is Keela and I’m a two-year old domestic rat.
I live in
New Jersey with my adoptive
mom and dad, my sister Bridget and 14 children.
Every evening my family comes out to play in a kiddie pool in the
living room (minus the water, of course!), during which time I get a bit
of exercise myself by taking a walk around the house.
When I’m finished with that I like to sit on the couch with Mom and
watch TV. And, it used to be that
your show (as well as Mr. Ferguson’s that follows) was one of our
favorites…emphasis on used to be
(well – Mr. Ferguson’s still is).
came the story about those rats in Taco
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m
a civilized being who understands animals don’t belong in restaurants.
However, that statement takes into conside-rat-ion that
no animal is allowed… that is,
it’s no more a place for dogs or cats than it is rats.
And, it’s highly unfair that just because some careless hu-man (or
hu-woman) didn’t take proper care of the place makes the poor rats the bad
guys. They were just hungry...and
if you understood how very much my species
loves food, you might realize
how ir-rat-sistable the temptation to walk through an open door out of
which are wafting the savory smells of cinnamon twists and caramel apple
empanadas! (Oh, what
yummy thoughts – sorry, like I
said, we do love food!)
scamper back to my point, though, I know very well how abhorrent many hu-people
find us, and I’ve come to expect a few days of bad (and even exaggeratedly
unfair) press when some of my wild counterparts get caught with their
hands in the cookie jar. But, even
most criminals get a trial and eventually the story of what they did
becomes old news. And, I think it
fair to note, by the way – these rats didn’t actually hurt anyone (your
own health inspector said rats “were not associated with illness in
New York City” – I’ve enclosed
the article so you can see for yourself).
Still I can’t bear to think about what probably happened to
What’s more, like I said, the rats aren’t the ones who really
messed up here in the first place.
Where were all the jokes about those Taco
matter aside, the thing that really got under my fur is the fact the Taco
incident wasn't an "incident" at all to you. It was an excuse to start a
streak of verbal rat attacks I suspect is far from over. And, my mom and
I tried so hard to be understanding and sit through these in
silence for the longest time – after all, we do try to be patient with hu-people’s
– or in this case one hu-man’s (stubbornly intentional) ignorance about my
species. But you just keep going and going and going like that other type
of rodent with the batteries…you know one of those other “r” creatures
people think “r” so “cute”. And, I’m sure I’m not the only rat sitting on
a couch with his or her mom or dad watching your show in dismay as you
perpetuate long held myths about our evils (no, we didn’t carry Bubonic
plague, by the way – fleas plaguing our ancestors did). The thing is, I’d
be willing to bet a lot of them want to tell you how they feel just
like I do – but since we rats don’t have thumbs it’s very hard to hold a
pencil (not to mention they’ve been treated this way so long they may not
think their little squeaks might make a difference). Well, that’s why
I’ve decided it’s my place to squeak for them.
see, I have an advantage in that I’ve been a rat writer for quite some
time…a calling I inherited when my older (not to mention very wise and
spunky) neighbor Molly passed away a while back. My mom has a monthly
newsletter in which this great rat matriarch started a column called
“Molly Madvises”…which is kind of like a rodent version of “Dear Abby” in
that it answers real letters from readers. Well, for the last year I’ve
been the “madvice” giver, so I’ve got a bit of experience at this point in
dealing with tough issues. And, since my mom can type I dictate all my
thoughts to her; then she puts them down for hu-people to read. More
recently, I’ve expanded into writing reviews as well – which began when
that most rat-astic film Ratatouille came out last year. I now
have a web page of these rodent-opinion pieces linked to The Rat Fan
Club website (an organization started by pet rat authority Debbie
Ducommun – a.k.a. The Rat Lady – more than 15 years ago). I’ve also begun
being published in a great monthly newsletter called It’s a Rat’s World
– the December issue of which, incidentally, featured an editorial by a
rat owner complaining about the very issue I’m writing about today – YOU!
said, I’ve enclosed a petition signed by my family as well as many rodent
friends and neighbors who share my thoughts. I’ve also included a couple
samples of my column and a recent book review.
this up, then, I just want to add that I’ve always heard on your show
about “The CBS Mailbag” and that comments from viewers are welcome. I’m
therefore hoping that, despite your track record as discussed above,
you’ll indeed consider the comments of one audience member -- even if I’m
not quite “typical” in that regard.
you for your conside-rat-ion of my letter. And, I do very much hope your
show might once more join Mr. Ferguson’s as a favo-rat again very soon.