August 23, 2009

Rat appreciation - Happy Birthday Ratties

Rats make great pets... they are clean, friendly, intelligent, inquisitive, and they don't smell. Perhaps, sadly, one of the main reasons I hear regularly for them being a good choice; they only live for about three years. Not such good news for the owner, but it suits a lot of parents who do not want to be saddled with their chiildren's cast off pets for life.

But, I know what you are a thinking they are vermin, they are lab animals, and " it's a shame about the tails"! Well, read further....

I have owned guinea pigs regularly; they are delightful, vocal and responsive pets...and they don't kick and scratch, which, to me, put them ahead of rabbits as a choice when it came to selecting my children's pets. Believe me, rats didn't even get a look in for beng chosen in those days, hence depriving them of what would have been wonderful pets. Sorry kids. Along with all their cats and dogs, we also owned and bred lots of mice. My mother will be shuddering at the memories of my breeding mice while still at school as they kept escaping and appearing in the kitchen cupboards... white, tan and obviously mine, not wild ones.. On reflection, I can say that although fun, the mice can smell musty, particularly the males, and when handled, cover your clothes in "eau de mouse" ours did, until the cats broke into the cage of our last batch and ate them :(... that will teach me for upgrading to a super duper, fab space age mouse hotel....the tunnels fell off and the cats just ate them when they came out. In fact, they probably dislodged the tunnels deliberately.

Rats... no never. Rats... that tail... eeeeeeew - well - that was how I felt for many years... until I started working with them. I initially avoided the rat cages, but one day, the students acquired a particularly fine, pure white one and named her after me. Hmm.. I remember feeling a bit strange about it at the time. I started to look at her admiringly (studiously avoiding the tail) when I went past; until finally managing a careful stroke... eventually getting to the point where I would open the cage and give her a cuddle when no one was looking.... Sweet Fi. Since then I have had a few rats named after me... "Ratafia" perhaps my favourite variation...all of course beautiful and intelligent specimens! The tails don't worry me at all!

These days we can't breed them fast enough for the market demand from people who love our well handled and healthy rat babies...


Emily - showing off her lovely markings, and a TAIL:


So, a here is a celebration from one of my past vet nursing students', Chantal, member of the local Rat Club, posted to celebrate the rat's first birthday.

There was cake for everyone:

and a feast of spaghetti and peas
with a juicy chop
Looks like an idyllic day for the rats...
Happy Birthday ratties..
Bye :)


  1. I didn't read one word, I could not even look! Disgusting....I'm sure it was a super post though, LOL, did you mention Kirst? How is she? XXX

  2. Oh I love rats...i love all rodents!

    I have had 3 hamsters in the past and when each one died i cried for days...reading this i just asked steven if we could get a pet rat! mum would not visit us lol!

    sweet! xxx :)

  3. I knew Tracey would recoil in horror lol

    K still up there - still running a temp so another 24 hrs on i/v antibiotics for her - H will stay here tonight - but she is feeling better.

  4. Thank God she has you! Give her my love. xxxxxxx

  5. I don't quite understand why people don't like their tails. It's a mystery to me. Anyway, I just recommended rats as pets for my youngest son who lives in his own home now, but is out all day. His girl wanted a dog, but she's out too. Being nocturnal, and fairly self sufficient (if kept with friends) and also interactive and smart, rats seemed to me to be a good choice! No sign of them moving in as yet though.

    The girlfriend doesn't like their tails. LOL!

  6. I rather like mice and rats, actually, except when they make themselves at home in a house where they haven't been invited. Then they are a nuisance and not nice at all. Still, I do everything possible to get rid of them without resorting to any traps that will hurt them. Not their fault I left enough food about to attract them in.

  7. I can see where you're coming from, they do look sweet if kept as domestic pets. But... nope... I draw the line at rats!!

    CJ xx

  8. I owned two rats, Tally and Tara...Tally got cancer and was put to sleep on 3rd December 2003 and on 26th Jan 2004 while I was 4000 miles away, Tara died..I never replaced them but I named my characters in my books after them so that their memory lives on.


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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