Today has been a day

That’s for God damn sure.

(I swear, I will actually use this for educational purposes at some point, but right now it’s the only place I can vent about things without dealing with my in-laws)

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a bad mental health day where you just want to scream because you’re so damn nervous for no reason, but that’s how I’ve been. After all of that, I walked into the living room to do a quick check on the small ham-hams. When I smelled it, the reason the rats have been wigging out today: the smell of death.

Now, before anyone goes off on a tangent about how “a responsible pet owner would know right away before the smell came,” let me explain to you a thing.

We have two Robo dwarf hamsters: Mr. Squiggles and Dr. Doofinschmertz. They’re teeny tiny little balls of fluff who refuse to be socialized. Like, REFUSE. They’ve been with us for over a year now and I have tried and tried and tried everything I can find/know/try to do. Every single tutorial, blog post, instructional video, article I could find on socializing stubborn hamsters, I’ve tried it. They were in the shop so long without human interaction they just didn’t know how to handle it. So we let them be. No one but me is allowed to put their hands in the cage (they’re drawn blood before) and cage day is always a bitch because I have to stress the poor things out getting them out of their respective cages (Squiggles is an aggressive little shit) and into separate boxes or exercise balls just to scrub them out.

Both are okay with being spoken to, can handle my presence next to the cage, and love to hear someone singing to them. Just no touching. So, that’s what I do. I talk to them. I sing to them. I hang out with them. I just don’t touch them unless I absolutely have to. So, sometimes, I feel like I’m talking to an empty box because they’ve buried themselves beneath the bedding where I can’t see them.

So, no. I had no idea until I went to fiddle with the bedding and try to draw him out so I could see him. I opened the box and I knew. Mr. Squiggles had passed.

Let me tell you a little bit about Mr. Squiggles (Squiggs for short.) He’s was an aggressive shithead. He hated being handled. He hated hands in his cage. He hated toys. And he hated the bars of his original cage. I say that he hated it, but it was really an incredibly advanced state of cage boredom. And, again, I tried. I gave him plenty of toys to play with, a brand new wheel to run on, delicious food to snack on and hoard away from everything else. I soaked his toys in juice, hoping that it would encourage him to play with them. I made little treat puzzles, hoping he would start to figure out that he can chew on the cardboard. But no, he didn’t want any part of that. He couldn’t be left in a metal bar cage. All he wanted to do was chew and chew and chew on the bars. I put vinegar on them to try and discourage that behavior, but that didn’t help at all. So, we made him a brand new, beautiful bin cage. And it was beautiful. It had a big, open floor for him to run around, a brand new disc, plenty of hiding places, and I even built him a jungle gym to climb. And he seemed so happy with his new home, he even started playing with his toys.

I was so glad that finally, this little guy is starting to come around. He still wanted to chew on hands, but that didn’t matter. He was safe, he was happy, and he had a good home.

And now, he’s gone.

I found him at 1AM. I spent the next 30 minutes scrubbing out the bin, hoping to get rid of the smell before my daughter woke up.

And now, I’m sitting here, writing this. Just trying to get it off of my chest.

I don’t like it when I lose a pet, even if I never really got to hold them or be physically close to them. I don’t like having to explain this to my daughter. I don’t like that now, even as I’m writing this, I’m numb to the whole situation. I love that little guy, even though he was a jerk and the cause for several scars on my fingers. I love him.

I’m slowly coming to terms that I will eventually lose all of my beloved babies. Gerald is getting on in age, now. He’s showing plenty of signs of an elderly Syrian. Dr. Doofinschmertz sleeps all the time and I wonder how much longer he has left.

I wonder how many death posts I’ll have to go through.

How many hearts will stop in my home.

How many times mine will break.

My husband says that he’s done with rodents, that he can’t handle the pain. I can’t live in a home without animals.

I don’t know what will happen.

I’m going to go sing to Doof, now.

How was your day?

Wow, it’s been a while

This is what happens when I try to parent and blog at the same time. Parenting always takes priority. But, an awful lot has happened in these past few months. The biggest thing that happened would be that we lost Lucy. So, if you’re interested, I’m going to tell the story of how I got her, as well as how we had to help our two little ones through that mourning period.

I got Lucy in the May of 2015. I adopted her from the PetSmart down the road from my apartment (shut up, I know) and immediately fell in love with her. She was so sweet and wanted so much attention from me I couldn’t bear it. A few days later, I went back and adopted another little girl (Ethel) to keep her company. But Lucy was always my girl.

She was a full blown adult when I got her and I knew it wouldn’t have as long with her as I wanted. When she turned 2 (ish, I have no idea how old she really was), her health declined rapidly. She lost so much weight, she didn’t want to eat or drink, she slept a lot, and started having trouble moving about the cage. In the end, we had to feed her from an infant medication syringe multiple times a day and give her bathes more often when she stopped grooming.

Then, the worst thing happened. She had a stroke. I woke up to find her laying in a puddle of water/urine with her back legs spread like a corgi laying down. She was struggling to breathe and started crying when she felt me put my hands around her body. I dried her off and held her all day. She couldn’t blink, could barely swallow when I tried to feed her, and could barely move. She passed later that night. I died a little bit. All I wanted was her to stop being in pain. We called three vets offices to discuss putting her to sleep. All that mattered was my little girl getting away from the pain.

The pain I felt was nothing compared to the look in Stormy’s eyes when she realized that Lucy, her adopted mother, was gone. When a rat dies, especially when it’s the alpha of the group, it has a big impact. The best way to let them know that their friend is gone is to leave the body in the cage. Yep, you read that right. You need to leave the body in the cage. Not for forever (the others will try to eat them) but for an hour or so to give the others a chance to understand what happened. They’ll realize that their friend is no longer with them and can begin to mourn and move past it.

Yes, rats will mourn. They feel grief. I had to help Lucy get through Ethel’s death and my babies through Lucy’s death. Yes, they feel grief and no one can convince me otherwise. With Lucy, it was different. She was suddenly all alone and the only way to help was to bring in someone new for her to befriend. With the babies, it was more along the lines of helping them get over the hump.

We found the best way to help them was to leave a blanket in the cage that smelled like Lucy. It seemed to calm them down. And after a week or so, we removed it and cleaned the whole cage. And all was well. We showered them with love and attention (and treats) and that seemed to help them get over that hump. I’m not going to lie, this isn’t meant so much as a helpful advice type of post. It’s more me getting this off my chest. There is only so much crying can do.

Time for an unpopular opinion

Good morning! Now that we’ve gotten the horror of this election mostly out of the way, let’s talk about something that most animal lovers cringe at: animal testing. Specifically, animal testing in rats and mice.

I know, I know, I speak of horrors and blasphemy. How dare I?

Well, I noticed the other day whilst browsing through a “rat fan club” type group on Facebook a picture of a blue rat with about how the blue dye from M&M’s had been found to help heal spinal injuries in rats and, subsequently, turn them blue. Now, what started as a simple question of “is this true” quickly turned into a huge debate about animal testing and the ethical side of things, most people siting the living conditions, cosmetic testing, and whatnot for their argument. But, as I read through the comments, I could only wonder if any of them really understood the importance of testing when it comes to health concerns. Let’s cover a few of them, shall we?

A big question I see a lot is why on Earth would someone test on a sweet little rat. Well, it’s pretty simple. Rats and mice have similar genetics to humans and are easy to breed in a way to strengthen similarities that need studied. Rats and mice also make it easier to observe multiple generations in a short period of time.

Now, as for the actual testing, you would be surprised at how many things are studied using rats. A big one being cancer research. This has helped researchers study dietary, genetic, and environmental components the can cause cancer and has even helped to studies on how to prevent it.

Neurology is a big area for testing as well. Since rats and mice are similar to humans, scientists believe that this sort of testing can lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of spinal injuries, strokes, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and other diseases involving nerve damage. Not to mention researchers have also began exploring ways to block the protein that is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s, hopefully finding a way to slow or completely stop the disease. As someone who has watched some amazing people succumb to Alzheimer’s, I think this is pretty incredible.

Rats are also used is studying diabetes, dental research, reproductive biology, the connection between nutrition and aging, and transplants. They’re even a part of studies to see how genetics can effect learning and reasoning. In short, rats are freaking awesome and have been a huge part in making strides in medical science.

Basically, we wouldn’t be where we are today in the medical field if it weren’t for rats. I’m not saying it’s perfect, I’m saying it’s necessary to run trials and study these things so we can make them better. And, after doing research before writing this post, I can understand why rodents are used. I can see where they’re coming from. Again, it’s not perfect and it’s not ideal. But it works. And it helps.

 

Now, I understand that not everyone will agree with me. What are your thoughts?

 

And, for those of you who won’t believe any of this, here are my sources.

Source

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How do I deal with people hating my rat?

This is something fun that every rodent parent has to deal with at one point or another. It sucks. Like a lot. It’s always someone going on about how disgusting they are, calling them plague carriers, just all around being rude about your tiny little ball of loving fluff. It’s infuriating. But, there are a few things I found that helps ease the anger and, in some cases, can actually stop certain people from opening their mouths.

A big one is going to be education. I had several coworkers a while back that would always give me weird looks when I mentioned my girls and even asked me why I kept pictures of rats on my desk with that disgusted tone of voice. I used to just brush it off as nothing, but when it got to the point of actually being berated for my choice of family is when I decided it was a problem that needed solved. And I love solving problems. For most, education was the solution. A lot of people don’t know how wonderful rats can be, how smart they are, or how loving and fulfilling they can make your life. If it’s not a dog or a cat, folks just don’t seem to get it. That’s easily changed with a little education and conversation. Like, did you know that rats spend about as much time grooming as a cat would? Or that rats can be trained to do tricks, the same way dogs can? Most rats learn their names quickly and will even come when called. They can be taught to use a litter box, solve puzzles, and use tools. Rats have even been trained to find landmines, help stop illegal wildlife poaching, and even sniff out tuberculosis. Rats are amazing. Rats are helping save elephants and rhinoceroses. Can your dog do that? I didn’t think so. A little education can go an awful long way.

The biggest thing that helped me get the point across was that my oldest girl, Lucy, is actually my unofficial emotional support animal. From the time that I got her, she’s always had a knack for recognizing when I need her most. When I start to get anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed she’ll squeak from the corner of her cage as if demanding to be let out. She’ll then cuddle up on my neck, give me kisses, let me fiddle with her tail, and try to play with me (like how little kids do when you’re sad.) Or she’ll slide down the front of my shirt and just lean back against my heart, lick my fingers, and squeak at people. It’s adorable. But it’s also beneficial to me. It calms me down and makes it easier to function. Most people think that only dogs can really fill a support animal position, but if the bond is there, any animal can. (There is a lot of information out there if you need an emotional support animal. But, if it’s not necessary, don’t ruin it for other people. You can find information as well as how to register here.)

But sometimes the best way to help someone understand rats is to let them interact. My ten year old has had friends come over who freaked out when they heard we had pet rats. They did what little girls typically do with long, drawn out “eww” and comments of how gross rats are. We tried talking to them, but they weren’t having it. So, I got Lucy out. I let the girls gently pet her back, a few asked if they could touch her tail, and there were so many questions about whether or not she would bite or hurt them. After a few minutes of convincing, one girl actually asked if she could hold her. And Lucy wanted to be loved on. Under strict supervision, the girls all softly cradled Lucy and let her crawl all over their arms and shoulders. I never heard a peep about her being gross from them again. One even asked where I got her because she wanted one herself! If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

Now, granted, not everyone will be swayed by education, heartfelt stories, or playing with a fluff ball. Some people can’t be reasoned with. You really can’t argue with stupid. So, for those people, I simply ignore them. If you want to talk smack about something that is clearly having a benefit in someone’s life, then that’s your prerogative. I can’t change that. But, all I can say is I’m sorry that you are so closed minded and you have had to guard your heart so strongly that you aren’t even willing to give it a chance. I’m sorry that you will never know the immense comfort that so many others and myself feel knowing we have a little rat baby to go home to. We have someone that almost always wants to play, wrestle around, cuddle, explore, and just be there with you in a time of need. I’m sorry that you will never feel that because you’re not even willing to give it a chance. Words are just words if you don’t give them power. Wear them as your armor and no one can use them against you. I’m the crazy rat lady, the plague carrier, and the evil witch with her wicked rat sidekick. This is something we should carry proudly because no one can touch what we have.

 

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments and if there is anything you would like more information on, please feel free to speak up.

 

 

Any links included in post are not affiliated with my blog, they’re simply where I found my information and I prefer to cite my sources.

I just got a rat! Now what?

Congratulations on your newest family member! Rats make amazing pets, but it’s not quite like having a dog or a cat. Rats do require some special care and, let’s face it, some people hear “rat” and panic a little because they’re not sure what to do. I promise, it’s not that hard. We’ll go over a few things that I would recommend as well as a few sites you could also reference for more information.

First off, you’ll probably want a cage of sorts. Even if you want your rat to free roam, having a safe space for them is always a good idea. The big question is what kind of cage. As always, it kind of depends on your plans. But, what I suggest, is a large, multilevel cage with a plastic bottom. That’s what has always worked best for me. We currently have a Critter Nation with 4 levels that’s perfect for our 3 rats.  When I was first starting out with rattys, I had bought a starter kit from the local pet store. It came with a smaller cage with multiple levels, food, a water bottle, a bedding sample, and a toy. It’s not a bad way to get going pretty quickly and it didn’t cost a whole awful lot (30 for the set, I do believe.)  I wouldn’t recommend the smaller cage for more than two rats because it’s not huge, but it will do in a pinch. It’s currently being used as a standby hospital cage. Having a separate place for a sick, injured, or pregnant rat is always a good idea. Sometimes, they need to be separated.

Then you’ll need bedding. Because not only will it make the bottom more comfortable for you little baby, it will also make cleaning much easier because there won’t be little rat turds stuck to the bottom. This is one of those things where everyone has their own opinion and own ideas as to what is best. There are a lot of options. The most popular are wood chips, paper bedding, and fleece. Each has ups and downs and it just kind of depends on what you and your babies like the most. Wood chips are really good for absorbing odors but can cause sores if you have a rat that just likes to lay in one spot all day. Paper bedding is much softer and still can absorb odors, but can be dusty (depending on the brand) and cause breathing issues. Then there’s fleece. Yep, fleece. Like blankets. This is usually really easy to clean in the washer, they’re super soft, but can start to smell if you don’t keep them clean. But, they don’t make dust. I like using fleece because they can burrow under everything and mine tend not to chew through it. Then again, mine have been litter box trained so it makes life a little easier.

Food. Food is kind of important. Again, lots of options for this one. Some people like to make their own food blends. Some people like to buy food from the store. It’s up to you! I do a bit of both. If you want to make your own food, there are a few websites that you can check out that I will include links to. Also, when it comes to giving your rats people food, that’s completely okay! If you can eat, more than likely your rat can eat it. Just avoid citrus foods and bread. Those aren’t good for tiny tummies and throats. I, personally, stick to fresh veggies and noodles with cheese. Keep anything super fatty to a minimum to avoid unhealthy amounts of weight gain. They also love cooked chicken bones! It helps keep their teeth filed down and it’s a good source of protein. Just make sure they’re completely cooled before you give them away and remove them from their cage after a few hours. The bone pieces can be sharp and no one wants internal bleeding. The other thing I definitely want to mention is make sure you read the ingredients of treats or block food BEFORE you buy it/give it to a rat. Sometimes they can contain timothy hay or alfalfa, which rats can’t have. They won’t digest it, which can lead to intestinal blockages. Rats are not bunnies, they can’t eat the same things.

This is where I found a good recipe for homemade rat food.

Toys and water are going to be added into the same paragraph because there isn’t a whole awful lot to them both. Both are very important, but there isn’t much to talk about. For water, you can use the standard small animal bottle that you hook to the side of the cage or a bowl of water like you would give a puppy. Both will work, but pay attention to which your rat seems to like the most. My girls grew up using a bottle and refuse to drink from a bowl. Just make sure they’ve got something they’ll use. Toys are important for preventing cage boredom and for keeping little brains occupied. These can also be homemade or store-bought and, again, I use a mixture of both. Just make sure you keep an eye on tiny teeth with homemade toys. A lot of them you can make out of cardboard but once they’ve been chewed up, get them out so no one tries to eat them. If you decide to just purchase toys, I actually recommend checking out the bird toys as well as the rodent stuff. Bird toys are made to last and (mostly) are made from wood, which is good for teeth. Plus, they might like the bells to keep you up at night or annoy the dog. And, of course, they’ll want places to snuggle up in. Small houses, hammocks, even the little plastic balls hamsters run around in can be turned into beds. These are easy to make, if you would like to be all DIY about it. You can also buy them from online vendors on Etsy or through Instagram to help support another rat owner! A lot of these places also make wearable snuggle sacks to help with bonding, so don’t be afraid to get that really cute scarf with a hole in it for you and your little one. Bonding, fashion, and cuddles all in one. What’s not to love?

You can find some DIY toy instructions here

This goes to BitsOHeaven’s shop. It’s so cute.

Menagerie Collections makes awesome cage sets and bonding scarves. I highly recommend.

But, the most important thing for a new baby is going to be you! Work on trust training your new baby, bond and spend time with them. You’re the best jungle gym a little rat could ask for. You’re one of the best playmates, best snuggle buddies, best mommy/daddy, best friend a rat can have. Give them lots of love, attention, and of course treats and they will love you until the end of their days. Just make sure to start slow. Socialization takes a while. We’ll cover that some other time.

Here’s just the basics for you. There is a lot more that goes into it, but this covers the very basics. What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you want more information about!

 

Any links included in the post are not affiliated in any way, shape, or form. These are just sites that I’ve personally used and felt the information was legit. I’m not working with anyone from the shops, they don’t even know I linked them here. But I think their stuff is fabulous and they deserve some recognition for that. Go show them some love.

New baby introductions

 

Good day to you, my lovely little rat pack! Today, we’re going to talk about something that makes any rat parent a little nervous: introductions. Now, at this point I think its common sense to make sure everyone has been introduced and will get along BEFORE putting them into a locked cage together. But, in case you are super new to this sort of stuff DON’T DO THAT. There, now we’re all on the same page.

But how do you introduce them? Well, that’s usually personal preference. I recently adopted two 6 week old females (Stormy and Midnight) to keep my 18 month old (Lucy) company. And my biggest fear was Lucy deciding she didn’t want new friends and hurting the tiny ones. So, how do we let them meet up while keeping everything as safe as possible? Well, there are a few options that I personally have tried and prefer to use.

The first one is the bathtub intro. Stick them in the tub and let them do their thing. This one tends to be my favorite simply because if they need to be separated, it’s pretty easy to just reach down and grab someone. Plus, they get a little time to run around somewhere that isn’t their cage. When introducing Lucy to Midnight and Stormy, I used a combination of this method and the next one and it worked out pretty well.

The next one is close quartering. This works pretty well if you have a rather large cage that can be sectioned off. When I brought the tiny ones home, it was going to be a lot of stress on everyone to try and put them all together right away. 4 hours in a car will do that to a rat. And 8 hours round trip will do that to a human. So the best option at the time was to quarter everyone off until they had a chance to relax. My Critter Nation cage can be separated into a top and a bottom half to keep everyone apart if there is fighting or if I’m just trying to clean the darn thing and SOMEONE (little miss Lucy) won’t cooperate with the carrier or go to her dad. Doing this is a pretty easy way to get the ball rolling. Scrub down the section for the new rats, replace bedding and whatnot, and let them explore their new home. Plus, they’re close enough to start understanding the current occupant’s scent and will make a formal intro a little easier. What you can also do, if your cage can’t be separated off, is place two cages next to one another. They can still catch the scent, just not hurt each other.

The last one that I like to use is free roam. Rat proof a big, open area and let them go. Again, it’s easy to separate anyone who doesn’t want to play nice and they all get to run around. Since this is very similar to bathtub time, I won’t go into much detail. Same thing, different area.

These are just the ones that I like. There are a few others that I don’t particularly care for. But to name a few, I know some people like to place their new rats into a cage and introduce the current rat through the bars. I don’t care for this because if someone doesn’t like the other’s scent or just the look of them, someone can go crazy and get hurt or hurt you. Little hands and feet can get caught in bars and break, so I personally avoid this one. But, obviously, it’s a little safer in the sense of the rats can’t hurt each other and since you’re probably already holding one, it’s easy to just pull them away. Just watch the feets! Also, understand that this is something that should be kept short and sweet. I feel like this is more for letting them get the scent of the new addition.

Some people like to just put them in the same cage and just see what happens. Please, don’t do this, for obvious reasons.

Something you also want to keep in mind is not everyone will want a friend. Sometimes rats just want to be by themselves (which is weird but, hey, it happens) or they just don’t like who you picked out for them. You might have to accept that your rats won’t get along and shouldn’t be housed together. Keep an eye on everything to make sure things go well.

Some big things you also want to keep in mind is you might see some wrestling or boxing going on. This is typically nothing to worry about. That’s how they play and bond. Now, if there are loud squeaks coming from these “fights” or you see blood, then separation may be necessary. The biggest thing is going with your gut and doing what you feel is best. Even if that means being overprotective parent and keeping them apart for a little while longer.

 

I hope this was somewhat beneficial. If there’s anything in particular you would like to read about or like more information about, feel free to leave a comment. I would be more than happy to write about anything and everything and try to make it a little easier to find info you need.

Ten things I learned in my first year of rat parenting

Everything has a learning curve to it. Especially when it comes to a brand new animal that you’ve never cared for. When I first adopted rodents, I had literally no experience. I had helped raise dogs and cats, but that was the extent of my abilities. The most I had ever really seen of a rodent were the field mice my orange fluffer butt Chester and his buddy Luanne brought home as “presents.” All of the research I did before finding Lucy didn’t tell me what I was about to learn through experience. These are a few things you want to keep in mind when bringing home a little friend.

  1. The mess is ridiculous

No one warns you about the mess they make! Seriously, bedding everywhere. Rats like to dig, burrow, and build nests so if you use bedding that can be broken into pieces (such as paper bedding) it will be all over your carpet within about 10 minutes. Have fun!

  1. The smell is even worse

Animal urine in general smells awful. But when you have 2 or 3 rats that all use the same corner as their restroom, it gets pretty intense. Keeping the cage clean is the best way to really combat this, but the best trick I’ve found is a little bit of vanilla in their water. You’ll thank me later.

  1. They’re expensive!

So expensive! I mean, to adopt a rat it’s usually between $20 and $40, but that’s just adopting. Then there’s the cage, the bedding, the house, the toys, the food, the treats, and the medical care. Today alone, I spent $101 on a vet visit. That’s more than I pay for myself to go to the human doctor!

  1. Health Problems

Don’t even get me started on the health issues rats can have (that no one warns you about.) Respiratory issues, parasites, UTIs, ear infections; it gets crazy. And best of luck finding a vet that can help take care of it all. Most vets take only “companion animals.” So cats and dogs. Finding an exotic animal clinic is nearly impossible in some areas. Google is your best friend when it comes to this.But, always make sure to check the local clinics as well to see if they happen to have an exotic animal doctor. Some do and don’t advertise it on their website. If Google fails, try making some calls and see what turns up. Having a vet you can go to is important, no matter what the animal is.

  1. The noises are frightening sometimes

Usually, rats are pretty quiet animals. I mean, they don’t bark at the mailman or anything like that. But, if you don’t know why they’re doing it, the little chitters, squeaks, and clicks they make can be unnerving. Not to mention the noises they make when they play fight or just decide to rearrange their cage. If you’re not expecting it, the sound of a small house being pushed around can make you just out of your seat.

  1. There’s a difference between nibbles and bites

This one seems pretty obvious, but I’ve noticed that some people don’t seem to know the difference. Bites are hardcore painful and can very easily break the skin and draw blood. Those typically only happen if your ratty feels threatened or if you REALLY smell like food. Nibbles are, well, nibbles. Those are when your fingers smell like food and they gently put their teeth on them to test it. Once they realize its skin, they let go. Don’t panic. It’s normal.

  1. The scratches!

Oh goodness, the scratches. Rats have some serious claws on them, even if you give them regular trims and something to file them down. It’s part of being a rat parent. Just remember to keep those scratches clean. No one wants rat scratch fever. Helping the rats keep their feet clean can help prevent infections from scratches as well. I use special puppy paw wipes to get bacteria off their little toes if it’s getting close to bath day.

  1. No one thinks you’re doing it right

I feel like this is to be said for just about everything in life, whether it’s a human child, a dog, a cat, or a rat. No one thinks you’re doing it right. The food you feed them isn’t right. Neither are the treats. Or the bedding. Or the toys. Or the cage. And God forbid someone (who thinks free roam is the only way to go) sees the cage you spent $200 on because “how dare you lock up such a precious thing?!” My best advice: do what works for you. As long as you are both happy and healthy, forget what anyone else has to say.

  1. Play time is the best time.

Even after all of the bad and the headache, you seem to forget it exists when play time comes around. Nothing is sweeter than watching a little rat make itself a nest, chase balls around a pen, or just letting it snuggle up in your hood. That’s the best feeling. Until they use your carpet, your shirt, your pants, or your hands as their bathroom. Then it comes crashing back. But, no matter what, you still love them with all your dark little heart.

  1. Rat love is the best love

It really is. The way they run to the cage door when you come home, the excited little chitters they make when you finally hold them against your body, it’s all the best. And some days, you’re even lucky enough to get little licks. So, forget what everyone else thinks. Because, you know what, anyone who says “ew” when you mention your rat has never had that kind of love. It’s short and it’s painful, but it’s so worth it.

I feel like this was  important to have up immediately because I’ve seen a few people just jumping into having a rat/hamster/gerbil/some kind of rodent and getting a little overwhelmed with all of the things that comes with it. This is just what I found out the hard way when I first jumped in. I hope this is helpful in a sense. Just a few things to keep in mind when adopting a new rodent love.

 

If there is something I left out that you had to learn the hard way, leave it in the comments down below! If there is anything you want to see posts about, again, just let me know.