Letters to a Sister 3

Rats This week I have two problems, both rat related.

Now, as you know, if you live on farmland and keep poultry, you’ll have rats. Fact. We’ve always had a big brown rat around the pond. In fact, the first year we lived here, when we didn’t know what we were doing and the pond froze so the fox could walk to duck island and kill every single duck, James asked if he should still continue to feed the rat each morning. (He was young.)

However now, after two mild winters, they have become more of a problem. They get the eggs, they carry germs and will kill the young poultry when it first hatches.

So, last year we bought two farm cats, Milly and Molly, to live outside. Even if they don’t get the bigger rats, they’ll get the babies and that will keep the population under control. I didn’t spay them, figuring that a few cats outside would be fine, they can each have a litter and then I’ll get them all spayed.

Am pretty sure now that Milly & Molly are pregnant rather than greedy. Still no idea who the father is, but can definitely smell a Tom some mornings. Not pleasant.

Did some internet research to learn how I should be looking after them. Learned that sometimes cats can produce up to 8 kittens. Eight. Not really sure how I am going to mention this to David. Milly & Molly were perfect, the only two in the litter, born in a stable but handled regularly so not feral & used to a GSD. Perfect. I had assumed that as they were a pair, they would each produce a pair. Six kittens, living outside, helping to control the rats around the pond, ideal. I’ll have them all neutered after the first litter and we’ll all live happily ever after.

But eighteen? Oh dear. And whilst I can kill the odd cockerel ( especially after he has attacked me & is showing signs of aspiring to world domination) there is NO way I could dispose of a kitten. (I promise to send photos when they’re born – am guessing end of May.)

Can you advertise for good homes on fb? Have a feeling its against the fb rules, my account will be shut down by fb police. Oh the shame.

I will have to smuggle them into people’s homes. Perhaps I cd take them as thank you gifts when invited out for dinner. Can be gifts for all my nieces & nephews on their birthdays. House warming gifts? Could have a party & give them as leaving gifts/party favours. This clearly needs some thought.

My next problem is also rat related. Last Summer we had “Mr Rat” the exterminator, but then he was ill and stopped coming, leaving both a healthy rat population and some traps.

I, in my wisdom, decided to set some of the traps. They worked. I now have a rat. An alive one.

Now, it is one thing to employ a man to put down poison or to get some farm cats to kill the babies, it is quite another to be faced with a rat, perfectly healthy, looking through the bars of the trap at me. He has a little furry face and sweet little ears and cute pink paws.

He also screams the rat equivalent of death threats whenever I go near and tries to bite me through the cage. Clearly hates me. What to do?

Cannot bring myself to kill him, not face to face – plus not sure how. I can kill something quickly, before it feels fear, in an instant. But how do I even get it out of the trap without it biting me? Nor can I leave it to starve to death. Seems cruel.

So I am now feeding a rat and regularly topping up its water bowl. This is so not what I had planned.

When David gets home I will suggest he might like a drive into the countryside, away from other houses and farms and we can release it. I fear he will mutter. Will also be nervous that cage in car may not be as secure as I hope. Oh dear, big problem.

Maybe I can add it to the surprise kitten gifts…..Just be glad it’s not December or guess what you would be getting for Christmas……

Will write again next week.

Take care.
Anne xx

PS Mimi is trying to sell her car. She told me she has advertised on a car website but at the last minute she got worried about putting her mobile number on a public site. So she used a false number. Not sure she really thought that one through.

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