Image: AP

A rat nap isn’t really like a cat nap. It much more closely resembles sleeping with the fishes.

Gothamist reported on Tuesday that an image of a New York City rat seemingly slumbering inside a shoe on the sidewalk—thought for a brief time to be the next Pizza Rat due to the way it was “climbing the ranks on Reddit”—is not what it appears to be. In fact, the rat is entombed in a sneaker sepulcher.

Gothamist even got an eye-witness confirmation, the original photographer of the meme, Moshe Bildner, who says, “I saw something furry in the pile of garbage and looked down wondering if someone had thrown away something fancy; it was a rat in a shoe.” Bildner went on, “The rat was already there and did not move the whole time I was there. The rat was for sure dead.”

Of course that doesn’t explain why the rat was in the shoe. It’s not a normal position for a rat to be in, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some bystander with rubber gloves on intervened. I would not be surprised if the bystander had no rubber gloves handy.

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I write this all as more of a jaded New Yorker than an animal lover, which I also am. When I spy a crack in the pavement I expect plump, disease-ridden rodents to pop out. That’s not a value judgement.