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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.

 

🙂

 

 

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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! 🙂

 

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#RattieShaming: Who was going all the way to the back, climbing all the way to the top, only to get into our toiletry bag and try some of our toothpaste? Our sneaky pet rat of course. :)

#RattieShaming: Who was going all the way to the back, climbing all the way to the top, only to get into our toiletry bag and try some of our toothpaste? 😉

 

” Today I munched through the toothpaste tube and had a bit of Maximum Cavity Protection Gel. It was delicious! And now my teeth feel fresh and clean. 🙂

Oh yes, and thanks to my 5 minutes of naughtiness, my #RatSitter can finish this tube for the next month or so, squeezing the toothpaste out of the side. Nice. 😉 ”

 

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This rattie rascal managed to go into the furthest corner, climb the tallest shelf and sneak into the top box, just for a moment of peace and quiet away from the rest of the clan. 😉

 

Don’t underestimate the cleverness of rats. Having a pet rat can bring great joy to your life. But, like any curious and intelligent creatures, they can be mischievous and outwit you.

If you need convincing, quickly read: Why you need to ratproof your home. 😉

Don’t wait until one of your favourite tops / belts or expensive gadgets / ear phones are munched up by these munchkins. Making your home ratproof only means getting organised and keeping things neat, so take this as a motivation to get your life in order:

– Seal all potential holes

Ratties are explorers. If you let them free-roam, ensure they cannot possibly escape by checking for and sealing any openings in your home. Remember, if their head can fit through, the hole is big enough for the whole rattie to get through.

– Pack your things away

Get rid of all that clutter. Don’t bother putting it ‘out of reach’ – this concept doesn’t exist in rat world, rats can get anywhere they want, and that’s mostly because they’re so darn stubborn about it! I’ve witnessed rats walk up walls, jump up furniture and pull themselves up with just their upper body strength. They’re amazing acrobats and fun to watch in their adventures.

– Protect your plants

Rats burrow. If you don’t want your plants to be dug out or tunnelled under, place heavy – and I mean heavy – stones on top of your pot plants’ soil. I’ve caught pet rats work in teamwork to remove rocks from my large palm tree pot…

– Organise your cables

Rats love to chew cables, especially when electricity runs through them. I once saw a pet rat electrically charged after she bit through the stereo cable and caused the fuse to blow. She was fine and I suspect she liked it… that tingly feeling on their teeth… Wire your cables through a cable tube or wrap them in a cable zipper.

– Don’t leave food around

Rats are scavengers and will steal your food or anything edible. They won’t necessarily eat it though, but hoard it, and possibly somewhere unreachable. As rats are extremely picky with their food, chances are you end up with it going off somewhere unknown. Always feed your pet rats in their cage, so if they do steal food, they’ll bring it there.

– Clean up after yourself

Rats are not dirty: They groom themselves more often than cats and are naturally housetrained. It is us humans who leave dirt behind that attracts rats in the first place. Don’t blame rats for your bad habits. Clean up right away, so it’s out of the way.

– Prevention is always best

All these simple means are not only keeping your pet rats at bay, but also prevent wild rats from bothering you. Once you have a rat problem, it’s very difficult to get rid of them: Poison is not only inefficient and cruel, it is also likely to kill more wildlife than actual rats.

 

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As cute as it looks, the burning question remains: What was rattie Siri busy doing in our couch?

 

Pet rats are very easy to keep: They don’t need to be walked or exercised, they don’t need much space and they are easy to feed as they have nutritional requirements pretty similar to humans.

But, like any other pet, rats require time and attention:

Rats love to roam and explore, they go on quests and rummage. It is fun to watch them.

 

However, from a rat’s perspective your space is their space, and that can cause some conflicts:

– Rats have ever-growing teeth and need to gnaw or grind them regularly. Make sure it’s not your favourite object that falls prey to this foraging behaviour.

– Rats love to build nests and have the perfect shredder mechanism. Their razor-sharp incisors will go through your couch / curtains / bedding like butter.

– Rats are scavengers and hoarders. That means whatever dirty secrets you have hidden beneath the couch, they will find it, and keep it.

– Rats are opportunists and curious to the ‘killed the cat’ level. Coupled with a determination that would leave the Terminator taken aback, they will get to that place that you thought they’d never reach. So prepare. For ALL eventualities.

 

Coming up next: How to ratproof your home. 🙂

 

Follow my blog and read more on why Rats Make Great Pets.

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