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Tag Archives: #RattieSitting

 

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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Not the healthiest of treats – but then again, not much worse than your average breakfast cereal. Plus, modelling for a PortRATure photoshoot is quite exhausting and can be rewarded with a special treat. 😉

 

Accordingly Yoshi cannot believe his luck when he’s presented with a marie biscuit:

Rattie Yoshi is tentative: Biscuits don't just lie around like this!

Rattie Yoshi is tentative: Biscuits don’t just lie around like this!

 

He really looks like thinking: “Quick! Let me get this piece before anyone notices!”

"When there's a biscuit, grab it!"

“When there’s a biscuit, grab it!”

 

But of course, there’s nowhere to hide:

"I'll just munch it right here and now then."

“I’ll just munch it right here and now then.”

 

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Yoshi and Sybil are bosom buddies.

Yoshi and Sybil are bosom buddies.

 

This friendship forged already long before the #RattieSitting:

 

Apparently these two met at work!

Yes, some are lucky enough to take their pets to work, even when the pet turns out to be a rat. 😉

 

Obviously Yoshi was totally smitten by gorgeous Sybil and because they get along so well, they got to meet for playdates at work.

 

While #RatSitting they got 2 weeks of that, just play play play, adventure and mischief and all: Because it was these two who’d go roaming about.

 

If you let your pet rats roam freely it’s important you ratproof your home. But you can only do so much, best is to keep your ratties in an enclosed and safe space.

 

So while all the other ratoots were mostly content hanging about rat city alone, making me feel at ease managing 17 ratties, here we have two adolescents who venture further. That calls for trouble!

 

And of course Sybil managed to chomp a piece out of our monitor cable – just a tiny bit, nothing to worry about; but she did give it a try.

And of course Yoshi was already on the top of the stairs – greeting me friendly, what a lovely welcome; but he did go quite far.

 

Still the cuteness of these two is just heart melting, and it is so lovely to see how they care about each other.

Rats are so gentle, they have so much love to give.

And so much entertainment to offer, it never gets boring with these critters, because one thing is sure:

Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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The dynamics of rat clans are very sophisticated and quite impressive. Impressive because if even little rodent animals like rats can learn to live together in unity, why can’t we.

 

When new recruits arrive, the previously settled roles within the rattie bunch are shaken up and maybe even up for grabs, so might some of the more opportunistic pet rats think.

 

Luckily, my ratties have gotten so used to visitors, they are super relaxed about sharing their territory. Somehow that makes their home a neutral zone: It is often their cage everybody flocks to and shares a meal or some cuddles.

 

But the visiting ratties are coming in their own cage, with their own smells, so they indeed have a home away from home.
Rats are super sensitive to smells, and they mark each other and everything in between to reconfirm belonging to one clan. I think it’s important for rats to be able to go back to their familiar home and not be completely uprooted when going for RattieSitting.

 

But of course that makes their cage equivalent to their territory.

 

My observation is that if there are many ratties, like for example Camilla’s 8, they are pretty relaxed about their space, as they are used to ratoots coming and going.
But if it’s only 2 pet rats, like Fendi and Cher, and they’re new to the whole ‘let’s meet other rats’ idea, they can turn a bit possessive over their space.

 

So when Mulan and Harley, two black hooded cutsie sisters, visited their lookalike Cher, she was not so impressed.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

Mulan says hi to Cher, who however reacted in a territorial manner to these advances.

 

Whenever they encountered each other, there was some huffing and puffing going on, a rat’s way to indicate they are ready to fight for their right. The right for what is not always that clear, so I just kept on separating them when they came to close for comfort.

 

Rats can be very persistent, and Mulan and Harley kept on going back to Cher, but yet again, it wouldn’t go well.
I sometimes had to lock Mulan and Harley in one of the other cages, because they wouldn’t leave Cher alone.
They even managed to sneak into Cher and Fendi’s cage every now and then, and that was really a no-go zone for them, also Fendi agreed on that one.

 

However, outside of this specific Fendi and Cher cage area, everything was totally fine. They could eat, sleep and cuddle together, no problem.

 

So maybe there was hope that they could transfer the friendship’s locale.

 

And indeed: On the very last day of the RattieSitting Cher and Harley were one heart and one soul in Fendi and Cher’s travel cage.
Where they had stood upright, confronting each other, swaying in the attempt to dominate, they now sat side by side like good old pals. Some stretching, and then some more relaxing.

I couldn't believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher's travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

I couldn’t believe my eyes: Cher and Harley in harmony side by side in Cher’s travel cage. Forgotten are all territorial disputes.

 

Even with 17 ratties from 4 different clans, they manage to achieve harmony eventually.

 

To me, this is the bliss of RattieSitting. I love watching these clever little munchkins, it’s better entertainment than TV.

 

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Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

 

Looking after 17 ratties!

 

Rat City is taking over our bedroom with 4 medium sized rat cages, 1 small cage, and 3 travel cages:

Across the south wall, all blocked up so no chance of draft, the cages continue onto the desk. Which is where the rattie exploration must stop, with office cables on the far end.

Same below the desk: 2 travel cages give the opportunity to play and settle, as the ratoots are not allowed further.

Instead, why not give Agatha and Eleanor a visit, who have their cage in my original rattie cage location. Because they don’t react well to stress, they sit a bit apart from rat city, only connected by the bridge, which can be removed if they need a bit more quiet time.

 

I thought it’d be a big job.

 

But besides having to do some more cleaning, all the ratties are well behaved. You hardly notice it’s so many, because all they do is cuddle in bigger packs.

The variety of cages and rattie friends is enough entertainment for them to stay put. Most of the ratoots only interact within the boundaries of rat city.

The few curious culprits who roam the entire room are noted and easy to watch out for. Especially when they actually come to greet you, like Yoshi does when he’s on top of the staircase. What a nice way to be welcomed into your own bedroom. 🙂

 

It is inspiring to see how all these different characters manage to find harmony.

Because not all of them get along: There is quite a bit of rivalry and territorial protection going on.

 

A rat who’s boss in one clan might clash with a rat who’s boss in another clan.

And rat who is used to only one other rat messing about in their cage might get a tad irritated when another rat comes not only to visit, but actually to stay and set up camp.

 

There are a few odd squeaks of protest, but rats have the most funniest and actually impressive way to solve conflict: Through cuddles.

A rat’s way of showing their domination is through vigorous grooming of the inferior rat. So there might be a lot of huffing and puffing going on, but it always gets resolved through devoted preening.

 

Rat City offers enough space for the ratties to avoid each other and sort any conflicts in their own time. And because I leave the cages open, they can choose who to hang with.

Sometimes with surprising results: Rats who might have not gotten along so well in their own clan all of the sudden team up, with so many other ratties around. New pet rats meet and make friends. Odd pairs match up in their quest to explore.

 

The dynamics and interactions are more entertaining than the best soap opera.

Maybe that’s because as soon as you, the spectator, come forward you’re totally engulfed in rattie attention. And when it’s 17 of them, that’s a lot of rattie love! ❤

 

Rats are so tender, timid and sweet, it’s the most humbling experience: For these little skittish critters to trust you, come to you, and shower you in rattie kisses, to be acknowledged, inspected and not only welcomed into their clan, but actively sought out to be part of it, I can only ever conclude:

 

Rats make great pets!

 

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Step 1: Insert rat into flowerpot

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

 

Step 2: Adjust flowerpot to rat’s liking

 

Step 3: Let rat settle

 

Voila! Rat has grown a little – maybe 😉

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

 

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Since I have pet rats, salad has always been a staple addition to my ratties’ diet. I even met a pet shop owner who fed salad as a water substitute.

So to my great surprise I see iceberg salad show up in lists of ‘what not to feed your rat’. Digging a bit deeper I find the reason for this: Apparently iceberg salad has little nutritional value and consists mostly of water.

That makes it a great snacking treat!

Especially on hot days, salad is a great way to keep your ratties hydrated.

As long as they have always access to their usual complete and balanced pet food they can also eat iceberg salad.

Ratties simply love chewing salad, to the degree that they turn into salad thieves!

Watch how much rattie MJ enjoys munching away on the salad:

If you’re really concerned about nourishment, stick to more nutritional salads such as romaine or butter lettuce or go for leafy greens such as spinach or kale.

Alternatively, turn the low nutrition levels into a benefit feeding iceberg salad to ratties who need to lose a bit of weight.

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