Friday, 7 August 2009

The Black Pack

Back in June I blogged about our growing rat problem. Rats are a fact of life, I was going to say 'in the countryside', but they are very much urban dwellers too. Anyone who keeps chickens will eventually encounter these horrid pests and we seem to get a plague of them from time to time. Poison is an option we regard as far too risky, so the only alternative is feline.

Enter stage left, three cats courtesy of the local cats rescue group which is currently snowed under with kittens. What we required, however, was something more streetwise, something bigger, stronger and hungrier. Something, in fact, more like this:

This is the Black Pack. They arrived in June hissing and spitting, scared of everyone and quite aggressive with it. But gradually they softened. Gradually they got used to us, the two legged people with the tins of delicious food. Soon they decided they quite like us really and Toby (at the back) has formed a strong devotion to Granny in the Annexe which involves sitting outside her patio doors and gazing in, lovingly. The other two are Winston (lying down) and Mitch (sitting on the right).

This is Winston again, posing by the wool sack.

All are now great friends too and spend a great deal of time together rubbing their cheeks and generally being very affectionate. When I get up in the morning they are invariably sitting in the garden waiting for their breakfast. When I'm cooking there are sometimes three sets of yellow eyes watching me through the kitchen window.

The rest of the time they spend gazing into the Granny Annexe at the things within. These things include the nice lady with the tins of meat, the lady cat who closes her eyes and pretends the Black Pack doesn't exist, a big squishy sofa, some nice comfy chairs and, most intriguingly of all, a lovely warm wood-burning stove.

Those cats will be inside on that sofa next to that wood-burner by Christmas. I think they know a soft touch when they see one.

16 comments:

  1. Do they catch rats?
    Or just spend all their time gazing at Granny?!

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  2. Well I sympathise with the rat problem as we keep chickens too and suffer from recurring infestations. But that is as nothing to the sight of them in Oxford Street London at 22.30 hours ferreting under rubbish bins where passers by have thrown away half-eaten burgers. Scary; knowing how rats can infect humans and cause kidney failure.

    I hope your cats clear out your rats for you. They are a gorgeous trio (the cats).

    Ann.

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  3. Elizabethd: No evidence yet of rat catching, but no evidence, either, of the rats. The Black Pack does seem to spend a lot of time gazing at Granny, but also quite a bit of time generally patrolling and looking fierce.

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  4. Wild Somerset Child: I can't abide city rats either. Their country brothers do seem impressed by the Black Pack though.

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  5. They are gorgeous - but with all that nice food I reckon the rats will be safe.

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  6. They are all sleek and beautiful, make my little black and white manky old cat look a bit rough round the edges! If I were a rat I wouldn't mess with them. And I am sure you are right about the in by Christmas prediction. Don't think I could keep them out myself.

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  7. Very sleek! Hope they do their job and don't just hunt wildlife... a jack russell works wonders too!

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  8. Your cats are lovely but I'm a fan of black cats. Both of my cats have been black and both lived well into their teen years.

    I had chickens a couple of years ago- here in the city. I naively put their grain in heavy plastic pails in the basement. I was shocked one day to see the holes in the lids! I wanted to believe that it was mice but it wasn't. All of the food went out by the chicken house but the problem remained until I found a rat man who doesn't use poison- just traps and perimeter reinforcements. I would proudly say that we are vermin free now but I don't want to jinx myself.

    A cat on the lap is a wonderful thing.

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  9. Not keen on cats - one of the few things that I'm allergic too. But hey, they look great, especially the pic of all 3 together.

    And as for rats - room 101 and all that... show no mercy.

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  10. Loving your band of feline brothers (and sisters) there. Hope they're earning their keep!

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  11. What a super blog. We know exactly what is happening, even though you haven't actually told us! Or should I say what is "Not" happening!

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  12. They look very sleek - quite a set, aren't they? I'm glad the rats have gone - one way or another.

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  13. One of ours brought us back a - dead - baby rat last week. I saw one in the veg plot a couple of days before (hopefully one and the same). Apparently wherever you live you are never more than 10 feet (or is that yards?) from a rat . . . Horrid things.

    Love the pussums - but how can you tell them apart?!

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  14. Excellent. We got our cats, Jimi and Lou-Lou after coming home from a five-week road trip to find rats in the boiler. I only wanted one cat as there were only two left I didn't think it was fair leaving one on its own. They get hair everywhere and have wrecked the furniture but it solved our rat problem. Good luck with yours.

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  15. What a handsome crew you have. Though how you can tell the difference between them is anyones guess!
    CKx

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  16. Right, you need to tell me more about cats. We took a pair of ginger toms and a grey tabby from a friend who was feeding a feral litter (prob about 12 weeks old). I put them in the garage with food, water and a bed. I tried to keep them shut in, but they were wily and one by one they fled. I have seen a huge ginger tom in the next field so I know they are probably still around. But not in my blinking garden chasing rabbits away!

    So - some tips on keeping them 'at home' but not in the house, please!
    xx

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