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Reputations September 09, 2004 1:57 PM

How can we help to improve the reputations of rats? Because some people are just so stubborn, they won't listen to a word. It's just 'eww, no, eww, sewers, eww that's disgusting!' So if they are so ignorant, what can we do? That's a sincere question by the way, not rhetorical.  [ send green star]
 September 10, 2004 12:47 PM

Hi Catriona, One thing that helps is having 3 active healthy rat forums here on Care2. People with even slightly open minds have got to be thinking that this many people can't be totally crazy. Another thing-whenever people are talking about pets, I casually mention rats. Then I let them be curious and ask questions. They usually end up being intrigued rather than repelled by rats. Lee  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Hmm September 11, 2004 1:04 AM

That's good! But my problem is that Londeners are the most CLOSEDMINDED people on earth. My friend mentioned at youth club yesterday that I have pet rats and everybody laughed. I have a hot temper and I felt like KILLING them - throwing stones at them or twisting their necks off... excuse me, sorry about my violent nature. I don't really show it in real life (usually) but I can't stand ignorant people, because it's just like there's no hope and nothing we can do.  [ send green star]
Horrible experiences September 11, 2004 6:48 AM

I think you have to be patient with people. I've never been afraid of rats but I really didn't get what fabulous friends they can be. Not many people do unless they get a chance to interact with them. I have friends who are terrified of rats. One friend had a panic attack in my house when the boys accidentally brought Jimmy downstairs. She is well and truly afraid. She had tried to get over the fear in University where she was using rats in a lab, but it didn't help. Another friend remembers having to get firewood from her basement as a child and in the dark the rats would be scrurrying around her and to this day she is so afraid. You can't really knock someone's fear. One guy who had me babysit his 80 or so mice when he went on vacation was afraid of rats. I kind of laughed at him because I just see them as really big mice, plus I had to tell him I didn't like mice because they BITE. My boys have never bitten any human hard enough to hurt. Nibbles to see if my fingernail or tips are food, but no blood. When he got a chance to hold them, he better understood them. Ditto for my dad who thinks of them as vermin. I had to answer the door and had the rats on me. Some visitors freak out so I just dumped the boys on his shoulders. He had this really goofy look on his face when I got back because the boys were systematically cleaning him. He still thinks they are vermin but he did help cut the wood for their new condo. I don't think anger really helps anything, it is mere ignorance and fear that makes people dislike rats. Hey...a neat fact, here in Canada rats are BANNED from the whole province of Alberta. Can't own one legally and all wild ones have been eradicated. Word has it that one man single handedly destroyed all rats in Alberta and lobbied for legislation against them as pets. Hows that for extreme prejudice?  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
GRRR September 11, 2004 6:58 AM

What a stupid man, you know ,seriously, if I saw him killing a rat and I had a gun with me, I would have shot him. I'd regret it terribly afterwards, not only would I get into trouble, I'd feel guilty too. But you're right, I should be more patient. I've never got into trouble for my temper because I work hard at controlling it, but it really bothers me. Plus, even if I don't do anything aggressive, all my friends agree that if I get offended my face goes bright red, my eyes go big and I bare my teeth. Which is strange, because I never remember doing it! But if I use it constructively it will be useful. In my belief all animals are equal to humans, so it shocks me when people kill them, because technically it is murder. And rats are the cutest, sweetest things ever and they are the most prejudiced! >:O GRRRR!  [ send green star]
Hmm September 11, 2004 7:00 AM

But from now on, I will be more patient. How do you suggest I work on the ignorance of Londoners?  [ send green star]
Important Rat Info September 11, 2004 4:57 PM

Dangerous Foods Foods NEVER to feed your rat chocolate--contains stimulants that can cause heart failure or neurological poisoning. licorice--neurological poisoning raw beans--anti-nutrients that destroy vitamin A and enzymes rats need to digest proteins and starches. Also may cause red blood cells to clump. carbonated drinks--rats can't burp, causes a significant amount of discomfort and god knows what else. raw sweet potato--compounds form cyanide in the stomach. bleu cheese --the mold is toxic to rats. raw red cabbage--antinutrient that destroys thiamin raw brussel sprouts--antinutrient that destroys thiamin. raw artichokes--inhibits protein digestion orange juice --can cause kidney cancer in males only. green bananas--makes it difficult to digest starches. green potato skin and eyes--contains a toxin called solanine. rhubarb--contains high levels of oxalates. Foods to feed with CAUTION--that is, not too often. dried corn (often sold as entire cobs in pet and feed stores)--may be carcinogenic. Also watch out for cucumber, radishes, spinach, collards and turnip greens. beets--include oxalates, which bind up calcium. almonds--include oxalates, which bind up calcium. Swiss chard--include oxalates, which bind up calcium.  [ send green star]
Ignorance of Londoners September 12, 2004 6:03 AM

Hey Catriona, would you be able to have a day to bring your rats in to show and tell with your youth group? Something that I've noticed is that when people actually see rats behaving like pets that they soon figure out they aren't vicious disease ridden vermin. Watching a rat clean itself like a cat is an eye opening experience for people not used to them. They are really "clean" animals except for the urine thing. My boys quite like the scent of "eau de rat". You could bathe them before they go if you think smell is an issue. If your boys have tricks they do that can impress too. They are incredibly smart. Even something simple like hiding a treat under a little container and teaching your rats that there is a surprise under the thing. The biggest problem is ignorance and you can't really fight it with words, just with experience. And be patient. Rats got a huge bad rap through history with plagues and such. Plus the media seems to like the sensational so when a stupid person leaves a starving pet rat near a baby and it eats it or when abandonned pet rats multiply and overtake someone's home, the media is there to get it on camera and villify them. No one announces how sweet and even tempered or smart they are. Doesn't sell papers.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Hmm September 13, 2004 8:01 AM

I did take them to youth club once and they all loved them. But they seem to forget. And this other girl in my other youth club called Danielle had a pet rat, which she starved to death. She says that she doesn't want to go near another rat, because she'll deliberately kill it. She goes - 'rat, eughr' *fake shudder*. Actually, I think she is REALLY evil. Reasons I think this: 1) She suddenly started hating me for a reason I haven't discovered yet; apparently I 'grassed' on her which even if true is a pathetic reason to hate somebody. 2) She is now trying to ruin my life 3) When my sister told everyone I fancied Zak (just a rumour) she immediately started flirting with him. 4) She is getting very friendly to my best friend - first she has never spoken to her, then next day she is inviting her every day to her house, then have a sleepover afterwards. 5) She tells my best friend not to be friends with me and spends the whole time complaining about me. 6) She tells my best friend (who is 11, four yrs younger than me) about the dirty things she has been doing with her boyfriend (not at all suitable a topic for someone that age, let alone for Danielle to be doing at 14) 7) She is trying to get my best friend into things underage, that are not only immoral, but illegal too. 8) She is always hanging around with my best friend at school, which annoys my best friend who has just started and is trying to make friends her own age 9) When my best friend accidentally called Danielle 'Catriona', Danielle said 'eww, don't call me that geek' (and I still haven't figured out what I did to deserve it) 10) She is openly cheating on her boyfriend(s) 11) She deliberately killed her pet rat and laughed about it afterwards (no regret, and would do it again) 12) The thing I said she said above (about killing rats) she said deliberately in my earshot to hurt my feelings 13) My best friend is young and gullible, and is being tempted by Danielle to stop caring about education and start 'doing things' at 11yrs and have material values (fashion etc.) I can't think of anything to excuse these things; I have tried, in an attempt to console myself but it doesn't work. And they are all TRUE facts. I'm sorry! I didn't mean to ruin the group atmosphere with my teenage difficulties, I just needed somebody to confide in and you are really nice people.  [ send green star]
Sorry September 13, 2004 8:04 AM

Sorry!Sorrysorry  [ send green star]
Thanks September 13, 2004 8:06 AM

Thanks Cindy, I only knew about the chocolate because of the phenylxanthines - caffeine and theobromine, but I didn't know about the other stuff. I will try to remember as much of it as I can.  [ send green star]
Chocolate references September 13, 2004 11:57 AM

I actually posted these on the other rat site. They are references to chocolate being good for rats with respiratory ailments: I know when my Rocky was sick I'd give him a chocolate chip each day to help ease his breathing along with his dose of antibiotic to kill the bug causing it. Sorry about the teen ills. Creepy about the kid starving her rat. I have a friend who talked about her fish tank and how she just stopped feeding them and they lasted another 6 months before they died. It really creeped me out how people can be so unfeeling. With all the horrible atrocities in the world I guess it isn't surprising when monsters start by torturing animals. Hope things get better for you. Theresa  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Hmm September 13, 2004 12:05 PM

Hmm I don't think Danielle has feelings. I'm drinking a glass of vermouth because my parents say I should know what it's like to get drunk. It's REALLY nice. Anyway, about the chocolate... my rats are getting a bit sneezy, so maybe I'll give them half a chocolate chip everyday and if it gets worse I'll take them to the vets again and hope they do something. Ok, I'm getting really sleepy... byebye, Catriona  [ send green star]
"Rats" - the book September 14, 2004 8:45 AM

What makes you think all of your other groups have been abandoned? I'm certainly still a member of this one! Do you have any others - other than the left-handed group? There is a book out entitled, "Rats" about the New York City rat and its evolution. Has anyone read it?  [ send green star]
Hmm September 14, 2004 12:10 PM

Yes I have an aquarians group, but if you are Taurus, you may find it wierd. I like this group, I just thought it was abandoned because one day nobody posted.  [ send green star]
"Rats" book September 23, 2004 12:50 AM

YES! I read this book, and i REALLY liked it! I found it was well-written, easy to follow and very interesting. Be WARNED, though! As the author says in the Introduction, it's NOT meant for people who keep rats as pets; he himself is clearly not one of "us," and some of the stories he relates are a wee bit disturbing (i.e. cruelty & violence toward rats). However, if you can handle that, you will learn a LOT about rats and their history in this country, esp. NYC. I've never been there myself, and i still found the whole book fascinating. Of course, it didn't hurt that there was a chapter on Milwaukee, where i AM from.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Hmm September 24, 2004 2:04 AM

Has anyone read 'the amazing morris and his educated rodents'?  [ send green star]
Hmm September 24, 2004 2:07 AM

Well, my Aquarians group really has been abandoned. So it's true about aquarians not being very committed!  [ send green star]
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