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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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You have a WHAT....???

Okay. I'm a fairly educated house monkey. I have read up on the black plague and have read 1984 (Room 101).

I have even hassled with a rat invasion of my basement/garage wherein the little monsters dealt an estimated $9000 dollars worth of damage to temporarily stored items and to my car.

So, I get that wild rats are not very popular in the west, and are really not very popular with me.

To me, domesticated rats are an entirely different thing. I put them in the exact same category as every other pet rodentia. Sure, some folks still single out the rat as being the one 'icky' rodent whilst they go on and on about their big eyed pet fuzzy gerbils. But silly me assumed that it would only be 'some' people.

I have yet to find a person in my acquaintance who has not reacted with some combination of recoiling disgust or horror when I tell them I'm getting pet rats. I take that back-I had one guy grin at me sadistically and mention bringing them over for a play date with his pet python. Dork.

But seriously...many of these people are exotic animal lovers!

Even my SISTER, who in her life has kept cats, dogs, ferrets, snakes, tarantulas, a bat, and hand raised an orphaned opossum.

Our actual conversation:

Sister: "You're strange. You've always been strange, but this is really, really strange."

Me: "Um...you have an opossum eating french fries in your kitchen and you're calling me strange?"

Sister: "Yes...you know you HAVE to be strange when your opossum owning sister calls you strange."


I have already had a parent of my storytime kids referring to me as the weird rat lady. Excuse me Mr. Man, I don't even HAVE my rats yet?


Now of course, as an educator, I'm already considering future rat ambasador opporunities in my community. But the whole experience has me wondering about its prevelence.

My fellow rat lovers, what are some stories you've had with being a 'weird rat lady/ creepy rat guy'? Also, what are some positive stories you've had with introducing your little ambasador rats to the uninitiated? Please share!


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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 06:49 PM
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Same here

Yeah, I sort of got the same response from the other teachers at my school. Then, I pulled up a picture on google of the kind of rats and most of them changed their attitudes. They said, "Oh, well, that doesn't look like a real rat so I guess that's ok."


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 07:51 PM
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I used to be "one of those people" I would avoid the rodent section at any pet store to avoid having to see the HUGE beady eyed disease carrying snake food, because they were just gross. I always made fun of my best Gal Pal Elisha when she told me that she not only had rats as pets, but she had 40 at the time, I would always tell her that I wouldn't even visit her house because she had rats. Then one day while taking my cat to the vet (where Elisha worked) there was a lady there with a shoe box, crying about how her husband had purchased these rats as food for his snake, and she couldn't let him feed them to him, because they were sooo cute! Elisha was going to take them home, but couldn't keep them at work in a box, so she asked me to take them home until she got off work at 7, it was 1pm, I did it, but wasn't happy. Well they were so tiny, and scared I held them, and that was the end of the line, we went to Petsmart at 3pm to buy them a cage, bedding, food.....and Elisha laughed at me, so hard in fact she was actually crying (Banfield Pet Hospital is in Petsmart, where Elisha worked)

And now, I'll proudly tell anyone who asks, I love my rats, so much in fact, I breed them, and I currently have 34 rats! Elish still laughs at me, but now she says "How many do you have now Lynn? I have...Your comming to Rodent Fest right?"

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath."
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 08:05 PM
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I ALWAYS get that reaction when people find out for the first time that I own rats. I start by telling them the facts: that rats are actually extremely social and very loving pets who can be trained to do tricks just like dogs! (It peaks everyone's interest when I tell them that my boys can come when called by name, spin in a circle on command, stand up, and shake hands.) Generally they'll ask: "But don't they bite??!!" To which I reply the truth: that rats--males especially--generally do not bite at all, and are actually very loyal pets. (In fact, I read somewhere that pet hamsters are WAAAAY more likely to bite and draw blood than rats are, and I believe it--I've had both, and I've only been bitten by hamsters.)

My final plug is to always tell them that my mom was absolutely terrified of rats for her entire life, and HATED them with a passion... until ten years ago, when we saw some babies in a store one day and I convinced her to buy my family a pair of brothers. Although she was still spooked by their tails, she soon loved them as much as our dog and cat, and gave them kisses and baby-talked to them, etc. I then tell the person that I can guarantee them that all they'd need to do would be to see pet rats in person, and they'd be converted.

... And I have to say that this tactic has worked 100% of the time!!! Even if the person doesn't get to the point of wanting to pet the rats, they at least begin to respect them as great companion animals. (And for my fellow office workers these days, photos of my two boys have worked wonders!)


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 12:14 PM
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Welcome to the world of rat ownership.For as long as you have rats you will get comments.I have had rats now for over 10 yrs and still get comments...

I have converted people though.I do alot of educating and promoting pet rats and even bring rats to festivals,parks and events to SHOW people how wonderful rats are.

My friend's mom used to think I was crazy for having rats and always would make comments.She called me "crazy","insane" and many other things and asked MORE THEN ONCE if my rats bit me.One day I had bit of a rescue situation where a woman dropped 8 rats off to me as she was leaving the island.I was still living with my parents at the time and mom said I could not have more then 2 (I got away with 3) and so I had to find homes for the others...my cousins took them all except for the oldest.

The oldest girl was Velvet,a beautiful rex rat and I let my friend's mom meet her.She was about 2 yrs old and very laid back for a female rat.My friend mentioned she wanted a rat,so I though no harm in trying since I had to rehome these rats that were dropped off to me.Well guess what? My friend's mom who hated rats and thought I was nuts for having rats fell in love with Velvet right then and there.She went out and got the cage,litter,food and took Velvet home.She loved Velvet,which she renamed "Missy" and the ratty was her baby.She always had her out and spoiled that little rat.

I have also been out in public with rats and people would freak out and or scream (),but after a few moments their curiousity got the better of them and they would come back over and ask questions.Some even ventured enough to pet my rats and would then be all excited they "touched a rat"...haha.

I have so many stories it is not funny.I have had people make comments when I brought rats to the vet..."why would you bring a rat to the vet!?"..."won't it just die anyway?"..."can't you just get a new one,since they don't live long?"...etc,etc,etc...People also asked me why I don't just stick with a cat or dog or another more "mainstream pet"...

I always love when I can change someone's view on rats.Domestic rats are not like the wild,damaging rats...I had a wild rat in my house last year and she chewed my stove and everything.She was pretty brave too...so I know how much of a nuisance wildies can be.But domestic rats are different and loyal and they are less likely to bite then a hamster.

All in all,there will ALWAYS be people who do not understand why we have pet rats.




* Lisa *

* To the world you are ONE person,but to a rat you are the world *


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 01:38 PM
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i actually got a lot more comments with owning an iguana than my 5 rats.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 01:52 PM
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VanillaRat, when I took my rat Mischa to the vet, a lady was there with some dashaunds, she looked me up and down, sneered and said "I hate rats, they are disgusting..." So I looked at her and said with a straight face "I hate Daushaunds, they are so annoying" and it just so happens at that exact moment, the Vet Tech Jessie was ready for me! The look on her face was priceless!!

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 03:39 PM
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haha tweedle what a great reply!
.
I also always get the "wait what you have a what? a rat?" they always think they heard wrong haha but then they meet louna and they usually say "ok yeah she's cute" but hate the tail. But all the people I meet who have had rats all tell me the same thing: they make the best pets!
.
People still believe rats give diseases. Even my coworker who's 18...
it's like... were you even alive the last time a rat gave a deadly disease to a human? the bubonic plague (which she talked to me about) was a long time ago and it was the FLEAS and my rat has no fleas thank you very much!
.
And rats can't be that disgusting: they can't throw up! haha
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 03:45 PM
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Alot of people say that to me too...the rat is cute,but they don't like the tail.

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Originally Posted by TweedleDeedle3 View Post
VanillaRat, when I took my rat Mischa to the vet, a lady was there with some dashaunds, she looked me up and down, sneered and said "I hate rats, they are disgusting..." So I looked at her and said with a straight face "I hate Daushaunds, they are so annoying" and it just so happens at that exact moment, the Vet Tech Jessie was ready for me! The look on her face was priceless!!
Great reply!!!




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* To the world you are ONE person,but to a rat you are the world *


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 05:32 PM
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I always get the EEEEEWWWWW Rats thing. When i am at my parents and have them all out the babies and this year at the fair there were some that hate and are afaid of rats but they politly ask me about them and dont start anything. I get looks from people who know I own them when I am in the store and dont really say 2 words to me and have had people call the SPCA saying I let them run wild and my house is infested with them and the neighbors houses are which is a lie they would die in the wild. The SPCA laughts when they get calls and calls me and tell me who is saying it. I have had a lot of court house visits Taking in evidence that is clasified here as harrasment.
I had one lady tell me that my rat was ugly she came right up to me and said how can you stand to be around that thing its ugly I replyed better then looking at your ugly mug all day and walked away.
Also I had another lady come up to me and this is one of thouse people who think every thing is evil except them like the lady on edward sizer hands the bible lady who came up to me in a group of friends who had there rats out and said that we were all evil and follow the devil and we sould repent and cast out the deamonds on our solders. I laught evily and said ssshhhhh dont tell any one our secret. and we all went back to our bizz she grabed my shoulder and spun me around and pointed her finger in my face and started to qoute the bible which I had a shirt on that says my wat is the highway-GOD and on of my cross neclesses and she started to call me the devils hore and all this and I was like lady hello were not evil go way please so we stood there for like 5 mins with her still pointing a finger in my face so while hoding on to my rat and grabed Tattioe thre here in the ladys face and said the Power of crist complest you and she screamed and ran away and to this day I have never seen her.
Although most people even if they dont like them will ask me about them or mind there own bizz. but more people have been interested in them then not and not to many people have said negative stuff only a few. Some people still tell me they would not personaly own one but they have pet them and held them even some that were scared and unsure of them. But its more what you love and what you think that matters and your real friends and family even though it may not be there cup of tea will love like and respect you and you intrest.


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I think you are in the wrong place buddy.
You are the weirdest cat I ever seen.
Now matter how big or small wierd or normal we or animals may be we can learn to love and get along and love is what makes it all worth wild. Becuase Beautie is in the eye of the beholder an no one is ugly or more prettyer then anything eals we are all equal. There are some ugly people and things but that is becuase man kind makes them this way do to thier actions.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Despereaux View Post
Yeah, I sort of got the same response from the other teachers at my school. Then, I pulled up a picture on google of the kind of rats and most of them changed their attitudes. They said, "Oh, well, that doesn't look like a real rat so I guess that's ok."
I have this unfortuante image of the rats in the pictures you shared all wearing 'Ratatouille' rat masks. See? Not a real rat! Lurve me!


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Originally Posted by TweedleDeedle3 View Post
I used to be "one of those people" I would avoid the rodent section at any pet store to avoid having to see the HUGE beady eyed disease carrying snake food, because they were just gross...
...And now, I'll proudly tell anyone who asks, I love my rats, so much in fact, I breed them, and I currently have 34 rats! Elish still laughs at me, but now she says "How many do you have now Lynn? I have...Your comming to Rodent Fest right?"
I've wanted a rat for 20 years, but quite frankly, the maltreated feeder rats(and I didn't know they were maltreated at the time), that you'd see in pet store really did look gross.

It really does boil down to meeting just the right rat doesn't it? LOL


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Originally Posted by breyer08 View Post

... And I have to say that this tactic has worked 100% of the time!!! Even if the person doesn't get to the point of wanting to pet the rats, they at least begin to respect them as great companion animals. (And for my fellow office workers these days, photos of my two boys have worked wonders!)
I'm totally stealing your approach.


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Originally Posted by VanillaRat View Post
Welcome to the world of rat ownership.For as long as you have rats you will get comments.I have had rats now for over 10 yrs and still get comments...

I have converted people though.I do alot of educating and promoting pet rats and even bring rats to festivals,parks and events to SHOW people how wonderful rats are.


I have so many stories it is not funny.I have had people make comments when I brought rats to the vet..."why would you bring a rat to the vet!?"..."won't it just die anyway?"..."can't you just get a new one,since they don't live long?"...etc,etc,etc...People also asked me why I don't just stick with a cat or dog or another more "mainstream pet"...

I'd love to hear more about the festivals, parks, and events. Do they ride on your shoulder? Do you bring your travel cage and hang out? How does this work?

The whole 'why bring a rat to the vet etc' thing? It bothers me to no end when people quantify a pet's worth by literally, how much it's worth. Ever notice that those same people tend to quantify the other folks in their life the same way? I mean, I get that there's a limit to what people will spend on a pet's care, but literally saying it's tossable because you only invested $3.00 on its acquisition? Sheesh.

I'm totally stealing your approach too.


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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VanillaRat, when I took my rat Mischa to the vet, a lady was there with some dashaunds, she looked me up and down, sneered and said "I hate rats, they are disgusting..." So I looked at her and said with a straight face "I hate Daushaunds, they are so annoying" and it just so happens at that exact moment, the Vet Tech Jessie was ready for me! The look on her face was priceless!!

That's beyond sweet! Hahha! I'd be all: "Isn't that a little hypocritical Lady, since you own rats too?" (point to Dachshunds)

I love weenies, but they ARE rat dogs.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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haha tweedle what a great reply!
.
I also always get the "wait what you have a what? a rat?" they always think they heard wrong haha but then they meet louna and they usually say "ok yeah she's cute" but hate the tail. But all the people I meet who have had rats all tell me the same thing: they make the best pets!
.
People still believe rats give diseases. Even my coworker who's 18...
it's like... were you even alive the last time a rat gave a deadly disease to a human? the bubonic plague (which she talked to me about) was a long time ago and it was the FLEAS and my rat has no fleas thank you very much!
.
And rats can't be that disgusting: they can't throw up! haha

As sad as it is, I really find it just fascinating that some events can be so horrible, that they completely transcend the time and place in which it occurred and scar not just the generations affected, but all future generations. How many centuries have passed since we have learned how to avoid and treat the bubonic plague? I wonder if the rat would still be so maligned in the west if it hadn't been the carrier?


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Also I had another lady come up to me and this is one of thouse people who think every thing is evil except them like the lady on edward sizer hands the bible lady who came up to me in a group of friends who had there rats out and said that we were all evil and follow the devil and we sould repent and cast out the deamonds on our solders. I laught evily and said ssshhhhh dont tell any one our secret. and we all went back to our bizz she grabed my shoulder and spun me around and pointed her finger in my face and started to qoute the bible which I had a shirt on that says my wat is the highway-GOD and on of my cross neclesses and she started to call me the devils hore and all this and I was like lady hello were not evil go way please so we stood there for like 5 mins with her still pointing a finger in my face so while hoding on to my rat and grabed Tattioe thre here in the ladys face and said the Power of crist complest you and she screamed and ran away and to this day I have never seen her.

Ignorance and the perpetuation of continued ignorance is a sad and horrible thing. Especially when it comes from people who claim to be experts. Le Sigh. A little respect and empathy goes a long way too don't they?


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 07:10 PM
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I'd love to hear more about the festivals, parks, and events. Do they ride on your shoulder? Do you bring your travel cage and hang out? How does this work?

The whole 'why bring a rat to the vet etc' thing? It bothers me to no end when people quantify a pet's worth by literally, how much it's worth. Ever notice that those same people tend to quantify the other folks in their life the same way? I mean, I get that there's a limit to what people will spend on a pet's care, but literally saying it's tossable because you only invested $3.00 on its acquisition? Sheesh.

I'm totally stealing your approach too.
Yep,I would take out the rats in my hoodies and on my shoulder.I didn't always bring a carrier,it depended on a few things.I normally took my males,as they are calmer and would sit with me...while females would wanna run and explore.

I have not taken a rat to a festival or park now in about 2 yrs...the last time I took a ratty out to The Peace-A-Chord festival here and I took his carrier along for when he got tired of everyone gawking at him.It was Zephyr,one of my favorite rats.He was so sweet and loved everyone.He was very kissy,even with people he didn't know.He was the perfect rat to take to these events.I have pictures somewhere of us at the festival.

I have taken rats out on brief walks since then,but that was the last time I been to a festival with a rat.It does get people's attention and so when they come over to investigate it is the perfect time to educate people on rats and dispel myths.

I have also taken rats to the parks,where of course kids wanna see the rats!




* Lisa *

* To the world you are ONE person,but to a rat you are the world *


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