Chicago Illinois is fighting to regain control of their city. The rat infestation is up 30% thanks to recent warmer winters. Evidence of the invasion of the rats and their destruction is everywhere; chew marks in the houses and garages, gnawed garbage cans, urine and droppings.... It is so bad that residents fear letting their children outside to play.
Beginning at the age of two to three months female rats can produce 4 to 7 litters per year with each litter containing 8 to 12 pups. Rats can become impregnated within 48 hours of giving birth. Rats are excellent climbers and swimmers and have very hard teeth. They can chew through most any material, plastic, wood, drywall....The risk of disease being spread from rat to human is very real and often ends in human fatality. Rats are well known carriers of over 70 zoonotuc diseases including the bubonic plague and it's variants, typhus, hantavirus, septicemic plague, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, to name a few.
The city recently added Rat Patrol city workers to the ever growing city payroll. Chicago is known for having unusually high taxes, some of the highest taxes in the country. They also sent crews out to bury rat poison in and around multiple nests yet the rat and mice sightings throughout the city is rising. As the rat population grows the rats get bolder and appear out in the open along with the shoppers and diners, the kids and the transit riders. Lazy house cats are little help. So much of the feral cat population has been killed off by animal control and the poisons laid out for the rodents that the rats' natural predators are almost non-existent. Feral cats will teach their young to hunt and kill rodents but the typical fat house cat raised with pet rabbits and guinea pigs, pet hamsters and reptiles don't necessarily perceive the unwelcome critters as prey. Some house cats even run from the rats to higher ground! (My last cat did that.)
The Tree House Humane Society is working with the city of Chicago where neutered, vaccinated and microchipped feral cats are being sent back out to the streets in attempt to to help Chicago reclaim their city.
The invasion of the rats has not yet reached Atlanta but will soon if we keep killing our local feral cats. Feral cats are an asset to any city. They and only they can keep the rat and mice numbers under control. Once those numbers get out of balance the rat problem may never again be managed. Do we really want our city planting poison throughout metro Atlanta polluting our ground and water supply, the air we breath, children and pets playing outside digging in the dirt unknowingly coming into contact with rat poison?
Help spare Atlanta from Chicago's biggest mistake by supporting trap, neuter and release of feral cats in your county. Inform your local elected officials on the value feral cats provide our state and the consequences associated with eliminating the rats' natural predator. As with any change expect resistance. You will have to push hard and get others on board before you get results but results will come with determination and perseverance. "No" is always the standard answer but never the final answer unless YOU decide to accept it as such.
"NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF CONCERNED CITIZENS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. INDEED, IT'S THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS." Margaret Mead