Cats are predators that have been eating rats even before the dawn of civilization. These furry animals are obligate carnivores. Cats in the wild have subsisted on the meat of prey. Rodents, vermin, birds, and other small animals are the prey of cats. Cats are eating bugs too. Present day cats are now provided with manufactured pet foods…a kind of diet that is different from the diet of their ancestors that have existed in the wild. Does this mean the cats have lost the inclination to hunt and to eat rats? Domestication has not erased the innate hunting ability of cats. Pet cats would still be off in a flash if a rat, a frog, lizard or any other kind of small animal is seen running. However, not many cats would eat the prey. Pet cats would commonly bring the dead bird or the dead rat home and offer the hunted prey to the master.
Even during the ancient times, cats were already eating rats. It was believed that cat domestication was started by the Egyptians. When Egyptians started cultivating crops, their grain storehouses were attacked by rats. Being rat hunters, cats have gravitated to the granaries. Ancient Egyptians have kept cats from then on and because of the outstanding personality of these furry animals, they soon became valued pets. Cats were even worshipped as gods and therefore killing of cats was prohibited. The prowess to eradicate rats is also the main reason for the spread of cats to other parts of the world. Cats became shipboards denizens that kept seafaring vessels rodent-free.
Rats are grain eaters but these pets are not only the concern of farmers and of people living in rural area. These destructive pests are as well found in urban and suburban areas. To survive in residential areas, rats would eat not only grains but practically any kind of food. Rats can easily access homes because they can squeeze their bodies into very small openings. Rats can also gnaw holes in wooden walls. People are concerned with rat infestation not only because of the destructive feeding habits of these pests but also because the gnawing can compromise the structure of the home. Additionally, rats can transmit more than 70 diseases. It would be very hard to confirm rat infestation because these pests have very sensitive senses. Perceived threat will instantly make rats scamper for dear life. The only sign of infestation would be the black droppings and also the destruction that these rodents leave behind.
To control rodent population, some groups have supported feral cat colonies. Cats make wonderful pets but some pet owners purposely keep cats to prevent the home from being infested with rodents. Cats are natural predators of rats. The instinct to hunt is innate in these animals. The mere scent of cats would already intimidate these rodents. A cat would relentlessly pursue a rat and would not stop until the rodent is killed and eaten. Even well fed cats would relish eating the prey. However, not all cats are cut from the same cloth…not all cats would run after a rat, much less eat this pest. Companion cats have become pampered animals that are provided with all the food they can eat. This pampering often results to obesity. Obese cats are lazy cats. A waddling fat cat would be a poor rat hunter…the fat cat may not even attempt to run after the rat. If this is the case, the owner had best invest in some rat traps or use rodenticides.
Actually, owners of cats that do not eat rats should really be thankful especially in a community that is rat infested. People pestered by rat would be inclined to use rodenticides. Cats that eat poisoned rats will be affected by the poison as well.