Most owners of outdoor cats have experienced the unpleasant surprise of a furry, dead "gift" being left behind by their pet. But if your cat is leaving a steady stream of rats at your doorstep, you might want to thank it for drawing attention to a serious infestation on or near your property. While you might be content to let your cat keep thinning their numbers, controlling this rat infestation professionally is necessary to protect your home and the health of both your pet and family.
Recognizing the Hazards of Rat Hunting
Your cat no doubt delights in the challenge of catching rats, but it isn't aware of the diseases and parasites they can carry. A survey of wild rats in Baltimore found that over 57 percent were carrying a form of hantavirus, 73 percent carried hepatitis E, and about 65 percent had leptospirosis, all of which can be transferred from rat to humans and potentially to cats as well. Because of this, rat colonies near human residences should be moved or eliminated swiftly to avoid the risk of disease spreading to your family.
Tracking Your Cat's Hunting Habits
Before you can make plans to get rid of the rats, you'll need to discover where they're hiding. If you aren't sure where the rats are coming from, you may be able to find out with the help of your cat. When you have a day off, pay attention to where your cat goes and hangs out. In all likelihood, it will eventually return to a place near the nest to hunt again, narrowing down your search area considerably.
Finding the Colony
In some cases, your cat will lead you directly to the nest, but you may need to look around to find it. Whenever you feel uncomfortable working around disease-carrying pests like rats, quit immediately and call up your local pest control service to have the job done professionally. Not only do pest control experts know where to look to find hidden rat colonies, but they can also approach and handle the nest safely.
Eliminating the Nest
Assuming the rat colony is on your property, you can begin the process of removing the nest and exterminating its residents. Rats can rebuild their populations through just a few survivors, which is why it is important to rely on a certified pest control service like Emory Brantley & Sons Termite and Pest Control to handle trapping and other methods for rat removal. With a little luck and a few specialists on your side, you should notice your cat bringing you fewer gifts and then nothing at all, leaving you with the peace of mind that comes with living on a rat-free property.