How to Catch and Lose a Rat in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1:

Approach the living room and immediately note the cat’s suspicious behavior. Kitty is facing the entertainment center with the attentiveness of a hunter with cornered prey.

Step 2:

Listen for the tell-tale scurrying of a mouse or rat. Yep. No mistaking that sound.

Step 3:

Call for back up. In this case I asked my son to close the cat in a room and keep him there till further notice.

Step 4:

Search under and around the 400 pound entertainment center, flashlight in hand, nerves on edge. With my son’s help, roll up the carpet and maneuver the heavy furniture away from the wall.

Step 5:

Note the beautiful markings on the healthy, brown rat dancing a jig on the wires. Shudder. Estimate the size of the rat, just for fun. (Six inches of rat, plus another six inches of rat-tail.) Let’s call it an even dozen.

Step 6:

Realize you will not sleep tonight knowing an enormous rat is running loose in your house.

Step 7:

Watch the rat drop down from the wires, and attempt to hide under the entertainment center. Thinking you have him cornered, look up, then down, only to have him disappear like a rabbit in a magician’s hat: here one second, gone the next.

Step 8:

Plop down on the sofa, chin in hand, nerves frayed and ponder your next move.

Aside: at this point my husband walks through the front door, takes one look at me and asks ‘what’s wrong?’ A mere nod of my head toward the rolled up carpet and displaced furniture is all he needs in the way of an answer. Yes, we’ve been through this before.

Step 9:

Re-locate the rat. Employ two adults, one teenager, a pair of flashlights and your wits.

Aha! The rat has managed to circle the entertainment center, crawl up the back, through one of the holes for the wires and back to his nest. Apparently he’s been here awhile. Could this be our kitchen rat at long last?

Step 9(a):

Photograph the rat through the hole in the entertainment center (Hey I write a blog you know).

hiding rat

The back-end of the receiver and the back-end of the rat

Step 9(b):

Tape three of the four potential exits closed with cellophane tape and cardboard. Cover the fourth opening with long, narrow plastic bags originally used to cover the newspaper. Add a cracker for good measure.

wires everywhere

How to build a failed rat trap

Step 9(c):

Stand guard at the back of the opening hoping the rat will exit through the hole, into the bag so I can spirit him out the back door. Meanwhile my husband Mike gingerly removes the stereo receiver.

Step 9(d):

The rat has two options: One, exit into the bag, or two, fly out the front of the cabinet. He goes with option two. Mike grabs the rat between two gloved hands, the rat squeals, and a startled Mike drops the rat to the floor. He makes a run for it. (The rat, not my husband).

e center wires

Mouse the cat is hot on the trail. Wires and rat droppings everywhere. Ugh

Step 9(e):

The three of us watch as the rat makes a break for it. He avoids the open door (of course) and runs under the book shelf instead. Thinking that clearly we have him cornered (and we do), we also realize there is a ‘secret compartment’ left by the builder between the wall and the cabinet. The little compartment is cozy, rat-sized and available.

Aside: We’re all exhausted at this point and decide to regroup.

Step 10:

Watch gratefully as Mike wraps tape around the lower half of the bookshelf and sets the live trap. There is only one way out and that is into the trap. Now we wait.

live rat trap

One way out. Mike sets the trap. Mouse supervises