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Say Cheese! 😀

Say Cheese: Ratties Milka and Cinnamonkey smile for the camera, just little April doesn't get it. ;)

Say Cheese: Ratties Milka and Cinnamonkey smile for the camera, just little April doesn’t get it. 😉

The ratties smile for the camera, but not everyone gets it. 🙂

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Rats make great pets.

 

But people have the weirdest prejudices against them, reinforced by hype creating click-bait media.

One stereotype against rats is that they are messy.

 

I’ve lived for over 20 years with pet rats, and find them really well organised.

From diligently even at an old age going to the toilet to tackling obstacles in team work, I’ve seen it all.

 

Still, at a first glance rats can look messy to the untrained eye.

But there’s always a deeper purpose behind the action of a rat.

 

Here for example we have the rattie food bowl – note the handmade touch – which is covered in newspaper strips.

Pretty neat: The ratties covered up their food for safekeeping.

Pretty neat: The ratties covered up their food for safekeeping.

 

There’s a good reason for it: Beneath it the rattie food is protected, against dust and dirt, against flies and bugs, against unwanted preying eyes, or who knows what – it’s a rats! world.

Because there’s nothing else they can use, they tear apart newspaper, bring it up to the bowl and place it carefully over the food, to cover it all.

 

In rattie world this is a neatly done job.

 

I think it says a lot about rats, that they care enough about the state of their food that they make a point to cover it up for the day for safe- and freshkeeping.

So no, rats are not messy. They just make do with what they’ve got.

 

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Rats have ever growing teeth that need constant grinding down. They keep their teeth short by bruxing or of course gnawing. They have to, it’s what rodents do.

 

When it comes to the ability to gnaw through concrete, maybe a super power type of skill that can be respected.

When it comes to your clothes, bags, shoes, sheets, blankets, towels, you name it, not so cool.

 

Here a friendly reminder to make sure your home is ratproof:

 

This was one of those reusable shopping bags, quite handy if you want to stop using plastic bags.

Reusable shopping bag

Reusable shopping bag

 

Quite comfy too it seems, at least if you’re a rat. We kept this reusable shopping bag in a box that had an opening just big enough for pet rats to squeeze through…

Next time we wanted to use it, the handles were chewed off!

 

So I gave it to our ratties, clearly they liked it as nesting material. And this is what they’ve done with it:

There is beauty in destruction: Pet rats are master shredders!

There is beauty in destruction: Pet rats are master shredders!

 

That’s why you must always ratproof your home.

 

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Molly enjoys hanging atop of Smudge's cage. Smudge is happy about her company too.

Molly enjoys hanging atop of Smudge’s cage. Smudge is happy about her company too.

 

RattieSitting pet rats sometimes brings a whole lot of ratties together. The dynamics are fascinating: Every rat has their own personality, and sometimes this gels with an unlikely match.

When Smudge is around for #rattiesitting, he certainly brings a lot of dynamics into the rattie crowd, because he’s the only buck who’s still intact.

The girls flock to him and trick me with clever manoeuvre: Like when I clean Smudge’s cage, and unexpectedly out of nowhere one of the girls jumps on my shoulder from quite a distance, only to then sneakingly slide down my back, in such a slight and light manner that she just seems to disappear into thin air, but actually made her way over to her object of desire.

Alas, the interaction can only ever take place through cage bars.

That didn’t deter Molly though: She decided to set up camp atop of Smudge’s cage.

Molly enjoys snuggling up under the blanket that covers Smudge’s cage from draft. In addition his heater gives off a comfy warmth that makes every rat just relax. So she spent the night, laying stretched out flat atop the cage bars, one foot and her tail dangling down. Even though they can’t be together, they can still be close to each other.

That’s #RattieLove for you! ♥

 

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Peaches is so adorably cute. :)

Peaches is so adorably cute. 🙂

 

I’m happily #RattieSitting and decide to give a round of treats, which also gives me an opportunity to check up on everyone.

 

During the day pet rats sleep most of the time, so they’re all hidden away in their nests.

 

A #RattieTreat is a welcomed addition to a lazy sunny afternoon.

 

I portion the treats and place them in each cage. The ratties smell the new food right away, but some of them only slowly wake up, yawning and stretching their arms.

 

As one by one comes out to take their share, I watch and count: Peaches, where’s Peaches?

 

I look in every box, nest and hammock, which is now possible as they’re all empty. I can’t see Peaches. I look again.

 

A slight panic is starting to creep up as my mind races: When did I last see Peaches? When did I last open the cage? And: Hang on, wouldn’t she be close by anyhow?

 

So I call her: “Peaches!”

 

Behind me, inside the cage, a box rattles that I had forgotten about, it’s a flat cereal box, tucked away right beneath the hammock.

 

Out comes Peaches.

 

🙂

 

 

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

 

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Pet rat Rosie decides the quickest way is straight up the wall. ;-)

Pet rat Rosie decides the quickest way is straight up the wall. 😉

 

Pet rats are clever little munchkins and stubborn, too: There’s hardly a place they can’t get to, especially if they’ve set their mind to it.

A lot of my pet rats particularly like climbing up and sitting on top of the highest piece of furniture. The way to get there varies and can include all sorts of interesting stunts.

One option to get up is simply running up the wall, and as most furniture sits slightly away from the wall, the space in between makes this feat quite possible for rats.

 

One of the most enjoyable pastimes with pet rats is simply watching them:

Their acrobatic skills are impressive, their clever tricks to overcome hurdles inspirational, and their sheer will and determination are humbling.

Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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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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