If you’d asked me about 5 days ago what my reaction would be to having a rat in my kitchen I would have probably shrugged because it can’t happen when you live on the first floor of a building and even if it did somehow parachute into my home then I’d deal with it. After all, it’s only like a large mouse isn’t it? And I’ve got rid of a mouse before. I’m rock hard where spiders are concerned and I co-exist quite happily with praying mantes so a rat might not be very pleasant but I’d sort it. This was all before we found the bowl of fruit that had little bites taken from each piece (apart from the banana). ‘It’ll be a gecko’ Mr T told me brightly because he’d seen a gecko a couple of days before. I suggested pleasantly that it may be a rat. ‘Oh no’ he assured me that it couldn’t be because we’re on the first floor of a building. One good thing about having a rat in our kitchen is that we now know the answer to how high a rat can climb (very high) and whether or not it can climb smooth surfaces (yes). We’ll storm the rat section of the pub quiz.
This is where having a frozen shoulder worked in my favour because it stopped me from moving the freezer in the corner of my kitchen and instead I waited until Mr T returned from the office. I had decided that this might be where the ‘gecko’ was living. Had I moved that freezer on my own and faced that seven-foot tall rat with a tail like a dragon’s then I’d have been writing this from the after life. As it was once Mr T moved the freezer and I saw it scuttle I ran around the apartment for two hours shrieking ‘it’s a RAT’ at three-second intervals. I am not ashamed of this in the slightest. I then threatened to move to a hotel unless we bricked up the kitchen door. It didn’t help that we had a guest arriving the next day and I went through all the reasons why we should never have to go into the kitchen for the next week without telling our guest the truth.
We laid what we thought was enough poison to make rats extinct in Europe to no avail. It chomped great lumps of the stuff while leaving its calling cards all over the kitchen. We had to clear the kitchen of everything because it had started to gnaw things like wooden spoons and spatulas. Right when I decided that moving house was a realistic option we left the balcony door open for an hour once we went to bed and then we sneaked back into the kitchen and shut the door. This morning there was no trace of a rat and I am never opening the balcony door again while I live here.
Once you’ve had a rat then the things that you imagine might be a rat are many and varied: a piece of paper fluttering to the ground; a dripping tap; a hairbrush; a grape being dropped; a carrier bag touching the bag of your knee are today’s sample. Our kitchen has never been so clean (and realistically probably never will be again) and we’ve eaten out since Wednesday so there’s a silver lining.