Rats are wonderful resilient creatures. They also are, often unfairly, the subject of many nightmarish tales. These animals have been amazingly successful on an evolutionary basis, used in research for their hardiness, intelligence, and propensity for developing and living with tumours …
When I tell people my family rescues rats, people tend to either repelled or fascinated. So many people who instinctively dislike rats say “I hate their tails”, which is likely due to images of large groups of rats in horror movies and other unflattering presentations of these amazing little creatures.
Rats can be taught tricks, mazes, and complex puzzles. They are social, cuddly, and bond well with each other, humans, and even other pets. They can be litter and leash trained. Once a person gets past the “tales”, we can see them for the smart, loving pets they are.
The first two rats we adopted were rescued snake food – Dexter and Julia lived to nearly 5 years each, which is unusually long for rats. Like all pets, people re-home rats for a variety of reasons. Next came Mochi and Luna, Mr. Grey and Mr. Black, Tony and Stark, and Rose. As some rescues passed away we added others to keep the others’ company. Mr. Black and Rose kept breaking out in the night to cuddle each other, so he was neutered to become a permanent companion of the females.
Watching these adorable crafty creatures one day, our Luna was nearing her last days and was having trouble walking. With all the awful things people think about rats, one would expect her cage mates to turn on her. Instead, I watched Mr. Black gently help her to the upper level, and Rose groom her.
Not everyone has the dedication and patience to rescue rats, but they do make wonderful pets. It is very important if one decides to keep these critters, that they do their research on food and housing, and get a good pocket pet vet. Their needs are complex and specialized, and they need experienced professionals for surgeries and even for “routine” things such as nail or tooth trims.
If you do need to get your pet to the vet and need assistance, contact the animal professionals at www.torontoams.com – for all creatures big and small, we transport and love them all.
Amanda G. is a Registered Veterinary Technician and a valued member of Toronto AMS.