the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

We never thought we'd want a cat!

Paul & I have always been dog people, but recent events have made us seriously consider our preconceived notions regarding the appeal of the common cat...

We've known for some months that we had a rat sharing our village home with us. Although the thought of rats is rather unsettling, we've gotten used to sharing our dwelling with a multitude of little creatures... geckos, spiders even the occasional chicken. So it was not too much of a stretch to simply accept that he was there. At nights we could hear him scurrying through the rafters, but unless we left food readily accessible, he didn't seem to be too much of a bother.

Little did we know that "he" was really a "she" and she was pregnant with a litter of baby rats...

About two weeks ago we left the village to spend a week at the Foursquare Thailand National convention in the southern part of Thailand. As usual, we piled all our belongings (bed mats, pillows, and a few plastic bins of food, books & clothes) on the bamboo platform in our room & covered it with a tarp to keep the dust off.

It seems that the common English phrase "nesting tendency" which is so often used of pregnant women is also applicable (in a more literal sense) to pregnant rats. When we returned from our travels, we found that Mama Rat had decided that our tarp covered pile was the perfect place to set up home. She had chewed gaping holes in our bed mats and created a snug nest amount the inner stuffing of our beds. She sampled nearly every thing we had. Luckily most everything was in plastic storage boxes, so although our boxes are now scarred with tiny teeth marks, there was not too much damage.

Unfortunately, there was one thing which was not in a plastic box. One of our favorite snacks in the village is chocolate milk. Here in Thailand you can buy shelf-ready milk called UHT which comes in boxes (like juice-boxes in America), and we had a large box of 48 milks under that tarp. As it turns out, chocolate milk is also a favorite snack of rats. The rat chewed a hole in the top of the outer box, and then proceeded to chew holes in nearly every individual box of milk! Needless to say, by the time we found it, it was a horrid stinking mess of rotten milk, maggots & rat droppings! YUCK!

Obviously, it was a pretty tough evening. But we didn't realize what an emotional expenditure we had made until the next morning when we both woke up feeling like we had been hit by a bus! After everything, we've decided that we need a cat!


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