My Rat Story: Part One

I've been receiving a lot of questions and comments about my rats so I wanted to do a post dedicated to them. First, let me answer this for you: Why rats?

I was never into rats and never cared much for them but I grew up in a household full of pets. At one point, we had 5 cats, 1 parrot (see picture at the side), 1 dog, 2 frogs, 2 hamsters, 1 guinea pig, 3 ducks (the hung out in our lake and during ice season, they stayed in their duck house that my very talented mom built!), and I'm sure I'm missing another pet.

When I moved to DC, I knew I wanted a pet for myself but hesitated on a typical dog or cat because of the money and time commitment. I did not want a pet that would last 12-16 years because who knows where I would be in that time frame? I started considering a small animal and again, I hesitated. I had owned guinea pigs, hamsters, and hermit crabs in the past I considered them lacking in personality. I was stuck - what do I buy?

I then discussed this with my mom and Dan and they both recommended rats. What? Why rats? At the time, I believed these rumors:

- Rats are smelly
- Rats are dirty
- Rats bite
- Rats are mean
- Rats carry disease

Since mother knows best and Dan is pretty damn smart, I started my research. Here's what I learned:

- Rats are clean. In fact, they clean themselves more than cats do.
- Rats are smart and some people say they are smarter than dogs.
- Rats do not bite unless they are inappropriately trained (like dogs).
- Rats do not carry disease (if you take anything away from this post, take that)
- Rats live 2-5 years (typically 2)
- Rats can eat everything which is great because when you run out of rat food you can give them people food and they're happy.

In the summer of 2006, I decided to adopt two ratties from a breeder (yes, they exist). After reading tons of reviews, I went with Raffinhouse in Toledo. The reason I picked a breeder was because I knew the rats would be healthy and come from a good genetic line. This was important to me for my first set of rats because I had never owned them before. When I first picked them up (when they were 6-weeks old), I fell in love...

This rattie post will be continued. For now, please visit these websites for more information and please vote for Clyde:

Rat Assistance & Teaching Society (organization I belong to)
Dapper Rat (very cute pictures here)
The Rat Fan Club