by Stephanie Cameron
Stephanie Cameron 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.
For those of us who had pet rats growing up, I think it’s safe to say the experience was a special one. From building mazes on our kitchen floors to shoulder rides and special trips to the pet store, rats have a way of making each day special and memorable. For those of us who have experienced this rattie love, it’s only natural to want to share it with our own families and children.
Before she had kids, Cari had pet rats, and when her daughter Lindsay started talking about wanting to get a pet of her own, Cari suggested rats. Lindsay researched how to best take care of them, and came to a Rattie Ratz Rescue event with her mother to talk to the volunteers and meet some ambassador rats. According to Cari, after going to the event and meeting the rats, “[Lindsay] was sold.”They sent in an adoption application right away, got a new cage and all of the necessary supplies, and patiently waited for the right rats to come along. Because many pet stores in the Bay Area have stopped selling rats, there has been a large increase in people looking to adopt rats from rescues and shelters. While this is fantastic news for our homeless rat companions, many rescues and shelters do not have the rats to fit this new demand. As so many people are interested in adopting from rescues like Rattie Ratz, it requires adopters like Lindsay and Cari to be more patient than they were expecting. However, in September of 2016, before they had to wait too long, Cari and her daughter had the chance to adopt two sweet boys: Butters (a fawn Berkshire) and Squeakers (a part rex black Berkshire) – Squeakers was later renamed Nixon.
Cari and Lindsay had a private adoption appointment and met with the rat’s foster mom, Sarah. According to Lindsay, “[Sarah] was very nice and talked about how she had had rats and gave [her] some toys and treats the rats enjoyed.” After the boys arrived at their new home, Lindsay tells us that “when the rats saw their new cage, it was love at first sight. They ran around between the levels exploring their new habitat,” which isn’t surprising considering the amazing rattie mansion they got to have dominion over. The boys also “discovered their food bowl and immediately started carrying their food away.” As Lindsay has discovered, rats love to take their food and ‘stash’ it in little secret locations inside their cage. After all, that food is theirs and they need to protect it from wandering human hands.
The way the rats interacted with each other and with Lindsay show how fun and different their personalities are. According to the rat’s new family, Butters is an outgoing and adventurous rat with a feisty streak while Nixon is the sweet and mellow rat who likes to cuddle. Cari tells us that Butters “happily chases off our puppy if it gets too close while Nixon hides behind him.”
Nixon “loves to sit on [Lindsay’s] shoulder and burrow into her hair.” It’s the lucky rat owner who gets to experience both the playful rat and the snuggler!
Lindsey describes how wonderful the boys have been and how “Nixon and Butters fell into the role of the pets [she] had always wanted.” Additionally, Cari gets to watch how Butters and Nixon’s “fuzzy little faces greet [her] daughter every morning when she wakes up and every afternoon when she gets home from school” and she believes “[Butters and Nixon] were the perfect pets to join [their] household.”
Whether the rats are chasing away inquisitive puppies, cuddling in Lindsay’s hair, or continually exploring their home, one thing is for sure – the whimsical qualities of a rat are never ending – and that is something Cari can now share and enjoy with her daughter Lindsay. Lindsay seemed to sum it up best when she said, “all in all, the rats turned out to be awesome companions.”
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.