Cuddly Rats

Some of you already know rats make good pets–affectionate, playful, very smart… and really quite clean. We had our two little rat-girls here, and they were as good as gold until the lights went out. Then they resolved their disputes. Featuring very loud squeaks.

Rats & Eggs (Not Quite Perfect Together)

Rats don’t have a lot of history with hard-boiled eggs; so as you can see, they approach the new treat somewhat gingerly. Rats won’t eat anything that’s bad for them. I wish I could say the same for dogs.

It is said that Barney Rubble used to sing to rats, but they never sang back.

Sleepy Baby Rats

(Come to think of it, I feel quite sleepy myself, just now…)

Our pet rats were affectionate, smart, and playful. People tended to fall in love with them after about five minutes. Cuddling with the humans was high on their list of favorite things.

‘A Most Pettable Pet’ (2015)

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A nice, cozy, giant rat the size of a domestic rabbit, sitting on your lap–

Before you run screaming to the sidewalk, give the idea a chance. The Gambian pouched rat does make an affectionate pet: as do our own domestic rats and mice.

A Most Pettable Pet

When I worked at the Ford plant (to pay for college), I learned that parts of that immense factory were home to wild mice. Then I learned the mice were tame: men on their break, finding some place just outside the door, or maybe next to the tool room, liked to sit and cool off, usually with a snack; and there would usually be a tame mouse on hand to keep him company. Everybody fed these mice. In the tool room there lived a cat and a tame mouse. I suppose the cat was there to catch mice; but after seeing the tool room guy feed the mouse a hundred times, the cat surely decided his services weren’t necessary and he might as well get his share of the snacks.

In the Bible, in prophecy, the lion and the lamb lie down together.

I’ve seen the cat and the mouse lie down (or at least sit up) together, so I know it can be done.

The Small Pets are Nice, Too

We’ve never had guinea pigs or chinchillas, but we did have rats and they were wonderful pets–affectionate, smart, clean, and easy to care for. The only problem: whenever we turned out the lights to go to bed, the two rat sisters started fighting and you would hear thump-thump-thump-bump-SQUEEEAK! Turn the lights back on, and instantly they would be pretending nothing had happened. “I dunno, I didn’t hear no squeaking, did you hear a squeak? Look at us, we’re just sitting here nice and peaceful…” But they never did each other an injury, and the second time you turned the lights out, they’d behave themselves.

Warning: If you have a chinchilla who thinks he’s a cat, don’t let him near the toilet paper.

The Unemployable Cat

This is the kind of thing that goes on under Baroness Vannett’s back porch all the time, in my Bell Mountain books. Wait’ll this cat tries to get a job at any farm. “You play with the rats? Get lost!”

But I’ve had rats as pets, and mine were wonderful–affectionate, fun-loving, and smart (even if they were a little hard on each other). People who muttered “Yeeeew!” when I brought one of my rats into the vet’s waiting room wound up petting and talking baby-talk to it.

And I did have a cat named Henry who peacefully sniffed at my pet mice and never tried to knock the lid off their aquarium. But I think that was because what he really wanted was my baby fence lizards. Oh, he wanted them so badly! But he didn’t get ’em.

Video Treat: Smart Rats

Let’s get away from the mess the world is in, and enjoy watching these two pet rats do their stuff–in this case, pulling up a basket on a string to get the snacks inside.

Rats make wonderful pets, very affectionate, very smart. We had two rats, and the only thing they couldn’t learn, apart from figuring out the stock market, was how to get along with each other when we turned out the lights at bedtime. Within seconds of the room going dark, you would hear thump-thump-wack-wack-SQUEEEEAK! But if you turned the light back on, you’d see them just standing around peacefully, maybe whistling, with one of those “Who, me?” looks on their faces.