An urban myth which turned out to be true - the night I found a rat in my toilet!

I thought that tales of snakes, crocodiles and vermin emerging from your toilet to bite you on the bum were an urban myth, or the sort of thing that happened in red-neck country far far away from the Home Counties.....

I was wrong.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then  I will begin to scare the cr*p out of you. Which is appropriate really since this story is based around true events in my downstairs loo.

I was fast asleep, tucked up nice and warm when I heard a crash from downstairs. As I always do I had shut our two kittens and older cat in the kitchen where they have food, water, comfy cushions to shed hair on and a cat flap to the exciting great outdoors.

I reasonably assumed the little buggers had been hurtling round the kitchen and had knocked something over. I cursed and went back to sleep.

Another crash. "Bloody cats" I grumbled and headed downstairs to check it wasn't my Denby being shattered.

At the bottom of the stairs I stopped. In the downstairs loo I could hear splishing and splashing and sploshing.

Now my kittens are obsessed with the toilet and will play in it, drink the water from it and leave muddy footprints on the seat. Nice. But the kittens were in the kitchen weren't they? The splashing continued so in my sleepy state I decided one must have been let out by a nocturnal kitchen (fridge!) visitor and was now drowning in the loo.

I opened the door and reached for my kitten - which was not in fact a cute kitten but a big brown rat! Argh!

I slammed the door shut and woke my husband who came downstairs, naked, and there we stood listening to the rat demonstrating its synchronised swimming skills. What should we do? I googled it. "what to do if there's a rat in your toilet."

LOTS of entries, mostly instructing the reader to simply flush it. Another site advised squirting washing up liquid into the toilet to degrease the rat (urgh!) and break the surface tension of the water to aid flushing. Seemed scientific so hubby padded off to arm himself with washing up liquid and a broom. For rat bashing purposes.

He was about to open the door......
STOP! I yelled.

"Put some shoes on."

And bless him, he's so used to doing what I tell him,  he did. So there's my brave husband with his broom and washing up liquid wearing nothing but a pair of Croc-style shoes. Well, as he put it, I've had 7 children and have gone through the menopause so have no need for anything higher than his feet really.

He opened the door - the splashing had stopped. No sign of a rat anywhere just a wet toilet seat and a knocked over lantern on the top of the cistern.

DH quickly squirted washing up liquid down the loo, flicked the lid down with the broom and flushed. And flushed and flushed. And then we flushed some more.

We have a new rule in our house now. Plenty of daily bleach, and you ALWAYS put the lid down when you've used the toilet. Oddly my friends who have heard this story seem much better at controlling their bladders than they used to - on the whole they save their toilet visits for their own homes.

But are you safe there? One thing I have always been good at is keeping the toilet clean - with this many people in the house it really needs daily if not twice daily cleaning. I have no idea why the rat braved the U-bend but am assured by the internet that it is highly unlikely to happen again.

Byt my advice garnered from the wisdom of the WWW would be - use plenty of bleach. Don't flush food down there (why would you?) and keep the lid shut at all times. Oh and check before you sit!

PS: My lovely husband says if enough people ask he will pose for a picture dressed exactly as he was on the night in questions - come on folks you KNOW you want to see that! comment below with the hashtag #nakedratcatcher

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