The Most Deadly Demon-Hunter

The common housecat is one of the most heavily armed predators in the animal kingdom in relation to its size. Cats stick to prey in the mouse-to-rat size category due to physical limitations, not preference; and some cats have been known to try for much, much larger prey. As in whitetail deer size. With what proportion of success, unknown. But still, they try.

Which means if I were a demon-hunter in an environment where animals might turn into monsters (at least, if I could come up with a rabies-vaccine type of equivalent for my own critters), I’d want a local cat prowling around.

Because if you think demon tigers are bad, think about demon rats.

Rats are smart. Rats are poison-resistant. Rats form into swarms that will force weak members of the swarm to be taste-testers, if they suspect poison bait – and if it proves deadly, then all the rest of the swarm will avoid that food. And rats. Breed. Explosively.

(Look up Mautam on Wikipedia. There’s also been some Nature-type specials on bamboo fruiting and rat swarms. Warning, thinking about this seriously can be Nightmare Fuel.)

If you’re a demon-hunter who wants to keep from being overrun by demon rats, you need an early-warning system. And cats tend to bring back presents. So if you find part of a rodent dropped on your pillow and it looks… wrong, or worse, if the cat vanishes and you can’t track down even a bit of fur with a finding spell-

Then it’s time to start hunting. Before things get Very, Very Bad.

38 thoughts on “The Most Deadly Demon-Hunter

  1. Demon rats. Thank you for that. Now I’m going to have nightmares and I haven’t even looked any of that up… yet.


    Roaches can be just as bad if not worse…

    …Now you’ve got me thinking about Demon Insects. You could look up the Eagle Flies (huge cousins of the Dragonfly) and Arthroplura, the largest millipede to ever live…

    Because, yes, I can see magic bringing the Carboniferous Period-sized arthropods back. They run on magic, not oxygen now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Alternatively if you can’t find a cat try a ferret. My friend who owns a few of them had one mouse and then only for a short time before she was presented with the pieces😣 Also they can fit through gaps even a cat might have trouble with, there’s one video I saw of an electrician attaching cable to a ferrets harness to have him run through underground pipes.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. :points at comment below: I’ve had the nightmare fuel for a while, and giant/demon insects are another favorite of mine. Everyone focuses on spiders, but how would you like to face a giant centipede? (My answer, of course, is: “NEVER IN MY LIFE” but my poor characters are not so fortunate.)

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Many of the weenie dogs and terriers are exceptional ratters. Especially since they don’t really want to eat what they kill, generally, they can express a lot of their pure killpower. Heaps of dead rats.

      OTOH, it’s dangerous for them, because they go into narrow holes and burrows, and they don’t have a size advantage.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There’s known reports of African Crowned Eagles hunting small children in Africa! If they’re too big to carry off, they’ll dismember the prey and carry it off in pieces, then put the severed limbs in trees that Leopards can’t reach… As in, one report was an Eagle killing a 7 year old, that weighed 44lbs. There’s a reason why the Taung Child is such an important fossil.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep, every so often there are verified reports of raptors carrying off small children or small sheep. Usually not successfully, because they’re weighed down… usually.

        People don’t like to think about these rare cases.

        OTOH, just because one philosopher got killed by a tortoise being dropped on his head by a raptor, that doesn’t mean that every philosopher needs a helmet. (Well, okay, Aquinas did, but that was a horseback/tree limb issue.)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The point is that they vanish quite thoroughly that way. A woman who used scent dogs to track her missing cat concluded that raptor was the most likely.


  2. I’ve seen cats bring back a wide variety of prey. A Siamese I knew went after garter snakes. A mourning dove dead by a another. One cat liked to place rabbit’s feet on the back porch. My current cat prefers smaller prey, like shrews, voles, mice, and even a sparrow! I’ve seen evidence of cats taking down rats! Not sure who killed it though, just found the body.

    You also need to check the cats regularly, if the prey is bad, then they can get sick form it! Or, if there’s something changing the prey, then they can get it from said prey and change themselves….

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I think it just might be scarier if its your cat taht becomes demon, rather then the rats – because as stated above, they are quite the killing machines, relative to their size

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I’ve even developed a test for what kind of prey a cat prefers. All you need is a piece of string. Move it along the ground, and they prefer smaller terrestrial prey. Have it hover slightly above the ground, and they’ll go after birds. Have it hop, and they’ll prefer rabbits. Whichever movement gets the most interest is what kind of prey they’ll prefer.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Elizabeth Winthrop introduced me to rat swarms in The Battle for the Castle. I have never, ever thought of rats as cute, cuddly, friendly, or “nice” since reading that book. And yes, rats make for great story monsters for their capacity to swarm, the fact that they are disease carriers, and they *breed like rats.* Bleh.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. To be fair, I know somebody who has pet rats descended from a lab rat line. Clean, well-trained, obedient, and smart. I’ve heard the same about pet-line mice.

      But yeah, not a pet for everyone.

      And mice as pests are scary, but rats are scarier.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. We have four cats, and I am so glad they never got into the habit of leaving their dead prey on my pillow. Dropping a *live* mouse onto the bed while I was in it once, yes, but that’s a very different story. On the other hand, we have gotten used to the occasional ‘is that small soft thing under my foot a dead mouse?’ feeling.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My parents’ cat brought in rabbits occasionally. He found a nest of them once, and brought back 7 or 8 half-grown kits. He also caught grouse, which are themselves nearly cat-sized, but apparently fairly stupid.

      He’d also go after things they didn’t want him to kill, of course, like the tiny little yellow-bellied martins. The mice dug into the insulation of their trailer, and the martins would follow the mice in and kill them, since the mice are their primary prey. Pity that compared to the cat, the martins themselves were perfectly prey-sized.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Huskies will also go after mice, in my experience. I knew a Husky that was found with a wet mouse, and another mixed breed that I’m very certain also has Husky was found with a dead mouse. The purebred Husky lived in a house with no cats. Spitz are very catlike canines.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Do not Google “Mouse plague Australia “. It’s a sporadic problem there; droughts/bushfires kill off mice and mouse predators alike, but the mouse population bounces back much faster. A true nightmare ensues as the swarms of mice become tidal waves.

    I had a rescue greyhound staying with me for a few months; she caught and killed one (exceptionally stupid) mouse, which surprised me; I’m accustomed to Jack Russell terriers prey drive, but didn’t think a greyhound would go for something that small.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup. Sighthounds and all dogs have their predator switches, even if they don’t hurt the prey once found and caught.

        Our sweetest tempered dog was wired to snap prey necks by whipping things around. For some reason this was not triggered by actual rabbits or squirrels (probably because they stayed far away), but was triggered consistently by offering the dog bandanas or fake-fur rectangles.

        Oh, the bandana carnage! About three minutes of fun, if that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Was your dog a terrier of some kid? That’s a very terrier move.
        Jack Russell terriers are notoriously destructive of vermin and toys alike – in fact, my mothers senior Jack Russell, who was ten when she was adopted, slew a rat on her second day home with that shaking movement.
        I’ve never seen a dog look more pleased with herself.
        I wasn’t surprised that Socks chased the mouse; I was surprised she caught it- it was indoors at the time, and she’s a bit clumsy about the house, a side affect of both being constructed largely of elbows and also being a racing greyhound before rescue- she’d only lived in kennels, so she found non concrete spaces harder to manoeuvre in.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is a terrier move, but I can also confirm it is a “generalized dog kill move”, given I’ve seen everything from a bloodhound to a Catahoula use it. (The bloodhound, not often. The Catahoula, oh boy yes.)


      4. Yup. Irish wolfhounds love that move, especially since they have big thick snakey necks. It is also good for discovering food in boxes left unattended.

        Their other favorite moves are “knock over and roll other dog onto its back with shoulder”, which is good for making a point, and “reach over further than you should be able”, and “jump up and pull things down,” which are good for grabbing stuff they are not supposed to have.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve met Irish Wolfhounds and they are lovable dogs. The best trained Irish wolfhounds I’ve met would come and lay their heads on your lap. They would look so sad that they couldn’t get more of themselves in place to be petted but just the head was bigger than a small poodle.
    An Irish wolfhound is tall enough that its comfortable eating off a kitchen counter much less a table.


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