by Alyssa Nader
Alyssa Nader is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring at least one animal rescue adventure story, and every other month there will be one from Rattie Ratz.
I try not to take it personally when people hate on rats. More rats for me! That being said, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I try my best to educate as much as I can, because I care so much about rat sons, and everyone wants the best for their children. Plus, I love rats so much I really can’t stop proselytizing to anyone who will listen. So here is a quick primer on positive rat PR practice.
How to Let People Know How Intelligent Rats Are:
“Did you know that rats can be trained to sniff out tuberculosis or explosives?”
“My rats come running to me from anywhere in the house when I click my tongue or call their names.”
“My sons know that I’m going to bring them their vegetables when they hear the microwave beep four times. They run as fast as they can and stand right where I always deliver the goods.”
One thing I’ve noticed that changes people’s minds about rats is learning about how intelligent they are. Showing hesitant members of my family this video of rats doing adorable tricks for example, has piqued interest and worked to get people to reconsider their opinions of rats.
Rats are highly trainable, but do not only show their intelligence while obeying and pleasing humans. They are also highly curious and inventive. Like cats, they are expert climbers and can really find their way up to anything (sometimes to be naughty), as you can see here:
How to Let People Know How Affectionate Rats Are:
“My rat follows me all over the house.”
“My rats kiss my face and lick my hands!”
“Did you know that rats “purr,” kind of like a cat? When you’re petting them and they’re loving it they will chatter and grind their teeth.”
One of my favorite parts of having rats is how sweet they are. When they’re not exploring and trying to make DIY mummy costumes with my toilet paper, my rats are following me around the house being total clingers. It’s not unusual for one to climb up my leg and all the way to my shoulder while I’m getting ready in the morning, or for them to always find a way into the bed if someone is sleeping. They can go wherever they want, but they love to be near me and their other humans.
How to Let People Know How Clean Rats Are:
“Did you know that rats can be litter box trained like a cat?”
“Did you know that rats spend hours per day cleaning themselves? And that they smell good?”
I call my rats “tortilla boys” because they smell like a mix between corn tortillas and wood, it is a great smell, and typical for male rats that are kept in a clean environment. If you take care of your rats’ cage and make sure that they have clean places to rest and nap, they will smell great.
And the litter box is great! Although the man at the corner store definitely doesn’t know who I’m buying all this litter for.
How to Work Rats into Any Discussion Ever:
“Hey, Alyssa, I’ll need these case files organized by Friday. There seems to be a lot of notes stored in random places.”
“Oh, that’s so funny, did you know that my rats like to steal fluffy things like cotton or napkins and hide them around random places? Because…”
“Nice nail polish!”
“Thanks! Don’t mind this slight scratch on my hand, one of my rats is still a bit nervous about being picked up and clings for dear life. He would never bite anyone though! Even though his name is Bitey, but that is just a joke. You see when…”
You see you can really work in talking about rats into any discussion. And there’s an opportunity for a) you to talk about rats because, really, you can’t stop and b) educating someone who may be on the fence, open to rats, or even anti-rat. So please, next time you’re at the doctor, DMV, or super bowl party, try out this tactic.
I hope this primer has either helped you to warm up to rats, or has just made the Crazy Rat Ladies like myself a bit more emboldened to go convert the world.
If you are thinking of bringing a rat into your life, please adopt! My wonderful experience with my rats is what inspired me to get involved with Rattie Ratz, an amazing all-volunteer organization whose mission is to help all domesticated ratties who come to them to find a loving forever home.
Rattie Ratz: Rescue, Resource, & Referral
Click here to email us at: info@rattieratz[dot]com
Call us at: (415) 340-1896
If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in adoptable rats or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their website: www.rattieratz.com.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Rattie Ratz every other month. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.