He thought it’d be a purrrr-fict idea.
Herb Wesson, the president of Los Angeles’ City Council, suggested deploying an “army of cats” to fight City Hall’s rodent problem but was told Friday that adding cats to the equation would likely only worsen the issue.
Anyone who’s ever seen Tom and Jerry knows that cats can be lethal to smaller prey, even though a recent study suggested otherwise. But the idea seems to have even less of a chance of implementation due to city health officials said cats would help spread fleas in the 91-year-old building and its City Hall East annex.
“The fleas from the rat would immediately jump onto the cat,” Dr. Dawn Terashita, an associate director at the city’s Department of Public Health, told The Los Angeles Times.
Downtown Los Angeles is in the midst of a typhus outbreak, according to health officials, with several homeless people who live near City Hall among those afflicted. It flourishes in unsanitary conditions and is often spread by infected fleas hitching rides on rats. It is rarely fatal when treated quickly with antibiotics but epidemics killed thousands in the Middle Ages.
The paper reported that at least two city employees say they were bitten by fleas. Eric Garcetti, the mayor, said the health risks are minimal.
“It’s been rats since I’ve been there,” Garcetti told the paper. “[There is] one case that may or may not have come from there, but that still is in the normal range of what we have each year.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report