The unhinged true story behind the ‘but the rats don’t run this city, we do’ TikTok sound

‘Rats are going to absolutely hate this announcement’

Viral sounds are TikTok’s lifeblood and, lately, the For You Page has been super saturated with one rodent-related audio: “The rats are going to absolutely hate this announcement…but the rats don’t run this city we do.” 

Obv, the sound bite has been memed within an inch of its life since it was uploaded in October and now there are over 23,000 videos using the sound. “When ur uploading a group photo and ur the only one happy with how you look,” wrote one user, @johnjohntoks, of snaking his mates on Instagram. 

Where did the ‘but the rats don’t run this city’, we do sound come from? 

New York City is one of the most rat-infested places in the world and the city’s Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch called a news conference on October 17 to talk about how she was planning to deal with the rat-related chaos.

Before outlining the specifics of her plan, Jessica looked deadpan down the camera to address viewers with a serious statement: “I want to be clear, the rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement,” she said. “But the rats don’t run this city we do.” Thus, a viral sensation was born. 

Jessica then explained New Yorkers would no longer be able to put their bins out at 4pm but would now have to put trash on the curb from no earlier than 8pm. “The biggest swing that you can take in cleaning up our streets is to shut down the all-night, all-you-can-eat rat buffet,” she continued in a similarly poetic fashion. 

There are loads of other New York rat sounds on TikTok, too 

“But the rats don’t run this city we do” is actually just the start of the deranged speeches New York politicians have given about rat-gate. Mayor Eric Adams is famously rat obsessed and scarred a group of journalists for life when showing them his “rat bucket” killing device that drowns them in vinegar type liquid. Horror. 

“Everyone that knows me, they know one thing. I hate rats,” he said in the October press conference. “When we started killing them in Borough Hall, you know, some of the same folks are criticising us now and called me a murderer because I was killing rate. Well, you know what? We’re going to kill rats.” 

Council member Shaun Abreu then piped up with a similarly unhinged contribution to the rat discourse: “We are taking the fight to the rats,” he said. “This is not ‘Ratatouille’. Rats are not our friends.” 

These are the best ‘but the rats don’t run this city’ videos 

There’ve been a LOT of rat-soundtracked TikTok videos born from New York’s dire infestation. And, just in case you’re not totally sick of the sound living rent free in your head already, here is all of the best content users have made with Jessica Tisch’s words of wisdom: 

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