• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

How to deal with a live rat in the bedroom.

 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 811
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
45
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A couple of nights ago I thought I saw my cat with something in his mouth on my bed. I was sitting at the computer and by the time I got a better light turned on there was nothing to be seen. I tossed the corners near the bed and couldn't find any signs that it was more than my imagination. Little freaky, but I've been keeping an ear peeled for random rustling from other corners of my cramped and cluttered little room and had finally decided it had escaped out the window or just been a figment of my imagination. This morning I stepped back into my room and crossing the floor was a fat gray animal with a body about six inches long which disappeared into my closet.

I use fully half of the closet for storage of out of season clothes and miscellania in boxes. The rest of the room is surrounded with furniture, most of which is either pulled a little away from the wall for cord access or raised off the ground a comfortable amount for rodent travel. On top of that, I keep a perpetual feeder and water for the family cats in one corner of the room. As far as I can tell, this rat thinks he didn't survive the cat and has now been transported to rat paradise. What would be the best way to capture and remove this animal? How likely is to invite company, instead?

We do have two housecats (indoor/outdoor) that fancy themselves hunters, but the fact that I have the problem in the first place gives you an idea of how effective they actually are. This is the third time Bayin has been caught bringing an animal into my bed. Juries still out on whether this is better or worse than the half an animal I found by kicking as I was getting up.

edit: From previous experience, I know that if I take his live toy out of his mouth and kill it in front of him, that will prevent recurrences. If he thinks I'll break his toys he won't bring them close enough to share. I've had cats most of my life. I've just never had one bring such a large pest indoors before.
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 246
Location: Derbyshire, UK
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My last set of cats loved to bring live things in, let them go, then watch the entertainment of the humans trying to catch said live rodents/birds. Our preferred option became humane traps- we got the wire cage kind and set it up with peanut butter. Would eventually catch the rodent, without risk of hurting the cat, and we could deal with it. Don't think we ever got anything as large as a rat though!

Cats trying to get into the cage to get the peanut butter was entertaining as well.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 811
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
45
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are live animal traps available at the local hardware store. That's probably the route I'll end up taking. If I release it back outside is it going to try to get back in, now that it knows how plush the house life can be?

I don't even object to rats on principle. They actually make some of the best 'training' pets for children. We've had very good luck keeping them as pets. I have to draw a line at one living wild inside my house, though.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 463
Location: Central, Virginia
35
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Casie,
I have the occasional rat in the attic. I can hear him gnawing or scurrying across the floor from downstairs. I think they're wood rats or pack rats (may be the same thing). We have lots of holes in the floor boards up there where they have chewed and they strow things that are stored up there all over the room. I found where they had chewed into an electrical wire and there was about a 6" section of it that looked burnt. Dangerous!

We set live traps (Have a Heart brand?) baited with peanut butter. Sometimes a mouse will knock the trap and be small enough to escape through the wires of the trap so you must check it often. Also helps if you cover the trap with a box so that the door flaps on the ends are the only thing sticking out. That keeps the rat or mice from knocking the trap from the outside. It has two metal rods on the outside that latch over top of each other when set.

Your cat may have brought the rat in or the rat may have detected the free cat food. I did notice here that the mouse population in the house dropped significantly after the cat died. We, too, had an automatic feeder and got rid of it when there were too many instances of finding cat food in my shoes, drawers, stove, etc. The rats here have always been in the attic and not the living spaces of the house. The cat never had access to the attic. I guess the rat just liked eating wood and cardboard. But I know they LOVE peanut butter.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 463
Location: Central, Virginia
35
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These traps work well on flying squirrels too.
There are some laws about transporting live animals. I'd check. Or do as I did and say screw 'em.
Just don't do this. I took one to be released down the road while it was still dark out. I bent down in front of the cars headlights to open the trap. Instead of running away, the squirrel ran up a stick right there and we were almost nose to nose.
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 246
Location: Derbyshire, UK
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We didn't always release the rodent.. just the humane traps meant that the cat couldn't get injured. Mice and voles and things got released, rats were given to my neighbour who disposed of them to ensure they didn't come back. Rats are pretty clever.. I wonder if they would want to come back in?
 
John Weiland
Pie
Posts: 701
Location: RRV of da Nort
22
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@CasieB: "What would be the best way to capture and remove this animal?"

Capturing smart rats can be difficult....

Remove?......

 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Pie
Posts: 1032
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
89
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Funny you should post this today. Last week, the cat woke me by pouncing, and by the time I turned on the light, he was humming there on the floor with the legs and tail of mouse sticking out of his mouth. I picked him up and put him out; not all cats would agree to that. 

I think the rodents like to come indoors in autumn. So I got some traps. The Indian snap traps are much bigger and stronger than the little ones I've seen in the US. I think it would break my finger. I'm worried about the cats getting into them but I'm putting them in spots I hope are inaccessible to cats, and hope the cats aren't interested in peanut butter and chocolate. The most convenient spot to protect the cats is under my bed, which goes down to within an inch of the floor. But for three nights nobody was caught there. This morning I shut the cats out and put the trap among the junk under the kitchen counter, and caught a mouse within ten minutes. Location, location, location! Also I think maybe mice could nibble the peanut butter off without tripping the trap, so this morning I wedged some tough bread that they'd have to pull on, and maybe that worked. I threw the mouse outside, and I'm sure a local cat or feral dog enjoyed it. Web of life, I tell myself.

sam-gross-read-the-card-read-the-card-new-yorker-cartoon.jpg
[Thumbnail for sam-gross-read-the-card-read-the-card-new-yorker-cartoon.jpg]
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 463
Location: Central, Virginia
35
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another thing to mention, I've checked traps set with peanut butter and found them covered in tiny ants. They can clean a trap quickly too.
 
robert e morgan
Posts: 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
do not live with this or any other wild rat.they can carry fleas and other things. google it. rat bit at 3 yrs old . can remember steel snap traps in every corner,and dad beating the caught rat to death with stick of wood. DO NOT ALLOW THIS RAT TO LIVE !!
 
Andy Moffatt
Posts: 93
Location: New Zealand
3
food preservation goat hunting
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last time we had a rat inside I got it with the fire poker as it ran across the kitchen floor. This is why we don't have a cat door, she has to eat things outside before we let her in.
 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 811
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
45
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rather than going into the trap the rat has crossed the house into the garage. It was crouched in the corner by the final outside door when we found it. So we went outside and opened that door so the rat has a clear path of egress, and closed the door into the rest of the house. I actually underestimated the size. It's closer to eight inches of body length and is moving like it's still hurting from the encounter with the cat.

I have no intention of living with a wild rat loose in the house, but I'm also not terrified of it fleas or some horrible disease. A fat, sleek rat acting in a normal rat fashion is probably not sick. It just had the bad luck to be caught by a predator. Even my mother agrees that it's actually a very cute rat, with a sweet little face. If it does go into the trap instead of out the door (put a live animal trap near the interior door) she's already taken responsibility for finding a safer place to relocate it. I was thinking more along the lines of giving it a quick death somewhere outside of my bedroom.
 
David Livingston
steward
Pie
Posts: 2608
Location: Anjou ,France
102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


could be worse

On a more serious note I would put it out its pain 
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 421
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You really need to find where it got in, because there's never just one rat, unfortunately.  So start looking where pipes go through the floor under the sinks, and where gas pipes come through the floor.   If you can stick even your pinkie finger through an opening around a pipe, you can get a mouse, or even a rat.  If they can get a grip on that opening they will chew it bigger.  Hardware cloth, that is actually metal, has very small criss-cross texture to it, can be screwed over those openings, and they can't chew through it.  I've had rats pull out steel wool, so that doesn't work.

Then go around the foundation carefully and look for openings.   If you have any wall vents near the roof, attic openings, space around the chimney for some reason, they can squeeze through tiny spaces.

If your house is up on poles or posts then you'll have access to those pipe openings, and you can block them from underneath.

If you have a night cam, like a trail cam, that is motion sensitive, put it under the house where it seems most likely they are getting in.  When rats feel threatened they slap the floor with their tails, THWAP, THWAP, THWAP, and that can be a giveaway as to where they are getting in.  Look for lots of droppings, where they are hanging out in a safe place, and where they are getting in won't be far.

I found an opening under the deck, up against the wall of the foundation where the foxes would chase them, then they would squeeze through and smack their tails, so I lucked out on that one.  Then I found huge gaps under the bathroom sink around the pipes that went into the subfloor, they were coming through that.  I even had one chew through window screen from outside, the window was usually open, and there was a window box it could get onto, then chew the screen.  Now everything has rodent screens.

If they are chewing the wood, you might be able to hear that, and locate the opening that way.



 
Casie Becker
pollinator
Posts: 811
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
45
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, there was no question how it got in. My cat carried it into the house through the window above my bed. I heard him come in as I sat on the computer on the other side of the room and wondered what he was holding. He raised his head when I moved to turn on a light and something skittered across the covers into the corner. I just convinced myself that my eyes were playing tricks on me in the dark when I couldn't find it or any other signs. I've never had a cat that I didn't allow full access to the outdoors and I don't intend to start now. Other than a few tarantulas nothing has voluntarily climbed four feet up the wall to come into the house.
 
David Livingston
steward
Pie
Posts: 2608
Location: Anjou ,France
102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does the cat often bring you such " gifts " ?
I had a friend whose cat brought him a live phesant and a live curlew . These are both bigish birds and he had to try to catch them flying round the house

David
 
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic