Thursday, March 17, 2011

Control (Thursdays are for thinking)

We...had known there was a rat in the basement for quite a while now. I saw it once before departing for Amsterdam. Josh had seen it, and for some reason mentioned this to me one day after I moved back but wasn't living in this house. Vincent had written something about it on the chalkboard. It tried to eat boy Alex's peanut butter right out of the container, but failed. I don't know what Kristin's relationship with the rat was. It was just...there. We knew we had to kill it. It was messing with our seed starts for the garden and we'd already been somewhat thwarted by a baby squirrel last year. Yesterday, I finally took action.

Okay, sure. This is kind of disgusting. But, I've killed a rat before. One of these critters was my nemesis in Berlin. I knew where it was coming through the floor, I set the trap, I killed it. I apologized to the rat. I undid the trap after its neck had been broken and its paws frozen stiff and draped its dangly body into a shoebox. Then I put it outside in the dumpster and washed my hands. That was it. Maybe I'll bury this one in the backyard instead?

It just got me thinking a bit. I was really worried about our darling house bunny Clyde getting stuck in the trap somehow, even though she's never gone downstairs before. Looking at her fat, furry little face today I wondered. Why is she allowed? Why do we feed her, clean her cage, stroke her floppy ears, worry about her and look forward to hearing her clickity clack on the floor when we get home? Or maybe only I do? Undeniably, I love that thing. I think everyone enjoys having it around to a certain degree. But...that's not the point. There are plenty of humans who love their pets. It's just...the rat has to die because noone chose it? Because it invited itself and started causing trouble? And will inevitably invite more rats and/or reproduce its own? Just like Garrett the squirrel though, somehow a rat in the house makes absolutely no sense. It has to go. Not just be swept outside into its natural habitat, but KILLED. Because its natural habitat is a human household and its natural tendency is pillaging human food sources. Something about human instinct or whatever. It just seems so strange. That some small critters we devote ourselves to loving and protecting, whereas others we tempt with peanut butter and then break their necks.


Rachel Wrong said...

That is intense. And an interesting thing to ponder. I just read an article in National Geographic about the "domestic" gene and the history of domestication of animals. In Russia they have been selectively breeding foxes and domesticating them. They've ended up foxes that act just like dogs and also are physically different (floppy ears and piebald patterns). I kind of want a pet fox.

Our cat Rachel (yes I named a cat after myself, it was my narcissistic phase) used to kill rodents all the time. She would take them to the orchard and play with them for hours before killing them. The fucked up thing about that is the orchard is all bare ground with these regularly spaced trees. The mouse runs from tree to tree in this unnatural landscape, hoping for cover, but there was no escape. A trap is probably preferable.

Elizabeth said...

I understand your concern, however, after reading this blog, what I found troubling is that the Rat appears pregnant. It seems to me that you snapped that little disease factory in half none too soon.

Gentleman's Time said...

Thought you might find this interesting.

Caitlin said...

Thank you Aljon! That's exactly up my alley. Made me even think twice about eating chickens. It's one of the primary reasons I decided against eating cows and pigs if I don't know where they came from.

I guess...yes. The rats DEFINITELY have to go. Uninvited and disgusting. But why do I love my bunny so dearly? It's not that different than rodent. Why do we become attached to anything living? The best I can come up with is the time you spend together. It adds up somehow and something magical happens where you start Even with pets.

Maybe that's what's disturbing about making a conscious decision to kill an animal purely because it's a nuisance. Even though your livelihood somehow loosely depends on it being exterminated. Just something about upsetting the balance in the force...Clyde totally does not steal my food or pee in inappropriate places though. So yeah. Fuck the rats.

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