As you start to hibernate in your cozy, heated home for the winter, so will rats and mice. The little rodents are adept at sneaking through any crevice or breech in the outer perimeter of your property, and have extra motivation to do so in sub-zero temperatures.
According to a 2017 study, Toronto is one of the most rodent infested cities in North America. There could be many reasons for the rise in rats and mice, but we’re going to consider one in particular: a lack of outdoor cats.
Should we reintroduce these nimble forces of nature to our local streets to keep the pesky rat population under control?
Pros: Feline Street Enforcers
The outdoor cat is a relic of a romanticized yesteryear, along with indoor smoking rooms, and Limp Bizkit’s popularity. What was once a staple in the family unit, is considered a taboo in the modern household.
The worst of times for rats, was the best of times for cats—particularly felines with a penchant for pouncing on prey.
When our cats were more tiger than Tigger, it made the streets a mean place for rats and mice. They had to make themselves scarce, as their natural predators lurked around corners, callously calculating until a vulnerable victim gave off their scent. It was certainly some kind of literary dystopia for the disease-ridden rodents, and a buffet-like utopia for their sleek, agile predators.
Now? We have overly pampered grown-up kittens with names like “Mr. Snuggle-Breath”, mortified at the first sign of a concrete jungle.
Just like cars, they don’t make cats like they used to. It’s no wonder we’re finding rats and mice everywhere we turn. Your great-grandpa’s cat named “Roosevelt” is looking down in disgust.
Surely, revisiting the cat-like equivalent of the wild west would put a stop to the GTA’s rodent problems?
Cons: The Harsh Reality
Okay, we may have made the outdoor cat life seem far more alluring than it actually is. It’s difficult not to look back at the old days with rose-coloured glasses. After all, without those days, how could Disney have made The Aristocats?
The outdoor lifestyle for cats is considered by experts to be as unhealthy as smoking is for humans. It may seem cool when you’re doing it, but not when it causes an endless list of maladies and lowers life expectancy down the line.
The rugged outdoors puts cats at an increased risk of infections, traumas, hypothermia, and myiasis (maggot infestation). And while it’ll control the rat population, what about salamanders, lizards, and songbirds? Cats aren’t only preying on unwanted neighbourhood pests.
We also can’t discount the truly unforgiving nature of, well, nature. Your crafty cat may be quite the hunter, but they also make an ideal meal for coyotes or hawks.
While yes, society may have taken away our fluffy friends’ badass image and street tough spirit, it was out of necessity—not malice or ignorance.
If cats can no longer protect us from rodents invading our homes, then who can? Terminix Canada, that’s who!
Our humane, environmentally friendly methods of rodent and wildlife control, removal, and prevention will make your neighbourhood safer than any cat could. Plus, we don’t stink like tuna or require a litter box.