Nigerian leader advises citizens to adopt a cat to ward off Lassa fever
The emir of Potiskum, Yobe State, Nigeria, whose name is Alhaji Bubaram Ibn Wuriwa Bauya, wants the citizens of Potiskum to adopt a domestic cat or cats to keep rats at bay.
Infected Mastomys rats contaminate food and household items with urine or faeces. This transmits the disease to people, which is endemic in parts of West Africa including in Nigeria.
The emir said:
When I first occupied this palace, it was full of rats and lizards everywhere but my wife advised me to keep domestic cats in the house. Presently, if you see rats or lizards in this palace, they are coming from the neighbouring houses…
Well, he still gets rats in his home but there are probably less of them with cats in the house. The emir expressed his desire that people get a cat at a committee meeting headed by the Commissioner of Home Affairs, Information and Culture in the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego. The committee was discussing measures to make citizens more aware of Lassa fever in the state.
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Comment: the presence of cats deters rats to a degree. Some cats will attack rats while others are less keen. Cat haters say that domestic cats are no good at rat catching. That’s untrue as a generalisation. It depends on the cat. People should look for a confident cat who was raised from feral as a more likely candidate who enjoys hunting rats.
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