Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rat TV

Maximus has always been a fan of quality entertainment. He finds great joy in sitting down in front of the TV to watch whatever might be on. And I mean RIGHT in front of the TV - he sits two inches away and blocks half the screen. This situation is advantageous to him because it satisfies two cat loves at once: being entertained an making a nuisance of himself. Of late, however, he has found a new channel to capture his attention: Rat TV. Now before you go checking your cable listings, I regret to inform you that it's a local channel, only available here on the Unfarm. 

It is a regrettable fact that if you have animals, especially chickens and ducks, who eat their food outdoors, or you regularly leave food out for birds and squirrels, you are at risk of attracting rats. The fact that we are near both a forest and a pasture, and that we have a shed the rats can hide under doesn't hurt either. So in the evenings, once the kitchen is quiet, our resident rat (I would not go so far as to name him an Unfarmian, though) can be found scurrying around on the back deck, fattening himself on what little bits of seeds or duck food has been knocked onto the ground. While the humans on the Unfarm look upon these nighttime forays with dismay, Maximus finds it quite entertaining. He will plant himself in front of the large sliding glass doors and watch his regularly scheduled programming of Rat TV. And thus far, his program has not been cancelled as this particular rat has been quite crafty at avoiding any traps we have put out. Either that or he just has no taste for peanut butter. 

I should note that I do not approve of killing animals, but it is dangerous to have rats in such close proximity to us and our animals because of the diseases they may carry (and the chickens have absolutely no interest in taking on a rat for a roommate, as they are keen to do when the winter cold sets in.) So when we find it necessary to rid ourselves of rodent interlopers we use the snap traps because they kill quickly, as opposed to poison which is slow and painful. Plus, given our success rate (which is low), it would seem that the traps give the rats a sporting chance. More often than not, the rats get away with a free meal. 

So until our rat gets sloppy, or develops a craving for peanut butter, Maximus will be spending his evenings watching his favorite show. After all, it's somewhat interactive and there are never any reruns. The only thing missing now is the popcorn.

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