Photo - Matthew Healey, Boston Herald)

The "Verminator" with owner Linda Osgood (Photo - Matthew Healey, Boston Herald)

Harvard officials deny they caused the sudden infestation because they tried to gas or trap all the rats on their site before construction began. Then they installed 90 rodent-monitoring stations around the perimeter.

Hello?! That explains everything. The smartest rats escaped alive, and the monitoring stations are keeping them away. You’d think the geniuses at Harvard would recognize Darwinism at work.

The hardy survivors are raiding trash cans in their new ‘hood. The food must be good because one resident joked that the rats are “big enough to put saddles on.”

Circumstances have turned 4-year-old Klondike, who lives in Allston, into the Verminator. He bags anywhere from 1-3 rats a day, leaving their lifeless carcasses in people’s yards as a warning to any rats he hasn’t met yet.

Klondike recently brought a wounded rat into his own house for experimentation while his humans were at work to make sure he was operating at peak efficiency. Borrowing a page from Dick Cheney’s playbook, he tried “enhanced interrogation techniques” on it all day, but gleaned no useful intelligence on enemy activities.

The classic feline approach, “Kill now, Ask questions never,” is still far superior.

I urge all Boston cats to follow Klondike’s example and get to work. They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, so it’s up to us to remind the vermin who always wins when it’s Cat vs. Rat.


Vermin are Making News Again

February 25, 2009

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 - News.163.com)

"Mmmm, rat. It's lip-smacking good." (Photo - News.163.com)

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?


Rats Risk Their Lives to be Useful

December 31, 2008

By Fred

The Chinese Year of the Rat, which ends January 25, 2009, proved lucky for vermin. African Giant Pouched rats have two new career paths, although one is kind of kamakazi.

In Mozambique, rats in cute little harnesses and leashes (just like the red one Yul got for his aborted attempt to meet Santa) sniff out vapors from old landmines. Their noses are more sensitive than mechanical devices, and they’re so light on their feet, they don’t trigger explosions.

"Landmines smell just like kimchi!"

"Landmines smell just like kimchi!"

In fact, they’re making dogs, who could do this job, look oafish and inept.

Humans are so excited, they’re considering using rats to find landmines in other parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. I personally have no problem with exposing rats to this sort of danger, but I would caution people against getting carried away.

You may train a rat to walk on a leash, but he’ll never be your friend. Don’t forget who brought you the Black Plague in the Middle Ages.

In Tanzania, rats are detecting less-than-microscopic traces of tuberculosis in human saliva samples. That must make for nice chit-chat at rodent cocktail parties:

“And what do you do for a living?”

“I’m a spit sniffer.”

Rats are much cheaper than sweatshop labor. When a rat finds what he’s looking for, he scratches, and is rewarded with a piece of fruit or a nut.

You may wonder, if the rats are so smart, why haven’t they realized they can just scratch and get the treat because humans can’t immediately tell if the rat’s done the work?

Here’s what rat trainer Bart Weetjens thinks: “That would be human behavior. The rats are more honest.”

If you’re interested in adopting one of these rodents (no, I’m not kidding), here’s the site for you.


Does Mickey Mouse Deserve to Die?

October 9, 2008

By Yul

Mickey Mouse has never been linked to a single Satanic verse, yet Syrian Sheikh Muhammad Al-Munajid made statements recently on Saudi Arabian TV that sounded to untrained Western ears a lot like a fatwa against the Disney character.

While discussing the poor hygiene and health hazards posed by rats and mice, he made the point that colorfully clothed, cute, and lovable Mickey Mouse is sending the wrong message about vermin to children.

Would this mouse give you Plague?

Would this mouse give you Plague?

Cats Working doesn’t often come to any rodent’s defense, but we think Mickey was slandered.

Granted, cats would have been happier if Walt Disney’s inspiration for a timeless character whose ears have become the overriding motif of theme parks and cruise ships had been a CAT. But no one can accuse Mickey Mouse of having any part in raiding pantries, overrunning cities, or spreading deadly diseases.

That’s as crazy as saying Barack Obama “pals around” with terrorists.

Mickey Mouse is a CARTOON.

To his credit, when word of Sheikh Al-Munajid’s fatwa spread around the world, even he recognized how ridiculous it sounded and set the record straight in English on YouTube.

But to help Obama get a head start on improving Middle East relations, I’ll promise the sheikh this:

Cats have been watching Mickey Mouse for years. If he ever steps out of line and needs killing, rest assured, we will take care of him.


Down with ‘Work Like a Dog Day’

August 5, 2008

By Yul

August 5 is “Work Like a Dog Day.” I’m a cat, and I’m steamed.

Humans can be foolish, but to declare a holiday with greeting cards to celebrate working long, tedious hours at pointless tasks for little or no reward is going too far – way too far.

I couldn’t find the origins of this travesty, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Spencer Johnson’s fingerprints are on it somewhere.

In 1998, Johnson wrote what cats consider the most hilarious and ridiculous book of all time – Who Moved My Cheese?

It’s a flimsy fable about two mouse-size humans named Hem and Haw. It became a best-seller because managers love imagining themselves as the dark, invisible forces that hold the power of life or death over scared, hungry mice whose survival depends on finding cheesy handouts in a confusing maze.

We’ve never met anyone who read that book without being ordered to do so by their boss.

Since there isn’t enough cheese in the world to get anyone excited about celebrating “Work Like a Mouse Day,” I think Johnson settled for the next best thing – dogs – because working like a dog is so cliché, it’s an easy sell.

He may even be working on an equally inane sequel, Who Moved My Beggin’ Strips®?

What we really need is “Work Like a Cat Day.” It’s the only one that makes sense. Cats work smarter, not harder. We get the job done with time for catnaps to spare. And we do it while looking poised, graceful, and fabulous.

A sensible blogger named Layla at Be Gifty recommends Karen’s book, How to Work Like a Cat, as the purrfect antidote for “Work Like a Dog Day.”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why Fred, Adele, and I inspired her to write it.


Have Cats Been Playing the Met?

May 30, 2008

By Fred

Thanks to mice who snuck in for free, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York racked up 13 health code violations in April. Who ever knew vermin are into opera? Imagine what notes a soprano could hit if a mouse ran up her leg onstage.

A rodent’s home is his castle – literally.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found signs of rodents in both food and non-food areas. But to put this in perspective, they say the average NYC restaurant earns 15 points. So the mice must have shown at least some class in their posh surroundings by not leaving crap on everything.

A spokesman for the company that runs the Met’s Grand Tier Restaurant said “procedures were put in place” to deal with the little visitors, but no one knows what they are.

If they were smart, they hired cats instead of Terminex® for the job. We’re clean, quiet, odorless (at least, the non-sprayers), and use no harmful chemicals. If in the mood for a nosh, we’ll throw in carcass disposal for free.

Often, all it takes is the presence of a few cats in a place to send the little pests packing. They can’t stand us because we’re bigger, smarter, adored by humans who love to hear us purr, and have nicer tails.

The building was inspected again this week and seemed rodent-free, but the Met isn’t saying how they did it. If they want to keep it that way, they need to set up a comfy bed and litterbox somewhere on the premises and bring in a resident exterminator.


India Desperately Needs Cats

April 24, 2008

By Fred

Sam’s Club’s decision to ration rice in the U.S. might not be a bad idea unless you have a taste for tiny turds in your Rice-a-Roni.

The world’s second largest rice producer, India, has a huge vermin problem. Hundreds of millions of rats are pigging out on rice crops and in granaries and causing widespread famine in the northeastern state of Mizoram.

About every 50 years, bamboo in India produces an over-abundance of fruit and seeds, which rats consider delicacies. Fat, happy rats produce more rats. Once they finish the bamboo, they turn to people food, and then you’ve got trouble with a capital T.

The last bamboo surge and major rat problem was in 1959. Do the math.

Things were getting bad in 2007 when the Indian government started offering 5 cents apiece for rat carcasses, but it didn’t make a dent.

The only solution to India’s problem is so simple, I’m amazed they didn’t think of it in the 50 years they’ve had to prepare. They should have been stocking up on kitty litter.

The U.S. leads the world in cat ownership with 76,430,000 at last count. India isn’t even in the top 10, although it’s home to well over a billion people, more than 17% of the world’s potential cat owners. Big mistake, obviously.

Let millions of cats loose, and India could say “Bye-Bye” to its rat troubles in a matter of weeks.

I propose that India’s government start offering tax breaks to cat owners. It’s a win-win for everybody but the rats. Impoverished people won’t even have to choose between feeding themselves or their cats. We thrive on Nature’s most perfect food – it’s ratsalicious!


Pope Benedict is a Cat-holic

April 15, 2008

By Yul

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the U.S. today to a warm welcome from Catholics – and cats. He’s well-known around Rome for stopping to chat with and feed strays. He even authorized a cat to be his official biographer. I’m not kidding.

The Vatican doesn’t allow pets these days. They say it’s a security thing. But there’s ongoing debate over whether the pope shares his papal apartments with two cats, one of them a former stray he owned before. The Vatican won’t confirm or deny, so I’m surprised nobody has checked for cat hair on his robes.

When the archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, was in Rome for the pope’s inauguration in 2005, he said, “The street talk that the pope loves cats is incorrect. The pope adores cats.”

MSNBC reported that the pope has a black-and-white cat named Chico living back home in Tübingen, Germany, but I couldn’t find any other references to this particular cat. I think they got their story jumbled.

Chico is actually a 9-year-old ginger tabby in Pentling, Germany, who befriended the pope in his cardinal days when they were next-door neighbors. Chico’s owners now take care of the pope’s house, which he still visits occasionally. He had hoped to retire there.

Pope Benedict\'s friend, Chico

Chico enjoys sitting on the pope’s lap while he plays the piano and reminisces.

In 2007, Chico wrote and published his friend’s pre-Vatican life story in a children’s book called Joseph and Chico – A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI.

Italians are happy to have a cat-loving pope because they’re still grateful to us for leaping in to help rid the country of plague-carrying rats who were killing them in the 13th century. Italy is one of the most progressive countries in the world in promoting animal welfare. Since 1991, it’s been illegal to kill healthy dogs and cats in shelters.

So even though mass means “hairballs” to cats, we’re pleased to welcome Pope Benedict. It comes as no surprise that a man who was born as Joseph Rat-zinger became a lifelong cat-lover.


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