Study: Cats only partially help against rats

Cats are only partially helpful in the fight against rats. The report US researchers after a study in New York. In it, the team watched for several months with video cameras a rat colony, in the vicinity regularly feral cats came.

The hunters killed only two rats within 79 days of fatalities, according to researchers from Fordham University in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. On those days, up to three cats were each in the immediate vicinity of the 120 to 150 rats. If cats had been present on the spot, significantly fewer rats were seen on the following day.

The study was paid by an association of pest controllers. But the zoologist Hermann Ansorge from the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History in Gorlitz, who was not involved in the study, shares the researchers’ assessment in principle: “If you want to use a cat against rats at home, you must have a very hunting-willing animal.” Cats As a precautionary measure, they decided not to hunt the rodents if easier prey was available.

The researchers also suggest that the average 330 gram rat weasels are not the preferred prey of cats, which usually hunt significantly lighter birds and mice. According to the authors, certain requirements have to be met before a cat kills a large rat: “The cat must be hungry, can not have a less risky food source, and usually has to surprise the rat,” says co-author Michael Deutsch, who works for a pest control company ,

Michael Fehr from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover also believes that a full-grown rat can be too big for a cat. “This is different with smaller young rats. These are, in addition to mice, other small mammals and birds occasionally captured by cats with appropriate fishing experience, “said the scientists also not involved in the study.

Pesticides often use poison against rats. The Berliner Wasserbetriebe also use other means to kill the unwanted guests in the sewers. These include, for example, falling traps that break the rat’s neck with a bolt. Those who prefer to use natural remedies for rats, according to the Gorlitz expert Ansorge can also resort to larger animals. “Certain dog breeds like terriers are good rat hunters,” says the zoologist.