Unless you are terribly allergic, I recommend having a cat around. A cat like ours, that is. She spends most of her time outside and visits us inside every once in a while for an hour or so. She eats in the garage and at night she is locked inside the garage, unless she fails to return from her meanderings before the door is shut for the night. The three dogs don't mind her at all, in fact, they are afraid of her.
The only thing I would like to see different about our Kneadermeier is I wish she were a bit more and better of a huntress. On occasion she's brought us the odd gopher or bird, and even a mouse. I could do without the bird "gifts" but I would love to see more dead gophers or rats.
This neighborhood isn't exactly "plagued" with rats, but we do have our share of roof rats. Unless you are looking out for them you would probably never see them. The most I've ever seen of the rats is once at dusk when I was watching the cow give birth the rats were running on the cable wires up above. And then there are the tell tale signs in the garage where I keep all the feed and tack. But then I haven't seen much of that lately either because of the traps we put out.
My husband went out to make sure Kneadermeier had food and water and shut the garage door for the night. The following is what he encountered.
Kneadermeier apparently "treed" (broomed??) the baby rat.
We put the broom down and both rat and cat scampered around the corner where we heard a bunch of rustling noises in the oleander.
The rat made good on its escape. I think it was more afraid than Kneadermeier was enthusiastic. I'm pretty sure she made her point.
I think I know one rat that will more than likely look for a safer spot to hang out.