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.
Eunice is a soft, pretty Himalayan girl with pink eyes. I adopted her along with her sister, Fantasia from Rattie Ratz last year. We read about the passing of Eunice’s sister Fantasia in July’s issue of KRLM. Let’s hear how she’s doing now as she lives solo and after her second birthday.
Since she came home with me, Eunice has always been a bit of an odd duck. As you can read about on the Rattie Ratz website, rats with pink eyes tend to have lower vision than rats with darker eyes. Perhaps due to this, or perhaps due to a quirk unique to her, Eunice got a bad reputation early on as an accidental biter.
Her first victim was my sister. Eunice was playing calmly by her face when, all of a sudden, she pounced for my sister’s eyelid. Whether she thought there was a bug or something to be caught there, what she caught was the eyelid and drew blood. No trusting that crazy rat around our eyelids after that.
We also soon learned to take care in feeding Eunice treats or other foods by hand. Her sister would gingerly take anything offered to her, no matter how excited she was. Eunice, on the other hand, would strike like a drunken jaguar, leaping at the food with both hands and an open mouth. She never bit us badly while “hunting” food one inch from her face, but we quickly adjusted our technique with her as to not be terrified by the wild animal every time we want to share a bit of our dinner!
Eunice was also quite crafty with the vet. When brought to her spay appointment, she would not stop sneezing and the vet decided it was not a good idea to operate, though she wasn’t sure what was wrong. We brought Eunice home and there was no sign of the “sneezing.” It was a good act and very effective because she was never spayed. She’s over two now with no incidence of mammary tumors, so maybe she was right in this case.
Eunice’s other quirk (and the reason for her living as a solo rat), was her aggression with other rats. I got Eunice and Fantasia while I still had Disco and Biscuit. We tried intros and Fantasia did fine, but Eunice puffed, crab walked and went on the attack no matter what we tried. We gave up on integrating the rats, but still housed them on top of each other in a double cage. Any time she was free ranging, she ignored the rest of the house and made a beeline for the other rats’ cage so she could try to harass them. If they were in another room, she would immediately head there to hiss and paw under the door.
Eunice isn’t my first rat who needed to live solo and the experience is an interesting one. Rats should never generally be adopted or housed alone, as social contact with their own species is very important. That being said, if a rat is too aggressive or sickly to be with other rats or has another reason for needing to be alone, they can still lead a happy life without other rattie companions. The decision is usually made if the risk of stress and injury of the introduction is too great to continue.
Since Eunice has been on her own, I see that she craves much more attention from her humans and we make sure to give it to her in the form of cuddles, free-ranging and play. She’s become more attached to us and we make sure to give her the love she deserves, even if it means losing an eye or two.
Rattie Ratz is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to help all domesticated ratties who come to us 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.