How to get rid of rats without killing them or other animals?

Okay so I have a bird feeder outside for the birds and occasionally our pet squirrel. Just tonight though I noticed a long thick tail sticking out of our fence and I stared for a moment and one by one in a line 5 rats came out of my fence and started eating the bird food on the ground! I've heard mothballs... show more Okay so I have a bird feeder outside for the birds and occasionally our pet squirrel. Just tonight though I noticed a long thick tail sticking out of our fence and I stared for a moment and one by one in a line 5 rats came out of my fence and started eating the bird food on the ground! I've heard mothballs could help keep mice away but I'm afraid it will keep our squirrel from coming back too. I definitely don't want to kill them because its inhumane and it could kill our squirrel and the feral cats outside! Traps are probably out of the question because by the time we get rid of them, more will probably come in and we might accidentally catch our squirrel. I know it doesn't make any sense for us not to like rats when we have a squirrel but since we know for a fact the squirrel doesn't have any diseases (we have him as a pet that lives outside. does that make sense? Like a cat we let live outside but we feed them and have them get checked on by vets.) and we don't know about the rats we don't want them spreading diseases to our inside pets or us when we let him in or let alone him getting a disease in general! We let him inside occasionally with our cats and they are just fine. They have no problem with each other but if he gets a disease he could very well spread it to our pets and to us. Don't get me wrong, rats are very cute and we have no problem in feeding them but wed just rather not have them here. I know its not very specific with rodent things these days but are there any simple remedies that will drive rats away and not squirrels? Please and thank you.
-Kitty
If not, are there any rat remedies in general?
4 answers 4