Eastern Hollywood has what might be called a rodent problem. I refer not to our duly elected officials or homeless persons (this time), but the local population of rats that inhabit the trees, brush piles, wooded areas, and dumpsters.
Our neighborhood has lots of cats. We have 5 these days – duMont, Cammy, Harlot, Rudy, and Chuckles – all of whom gleefully pursue creatures smaller than themselves when they’re not playing grab-ass with each other. We’ve removed lizards, frogs, toads, mice, and small children from their jaws many times. Obviously, one of them had a snack and left behind the inedible nether part.
Nice, eh? Then they come inside and cuddle with us. Awwww. Cute.
For the last five winters or so, our aralia trees have been decimated by rats that climb to the top, chew off the bark of the tenderest parts, and kill them from that point up. By spring, I’ve had to chop them back to save them – they do grow back, but they start at half their size.
This year that hasn’t happened (yet). I have to figure the cats are controlling the population. You can call it ethnic cleansing. I call it preventative landscaping.
I grew up in a big northeastern city where rats live in under the streets and grow to the size of possums. They’re reviled as disease-carrying vermin, parasites, scourges. Rats here are different – they’re just another wildlife species like raccoons, possums, and birds, but to me, they’re every bit as undesirable as their sewer-dwelling cousins up north.
So thanks, cats. Keep up the good work. Just be sure to eat your breath mints before you climb into bed with us, okay?