Friday, November 07, 2008

Something lives in my ceiling

A couple of days before Halloween I was chatting with my sister, Abra, on IM. We had been talking about some serious stuff but I was a little distracted and abruptly changed the topic on her. It wasn't my fault I was distracted, exactly. I was trying my best to be serious...but it was jut difficult to be serious with Andrew running around hitting the ceiling with a broom to make whatever was in our ceiling run around. I simply couldn't focus.

Here's a snippet of our serious conversation before I so rudely changed the subject:

Abra (6:27): Have you ever had a grapple?
Nancy (6:27): No...grape-apple?

Abra (6:28): It's an apple but it tastes like grapes!

Nancy (6:29): Weird.

Big, long 2 minute gap.

Nancy (6:31): Something lives in our ceiling.

Another big, long 2 minute pause.

Abra (6:33): What?
Nancy (6:33): Yeah. It scurries around; I don't know if it's a cat...or a mouse. But, yeah. Something lives in our ceiling...
Abra (6:33): Yuck!

Nancy (6:33): ...And it's kind of creepy.

Abra (6:33): No kidding.

Nancy (6:33): Andrew was just hitting the
ceiling with a broom to make it run around...
Abra (6:33): Of course he was, hahaha!

Nancy (6:34): ...So that we could try to figure out if it was too big to be a mouse or too small to be a cat.

Abra (6:34): It could be a rat.

Nancy (6:35): Also a possibility.

I didn't want it to be a rat, though, so although a rat was the logical answer I continued to hope it was an over-sized mouse or undersized cat.

There are many reasons I didn't want it to be a rat. Rats bug me a little more than mice, I guess. No offense, Shallee. Your rats are cute in their own right, but we're talking about sewer rats here, although I suppose technically they are ceiling rats. It's kind of like the weevil vs. cockroach argument. Clearly the one that lives in the sewer (and occasionally in my ceiling) is more disgusting than the one that lives in wheat.

I believe there's a family story of a rat popping out of a toilet and scaring an ancestor (help me out, mom...) and I have never really liked toilets, anyway, so knowing that there are rats running around really won't help encourage a love affair with the kitchen or bathroom.

Pity, really. I was barely beginning to feel comfortable in the area of the house with plumbing, now that it is virtually a cockroach-free zone.

There's definitely a rat living in our ceiling. It's been merely hypothetical for a few weeks, but now it is fact.

When I first started hearing noises, Andrew thought I was crazy.

*Scratch, scratch, scratch!* I'd hear, and then shudder.

"Andrew, there's something on the roof," I'd say.

"We don't have a roof," he'd say.

Touché! We live, not on the ground floor but, on the first floor of a soon-to-be four storey apartment building so we really don't have a roof.

*Scratch, scratch* I'd hear again.

"Well, then there's someone on our balcony!"

"No, there's not," he'd say soothingly, "It's too covered in junk!"

Again, good point.

"Well, then there's something on our balcony!" I'd mutter under my breath.

*Scratch, scratch* I'd hear again.

"Andrew, seriously, come listen to this!" I'd holler.

Eventually I got him to come and listen and he heard the scratching noise, too, thereby proving my sanity.

So we've spent the last few weeks listening to this thing scamper around above our heads and occasionally breaking out the broom to hit the ceiling, just for kicks. But there's definitely a rat living in our ceiling.

I saw it today.

I was playing with Rachel...or looking up bread recipes online...probably a bit of both. That's how I get everything done. Play with Rachel. Pause. Research, type. Pause. Play with Rachel. Pause. Work, work. Pause. Play with Rachel. Pause. Clean, clean. Pause. Play with Rachel. Pause.

My day is filled with a lot of playing with Rachel. I only ever not-play with Rachel in microbursts of freedom.

So, there I was, playing with Rachel/looking up bread recipes online when I heard the sound of little feet. They were a-scurryin'. They were a-scamperin'. They were a-certainly right on my window sill!

Usually when I hear those scratching noises they're already in the ceiling. Today they weren't. They were on the window sill. So I looked up and saw a rat running across the ledge. A few seconds later he disappeared and then I heard those scratching noises in my ceiling.

There is no doubt in my mind that a rat is living in my ceiling. Our windows are frosted so we can't actually see what's outside, unless that thing is plastered to the window, and then we can see just fine. Kind of like how you can completely make out the gecko we saw on our window back in September.

So I could see his big, fat, brown body; his wee beady eyes; and his plump, pink tail. Definitely more of an Emile than a Remy. He was huge as far as rats go--of course, I don't actually know how big a rat has to be to be considered huge, but in my books this guy was big. I'd guess about 10 pounds.

Rachel and I went outside to see if we could see how he was getting into our ceiling. We were stalked by several baladi cats on our way. I kept having to stomp my feet to shoo them away, but they kept coming back and stalking around our feet. I don't know what their problem was today. Usually they leave people alone. Maybe they were trying to warn us about a R.O.U.S. on the loose.

Truthfully, I didn't think we'd ever have a rat problem here because of all the cats around. But apparently I was wrong. It's not the first time and it won't be the last.

Anyway, when Rachel and I examined the rat entrance, at least the best we could from the ground, we noticed that it isn't just a little hole. No...there's a huge gap in the side of the apartment building leading right into our ceiling. Oh, happy day.

Does anyone know how to kill a rat?


  1. Checking around for some a lynx would kill one, a dog can kill one, but you're a little scared of them, broom and constant beatings, boil a hot dog and put it in a metal rat cage, boiling them....

    hopefully you've found these to be very useful.

  2. My friend Doug suggested to Andrew on Facebook,

    "Make its heart, brain, or lungs stop working. That should about do it."

  3. ooh... just thought you get some of that purple gas everyone has been trying to kidnap me with and use that...........

  4. @Kelli--What?

    Further explanation requested. :)

  5. ahhh...have you not been kidnapped yet???????????

  6. It's an application on Facebook......

  7. A 10-pound rat is smaller than a cat, eh? ;) You must have some pretty massive cats in your repertoire.
    I'd suggest investing in rat poison, but the trouble with killing the rat is that it'll probably be better to do it up front and personal than remotely - cause when he starts rotting, how are you going to get him out of the ceiling then? And he'll smell up the house nicely.

  8. E-E-W-W! Cute domestic rats in a cage-- that's one thing. Enormous, fat, smelly, germy, gross rat in the ceiling-- that's something else. YUCK. I wish I had some kind of help to offer in killing it, but all I can say is good luck!

  9. SO, uh, I was just being mean and spiteful when I suggested a rat because you live somewhere nice and warm and I live in Alberta.
    (plus, I thought that a little more likely than a cat but hey? who am I?)
    So who knew... weird... gross... weird... arsenic can kill a rat don't you have some of that lying around.
    Oh funny kinda story.
    Ok not really funny but odd that I know this story.
    I can't even remember who told it to me but his brother and roomate were poisoned by their other roommate who had like some mental issues (obviously) but ones that made him slower than others.
    Anyhow, somehow they made him angry and so he was slowly poisoning them with rat poison.
    (Oh good idea, buy rat poison)
    Anyhow the one guy went to the hospital because he'd been sick for awhile and they ran tests on him and found he was being poisoned. They brought the other roommate in who had been sick and he was being poisoned too.
    The one roommate nada.
    He had been adamant about keeping his food separate from theirs.
    When the police did a scope of the apartment, they found rat poison all over the apartment, on their toothbrushes, hairbrushes, everywhere the two roommates were.
    Billy just came home, it was him telling me this story and it happened to an excavator that they work with and his roommate.

  10. Oh, Billy says get a Jack Russell, they're varmint killing dogs. That's what they're initially bred for. Killing things that are too big for cats to kill. Plus, they're little like a cat but friendlier to humans than a cat. Billy said those cats in your neighborhood wouldn't go near the rat because rats are mean (keep Rachel AWAY from the rat.)Anyhow. I say Get the dog. It's eco friendly and a nicer way to kill the rat because then you're feeding the dog too.
    Yes let nature take care of nature.

  11. Oh, if all else fails, soak a piece of cheese in antifreeze. (Note, keep Rachel away from the antifreeze soaked cheese.)
    I still say get a dog. I never knew I liked dogs until I got one. Now I love him! Even if he does eat my shoes, but I don't have rats...

  12. I'm no expert on rats, but Charles was trying to catch a pesky Racoon. He used hotdogs, but only managed to catch cats. This went on for over a week. Watching Over The Hedge one day, he noticed that the Racoon really liked Twinkies, so he walked to the gas station, bought a twinkie and left that in the cage over night. The next morning, he had a racoon. Might work on a rat. Do they have twinkies in Egypt?

  13. Abra, that story about the roommates is creepy!

    I'm kind of worried about killing the cats around here, too...there are so many of them! So we might have to try the twinkie thing.

    Although I don't think they have twinkies here. Or Antifreeze. Or Jack Russlls.

    Keep brainstorming, people!

  14. You don't want to poison it because it will get into the ceiling, die, and stink. You'd have to find a metal cage (wood cages will just be a snack to the big rat) and like suggested find out what it likes (hot dog, twinkies, bread, whatever, you might even try the Piped Piper trick) Then throw the whole thing cage and all into the river. I would suggest getting a .22, but I don't think they would allow that. Find someone walking around with a rifle and see if they would like some target practice. Or come to terms with the rat and make friends with it, just keep it away from my grand-daughter!!
    Love ya!:)

  15. I just pictured myself throwing a rat cage into the Nile. I looked so happy...

  16. Auntie Arlene's family did the whole target practice thing with their rats, remember? But what was most effective was cleaning up G & G L's yard...what is the food source for the rat. And is it only one rat? Because if there are two...they multiply.

  17. I think it's only one rat. I hope it's only one rat. From what I can tell there is only one set of feet, and I've only ever seen one--kind of a Templeton loner rat.

    I'm not sure what we could do to clean up the area since there isn't really a trash collection system here and the garbage just piles up in the street.

    The rat seems to go out every day and come in at night.

    Good thing he can't get in our house. :)

  18. @David--And that's one of the reasons I like Over the Hedge so much. It's very educational. :)

  19. Apparently the rat thing is normal now that the "cold weather" is here. Everyone seems to have rats. One of Andrew's classmates had a rat in their kitchen, under their stove. They had to chase it around and kill it with a broom.

    We're lucky that the rat only lives in the ceiling and, as far as we know, has no access to the inside of our apartment.