Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rats are Rad!

Devi and Anatidae being held by auntie Liz

People just do not understand rats. I have spent most of my adult life in and out of relationships with rats, since their one downfall is a short lifespan of 2-3 years. Even with this in mind, it is worth the love investment in these tiny furry creatures regardless of the heartbreak you will later suffer.

What does this have to do with veganism? Part of me being vegan is my understanding of animals and their feelings and personalities and knowing who they are, not what they are. Animals in general are misunderstood as an object, something put on earth to use or something that can’t feel. Rats are especially subject to these misconceptions where they are readily used in animal research and so many people hate the idea of them being companion animals.

I personally describe rats as being like very small dogs, but smarter. I’ve even had a rat who once out-smarted my dog who was confused for days after she moved her nest to get away from his insistent curiosity. They are very loyal and loving as well. My rats Nicademus and Sadhu were brothers adopted at the Oregon Humane Society. I went in there with only $2 planning to not take anyone home. But there was a special, 2 for 1 deal, and rats only cost $2. It was fate that brought me so much joy and love and laughter. I remember them running up to me everyday when I would get home to greet me. They would often sleep in my arms at night or sit on my shoulder while watching tv. They were with me often and shared many wonderful moments together.

When I was faced with a decision to adopt more rats who needed a home, I asked myself what to do? I did not want any more pets at home with my two needy cats already getting so much of my attention. But then I remembered all that affection from my previous rats and knew the answer once I stopped asking my brain, and asked my heart what to do.

Devi and Anatidae are about 2 months old and already their individual personalities are shining through. Devi was named after Amrita Devi, who gave her life in the 1700s to save the forest her village relied on from being cut down. Although many people died that day in the effort Devi started, the forest was spared. This little rat is a sweet heart who is more social and more adventurous. Anatidae is the family order for ducks and geese which I did a report on for a biology class. I call her little Ana and she is much more shy than Devi, but has moments of bravery which is cute to watch.

I am so excited for years of experiences with these two adorable rats. They are a good reminder how sometimes two species can get along so amazingly well.


Cassidy Lee said...

Do you let them roam freely? Or do they have a cage and you let them out sometimes? How do the cats not chase them? AND, how do they not run away if you let them roam free? Sorry to bombard you, just curious. They are so cute!!

Chelsea said...

They live in a cage but I get them out as much as possible. They are still really young and are too skittish to be loose. I've had free-roaming rats before, but I didn't have cats then. Loki is actually scared of rats and I think Roy would just get jealous. : )

Kathy said...

I have had rats, like you, off and on for most of my life. They are my favorite small furry family member. One of my rats, Berry, named appropriately due to her fetish with strawberries, would come when called. I could holler anywhere in the house "Berry, Berry, Berry!" and she would come bouncing out from under the couch or behind a dresser. She would also lie on her back and give kisses. She was definitely a special rat and I spent a lot of time with her. I have rescued neglected rats that are very skittish but with time, consistency, and patience, they learn to trust. I love ratties and highly recommend them as an addition to a family! :)

Chelsea said...

Kathy- It is so great to hear other people have such great experiences with rats. I am experimenting with different food for them and they seem to like everything so far. I am going to have to check out your blogs, they seem really interesting!

Leah said...

Rats are incredible companions. My little Himalayan rescue girls are so friendly. Prior to rescuing, I had always purchased rats from the pet store and with the exception of one, they could never be well-socialized, but the variety in their personalities showed everyone who met them that rats were deeper creatures than the so-called "pests" that plague the subways. (Different species too, mind you!)

Just happened across your blog and I can't pass by adorable little ratties!

nicholeewert said...

ive always wanted a rat!!!! they're so cute!

and i always thought it would be cool to build them a palace and call it a "bohemian RAT-CITY".