Adopting Senior Rats: The Tale of Jerry & Stuart

Apr 23, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Pets, Rodent Ramblings

by Stephanie Cameron

Stephanie Cameron is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring a column from Rattie Ratz.

No animal can escape aging, and sadly, some enter their golden time far too quickly. Rats are one such animal and are considered a senior by the time they are two years old. Because a rat’s life span is so short, and being a long-time rat owner myself, I have come to greatly respect the indomitable spirit of those who chose rats as their companion animal. Having to say goodbye to your beloved pets every 2-3 years can be challenging. It takes a big heart to care for an animal you know you will have to say goodbye to over and over again. Because rats have such a short life span it’s even more exceptional when you find someone interested in bringing home senior rats. As a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue, we are always so grateful when we come across adopters who are happy to take home our older rats.

Jerry (one of the rats from this story) getting cuddles from Spencer’s friends on New Years

Today’s story features two boys who were surrendered to Rattie Ratz in December of 2020. Due to Covid and personal circumstances, the owner lost her housing and was forced to move in with a family member. Unfortunately, this family member was allergic to rats so the owner could not have the four adult male rats in the house. They reached out to Rattie Ratz and the rescue took in the four boys. The rats were shy and two in particular were very dominant and needed a confident handler.

The Rattie Ratz volunteers initially tried to keep the group together, but nobody was interested in such a large group of adult males, especially when they all had varying degrees of shyness/difficulty. The boys started fighting so they were promptly neutered. Once neutered, they settled down, but the volunteers still weren’t able to find an adopter for them. After closely observing how they interacted with each other, it was decided they could be separated into pairs, so they would be easier for an adopter to manage. Once they were neutered and in pairs, we were able to find homes for both groups.

Jerry

Two of the boys were sweet but a little shy and were paired together: Jerry and Stuart. They were finally adopted in December 2021, almost exactly one year from when they were surrendered. These two senior boys were lucky enough to be adopted by a Rattie Ratz volunteer named Spencer. He was new to the rescue, but a long-time rat owner, and had two female rats at home: Flesh (a double rex) and Monopoly Man (a dumbo mink). They weren’t planning on getting more personal ratties, but when his fiancé saw the rescue’s online feature of the boys, all of that changed!

Spencer describes his reaction to seeing the boys for the first time. “Their photos were immediately endearing- both boys could easily be described as “chunky” with Jerry being a sensible-looking agouti hooded and Stuart being a constantly slightly confused looking grey hoodie. Of course, we had no idea how BIG they were until I arrived to pick them up!”

Jerry & Stuart with their new sister Monopoly Man


“Once introductions had been made and they had safely moved in with our girls, one of the most comical parts of keeping them was how totally gigantic they both were compared to our on-the-smaller-side girls.

“Both Stuart and Jerry settled in nicely. They had a penchant for snacks and acting as a mattress for the girls and seemed happy to have more friends to live with. Their appearances matched their personalities- Jerry was clever, strong, and confident and clearly second-in-command to Monopoly Man (our current boss rat). Goofy-looking Stuart was more of a pushover and had to be careful to avoid getting his treats stolen. They all liked to snuggle up in one of their hanging orbs. Once I saw – against all laws of physics – all 4 of them squished into one orb!”

Stuart

Sadly, four months after Spencer brought the boys home, Jerry passed on to the rainbow bridge. His passing was sudden, but not unexpected given his age. After Jerry’s passing, Stuart seemed confused and lost for a few days, but quickly rallied and settled into being the only boy with the two girls.

“The mischief has carried on, now with some more additions! Stuart had to deal with a new neutered boy, Milkshake, entering his space along with another two girls, Roxanne and Barbara, in tow. After an initial period of adjustment, they’re all getting along and Stuart is happy to have another slower-paced guy around to snuggle up with for most of the day!” says Spencer.

Thanks to Spencer, Jerry was able to spend his last golden months in a loving forever home with lots of rat and human friends to keep him company and spoiled, just as it should be! Luckily, for Stuart, he now has a large rat family to make sure he gets plenty of cuddles as he settles into his old age.

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. You can also keep up with our pet articles by joining our KRL Facebook group. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.

Stephanie Cameron works and lives in the Bay Area, and has been active in the rat rescue community for a number of years. She got her first pair of rats – sisters named Snowflake and Diamond – when she was eight years old. In her spare time she enjoys reading, walking her dogs, traveling, discovering fantastic vegan recipes, and singing in the shower.

2 Comments

  1. What an endearing story. When I was a teen, one of my friends adopted a rat from our local lab and named him “Ben” after the movie! He was such a sweetie. That was the first time I realized rats could be pets and adopted!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for another gratifying story about rescue rats.

    Reply

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