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These tomatoes were planted by our pet rat MJ.

These tomatoes were planted by our pet rat MJ.

 

Pet rats are ideal for small apartments. When we lived in a tiny bachelor flat, too small for a dog or a cat, we could still have pet rats.

 

Rats of course see it the other way round: Everything belongs to them and they generously share it with their humans.

 

Including whatever we tried to grow on the balcony: It would quickly succumb to become the rattie garden.

 

Plants our ratties didn’t like – or maybe liked too much – were soon uprooted, and no matter how much we tried to look out for the little oak tree, leaves would mysteriously disappear one by one until only a little stump was left.

 

But it’s not all destructive what rats do. Just look at this bountiful tomato plant.

This tomato plant grew out of nowhere and is even bearing fruit!

This tomato plant grew out of nowhere and is even bearing fruit!

 

While in my rattie tip I recommend growing a rattie garden for some fresh greens for your pet rats from their leftover seeds, it of course also gets shaped by the ratties themselves.

 

In this case our rattie MJ had nicked some tomato. Searching a place for safekeeping away from her clan, she decided the best way to hide it was by burying it in our barren balcony plant pot.

 

When to my amazement something started to grow in the rattie garden that I couldn’t identify, I suspected our ratties had something to do with it.

 

But I never thought it could turn into a whole tomato bush bearing fruit. And now our ratties have even more tomatoes they can steal! 😉

These tomatoes grew themselves - with a little help from our rats.

These tomatoes grew themselves – with a little help from our rats.

 

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Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

 

Our first rattie garden started by accident:

 

To my surprise something began growing in the abandoned flower pot on our balcony.

It was tomatoes!

 

Seems like rats have a green thumb, well if they had a thumb.

 

Because this is what happened:

One of our pet rats wanted to hide her treat – a cherry tomato – away from the rest of the clan.

She left it in a flower pot on our balcony. Really a great hideout, especially if you bury the treasure.

 

The tomato plant thrived and everyone had a good portion of delicious cherry tomatoes.

 

I contribute this to our pet rats:

They played an important part in loosening up the soil to the point that it flew in form of sand dust into our apartment, planting new seeds even if they were no seeds at all but rather food stolen from our plates, and trimming the plants sometimes with the result of total destruction.

 

Well, without our pet rats, the rattie garden would’ve never started.

So if they want to demolish it all and start anew with a different plant, then so be it.

 

It’s a bit like tending to a zen garden, just that the ratties add a random wrecking factor which teaches you to let go of the things as they are and understand that nothing is lost, it just comes back in a different way.

 

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Rats typically own the place. You’ll find quick enough that pet rats have no qualm being in charge of your home if you let them free roam – just make sure you ratproof your place first.

 

And as they go about their daily duty to check up on their territory, they get to know your place inside and out. This includes – and I guess we all, including the ratties, agree on this – the best place to sleep: The bed!

 

When I see ratties running about on the bed, I want to be a rat!

Just imagine this giant duvet that when you jump about it just lets you sink in like a fluffy cloud.

 

However, there is a downside to it: Rats gnaw.

They can’t help themselves, they have ever growing teeth and need to grind them down regularly.

 

And if your sheet gets in the way it simply gets shredded:

That’s why when I’m #RatSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. ;)

That’s why when I’m #RattieSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. 😉

 

So make sure you put on some old sheets when you want your ratties to have access to your bed. You might also be lucky and your rats don’t shred.

 

Either way you’re going to be in for a treat: Ratties snuggling up to you under the duvet is just too adorable to miss!

 

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

 

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I love photography. I love rats.

 

So I do #PortRATure: www.flickr.com/photos/trulyjuly/collections/72157675420886104. 😉

 

I take portRATures of my own ratties, when I ratsit, when I get commissioned.

 

And every now and then I do a proper photo shoot with props and all:

Rattical Valentine's

Rattical Valentine’s

 

And every now and then I get a wow awesome shot:

Rattie Sisters

Rattie Sisters

 

But does anyone actually have an idea how hard it is to take photos of rats?

 

Because, my gosh, these guys are fast! And they are curious! And they are skittish!

 

The only way to get a good shot is to gain their trust and get them to relax, which in rattie world is still only a fraction of the time actually needed for a good photo.

 

For every one picture that is acceptable, there are multitudes of photo bombs, blurs, moving out of frame or completely disappearing, accidental pees or poos, dismantling of sets and props, and general chaos.

 

But of course, that’s why we love our pet rats: Because they have their own mind and do their own thing, and often end up in funny or surprising situations you couldn’t have made up: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

Hey Missy Bean, how do you like your freshly cleaned cage?

 

I actually enjoy cleaning the rattie cage.

 

Maybe it’s because the ratoots are so very interested in everything that’s happening in or around their cage, this interaction alone makes me happy.

 

But it’s also the opportunity to escape everyday life and all its worries and enter the rattie world.

 

And because in their world ratties are boss, a lot of things are determined by them. For example, how the cage is structured:

Who sleeps where, who eats first, where is the toilet, what material is being used, which nest is being moved, who gets to choose their favourite spot and who has to stay out, is all being decided by the rats.

 

These are entertaining dynamics which change and evolve all the time, so it’s like watching a soap opera.

 

The creativity how to build and revamp your rattie cage is endless. There are even rat cages made from cupboards or doll houses, so you get a chance to play architect, too.

 

This is where the analogy to the zen garden comes in:

Even if my world is in chaos, in rattie world I can easily achieve order. It’s a confined space I can manage to overview and maintain.

Cleaning is an accomplishment and because rats are so interactive, I get feedback, or at least acknowledgement, right away. I can make changes and I can make improvements.

I can come up with new clever ideas for toys or things to gnaw on or other little entertaining gimmicks.

 

And then I get to see how much fun the ratties have with it.

 

And because rats have their own mind, their reaction is often different and unexpected, so there’s always an element of surprise.

 

As with this scenario, where my ratties were not impressed with my cleaning attempts and sent me a very clear message to stay out:

They dragged toys and stones from different levels of the cage into their box to build proper obstacles and then pulled the lid of the box shut.

I find this hilarious!

And it is these moments that make even a daunting task such as cleaning the pet cage a fun story to experience: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and on Google+. 🙂

 

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Almost too late!
This growth developed so quickly I thought it was an abscess.
As everything in a rat’s life, things happen rapidly, so don’t wait too long: If you find a lump on your pet rat, consult your vet immediately.

 

It’s the fear every pet rat owner has to live with: Cancer.

Unfortunately rats are prone to cancer and while you can try to prevent it, when it strikes there is no cure.

Sadly, tumors are one of the most common health problems and causes of death in rats, especially in females.

 

Any unusual growth your pet rat might develop needs to be checked by a vet:

No matter what it is, an abscess, a swollen gland, or a tumour, it is best to have it treated by a professional.

 

The good news: If you act fast, your pet rat can be helped.

If you detect the growth early, it is still small enough to be surgically removed with little complications. Rats heal well, especially with the help of you, modern medicine and their rattie clan.

 

The bad news: If it’s cancer, it will come back.

Operating the tumour gives relief to your pet rat. Alas, it only extends their life span to a certain degree: The cancer will return, and there are only so many times your rattie can have surgery.

 

 

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Rattie MJ enjoys her ice cube.

Rattie MJ enjoys her ice cube.

 

When the days get hot, rats can do very little to stay cool:

They don’t sweat, they don’t pant. The only way they can release heat is through their tail.

 

Help your pet rats to cool down by giving them ice cubes as a #RattieTreat. Even if made from just plain tap water, ratties love them.

 

Bonus Tip: Make it an extra special treat by adding a bit of juice, and your ratoots will love you even more when you hand out these miniature ice popsicles. 🙂

 

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