RODENTS DRIVE CAT TO SUICIDE Phosphorescent Cuban Rats Scare the Schooner Venturer’s Tabby Into Insanity
SPECIAL DISPATCH TO THE CALL NEW YORK, April 15. – Pedro, the Singalese cat of the two – master Venturer, which arrived in port today after an eventful trip of 22 days from the south coast of Cuba, met a tragic death at sea three days after the trim little British schooner had cleared away from Santa Cruz.
Captain Burns, assisted by Mate Chandler, told the story of the Venturer’s voyage. “We left Santa Cruz with a cargo of mahogany.’ Said the skipper. “Two years ago Chandler got a big black cat named Pedro, that was as big as a small sized water spaniel, did not mind a dip into the water and was a good “ratter.”
On the last trip south, when we got through the straits, we found there were the biggest rats aboard that Chandler or I had ever seen. They walked right around Pedro in broad daylight. At night, when he was sitting around these blamed rats would race around the decks and give out streaks that looked like green lightning.
The moment Pedro sighted any of them at night he would make for safety and squat right on the mess table with Sam, the cook. He was not himself at all after the green lightning began playing around the deck after dark.
“We tried to clear out the rats, which the Cubans told us, were the phosphorous rats of Cuba, when we to to Santa Cruz; but the pesky rodents ate up the sulphur, and ordinary rat poison simply made them fatter and greener at night. Pedro was losing flesh all the while the rats were gaining.
“On the night of March 24 a thunderstorm came up and the electricity seemed to make the rats more phosphorescent than ever. Pedro went mad that night. Instead of meowing he squealed like the rats did and his run was like’em too.
“Suddenly Pedro jumped over the lee rail. Even in his delirium he had sense enough to pick out the schooner’s lee for his grave.”
“Bill Snyder of the Central Park Zoo, who was a sailor in southern waters, said he had heard of the phosphorous rats in Cuba. The natives would catch them inn traps and set the traps in places to act as landmarks at night, Snyder declared today.