Can rats kill cats?

Can rats kill domestic cats? It seems that New York City’s rats can according to a Bronx woman, Taleetha Stelight. She said that there is a rat problem in her apartment. She moved into 1898 Harrison Avenue five years ago and has encountered multiple problems.

Mad rat sitting in an armchair smoking a cigar looking distinctly confident and unconcerned about cats
Mad rat sitting in an armchair smoking a cigar looking distinctly confident and unconcerned about cats. Click it for a larger image. Image by DALL-E.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Lately she’s had a rat infestation problem she said. She claimed that she woke up in the night to see her 10-month-old cat fighting with a large rat.

The rat killed her cat in the fight according to Stelight. She said:

“My cat is in this urn because she tried to fight a rat. She had to be cremated because they killed her.”

Stelight added that she worries now when she is at work. She’s concerned that her cats will fight rats and lose.

The management company have blocked some holes but without success. She is suing her landlord, Bronx Pro Group LLC. They say that they have received 311 complaints from Stelight! They’ve responded to them they say. They have ‘ordered extermination for the affected apartment’.

I hope they are referring to the rats. My thanks to News 12 The Bronx.

Seriously though, some rats are very large and they are said to be formidable fighters. Plenty of courage. I’ve seen small mice stand up on their hind legs and scream at my cat to defend themselves. Great courage again.

I believe that the lady is telling the truth. Domestic cats in general are not that happy trying to attack an adult rat of decent size. They might deter their presence but when called upon to attack a lot of cats won’t.

Perhaps cats have softened up over the years as Dr Morris in his book Cat Watching refers to the world champion ratter, a female tabby who plied her rat killing trade at the White City Stadium in London, UK. I don’t have a date but it was probably in the 1950s. Over 6 years the cat caught no fewer than 12,480 rats. This works out at 5-6 per day.

Perhaps the rats were smaller then!? Modern cats are more pampered and perhaps less efficient fighters. The White City tabby must have been an outdoor domesticated, working cat and well-tuned up to catch and kill rats.

It is ironic that the domestication of the cat around 10,000 years ago was dependent on the cat being a good ratter. And now look! The tables are turned. Although the first domestic cats were bigger than today’s moggies as they were tamed wildcats. They were also better hunters and more aggressive.

Ten thousand years of pampering by humans has left some cats unable to stand up to a rat. In fact, in the story the rat becomes a predator of the domestic cat.

The general consensus is that rats can’t kill cats. But I think that it is plausible to presume that occasionally it does happen as evidenced by Taleetha Stelight.

Rats can be far more aggressive and courageous than modern domestic cats

Can Cats Get Rid of Rats?

What is the hunting success rate of feral cats?

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

3 thoughts on “Can rats kill cats?”

  1. My cats are indoor outdoor but I live on a dead end dirt road far from the main road. Every spring and fall my cats kill a variety of mice, pack rats, moles and rats of all sizes. But all are adults and most are larger then other cats, plus I have 3 ferals. When I see 3 or more in a circle I know they have something cornered. I don’t scold them but I do give the poor critter a chance to get away. Knock on wood I’ve only had one rat in my house and it was brought in thru the cat door. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Different world to mine and a better one from the cats’ perspective. I live in a more urban environment. My cat brought in a dead rat. He did not eat it thank God as it was poisoned by my neighbour. I have not spoken to her since.

  2. We don’t know how large were both the cat and the rat. Consider also that the cat was 10 month old. Not exactly the most experienced. There’s a lot of outdoors cats around this area I live in, which is right next to a bayou, no less, with rats of all sizes around, including quite large ones. Rest assured that it is invariably the cats who constantly hunt down the rats, definitely not the other way around. If it wasn’t for them, the whole neighborhood would be infested with rats and mice. Outdoors & feral cats are most welcome around here. They keep rats & mice in check.

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