Roommates Not A Big Fan of the Rats February 18, 2005 10:23 AM
Hello everyone! I just joined, and I'm very excited to be in the group.
Now although I don't have any rats as of right now, I really, REALLY want one! (And this isn't a spur of the moment thing either, I've wanted one since about my junior year of high school...so for about 4 1/2 years now!) I just have a cat at home, and I don't want her eating any of my pets when I go home.
However, I'm planning on getting one next year. I'm going to Europe this summer, and would be without proper care for one during the summer months, and I don't want to do that to a new pet. The only problem is that I'm living with 3 other girls, and as far as I know, I'm the only one who carries this appreciation (and huge desire) for the animal and I'm almost positive that the only reason that they don't have this same appreciation is because of the stereotypical, "Rats are dirty, filthy creatures that live in the sewers and infect everyone with the Bubonic Plague" haha. I'm just wondering if anyone else has had an experience somewhat like this and how they've gotten the other people to accept that they are really wonderful and friendly pets!! Suggestions?
Well, not knowing your roommates, I see that you have 3 options:
1) Do nothing and don't get any rats. (Boo, bad choice!)
2) Work with your roommates in advance by sharing lots of information about pet rats (even take them to online forums and web sites); if you know someone who has a rat you can borrow, bring it to your roommates and ask them to be open to visiting with it; talk with your roommates logically about why they don't want pet rats and then work to overcome their objections; explain the difference between a domestic pet fancy rat and a wild or sewer rat (it's like the difference between a wild lion and a domestic kitty cat; or
3) Get the ratties, keep them in your room, and to hang with the roommates!!
Obviously, choice number two is the most respectful of your relationship with your roommates!
Good luck. Let us know if you need any information to support your cause! We're behind you 100%
Oh, and I agree about trying to ease/educate your roommates on the idea of having rats. You can't force anyone to get over their wierd cultural animal bigotries, but hopefully they'll value their intellect over irrational fear and see the light.
The one thing I have to say is that if you're going to get a rat....get two. Otherwise your little one will be horribly lonely and depressed whenever you go to school/work/bar/whatever. I had a solitary rat at first (years ago) and she was SO happy when I finally got her a friend for her birthday. Our vet said he had never seen rats bond so closely (they were inseperable), and I'm sure it's because she really appreciated every second with her buddy after being alone for so long and not having anyone to sleep with. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it! Rats are pack-oriented animals, so you gotta accommodate that.
[ send green star]
Here's a great negotiation phrase I learned from my boss recently:
"What are your specific concerns about doing ____________?"
So in this case, "What are your specific concerns about having pet rats in the apartment?"
That way they have to give you a solid reason for not wanting rats (not just , "I don't know, they're yucky"), they'll hear themselves say it out loud, and you can acknowledge and address those concerns with all the facts that will no doubt completely leave their concerns unfounded.
And if that fails, just scream and cry and kick you legs until they let you have them. I've heard of plenty of kids getting ponies that way, so it will surely work for something so much smaller.
[ send green star]
I think it's wonderful that you are getting rats. Yes, most people, because of ignorance, are so against these loving animals. My suggestion to you is to "make a deal" with your room mates, that you get your rats and have them kind of "on trial" for a period of time that you all agree on. That way you get a chance to introduce these wonderful animals to your room mates, and I bet everyone will be fighting to give them attention! It's up to you then, to make sure the others get so good an impression of your new rat babies that they will be begging you to keep them!
With World Rat Day coming up, I've had a couple of requests to repost my piece called "More Than A Rat." So here it is! Thanks to all who asked, I'm flattered.
MORE THAN A RAT
As rat parents, we live the deepest love and suffer the most earnest sadness of a complete lifetime many times over in our own lives.
We watch our children grow from hesitant, shy or questioning pink babes to curious, rambunctious teenagers; testing the limits of their siblings, exploring new corners, new tunnels; tasting new baseboards or new boxes; stealing treats from each other; learning to ride on shoulders. We give them names like Stinky and Cookie and PoPo JeeJo, and talk about them with other rat parents.
We see them emerge as confident adults, enjoying the fruits of their environment but always content to go back home after a busy play time; sometimes slowly waking up from a full day of sleep as we return home; sometimes running to cage doors to greet us as we awake each morning to their loving faces, all tired out from a busy evening of nest-building, sibling-picking, cage-climbing fun. We are always and never surprised at their creativity…waterfalls sculpted of stolen tissue, food bowls buried under mounds of litter, bedding surreptitiously moved from one location to another.
We watch the fullness of their adulthood, sometimes producing babes of their own, sometimes never recognizing they had been neutered. We cherish their response to our touch; amazed that such a perfect, intelligent creature could at all be interested in our voices, our hands, and our activities. Sometimes we stare forever at their feet…perfect in every way; or stroke a tail wrapped around our chin. We marvel at the connection we have – different than with a cat, or a dog, perhaps a bit of both, but always deeply emotional.
We watch them age, their fur growing less silky, less soft and shiny, their eyes clouding with time. Sometimes our hearts sink as we caress a small lump nestled under a leg or detect the telltale rattle of myco in an elderly breath where a churr used to be. We see the slowness of limbs and the thinning of bodies with time; feel the hipbones and the shoulder blades where once was hearty muscle. We often are confronted with the grumpiness that comes with elderly aches and pains and we respect that and touch with gentle kindness and compassionate understanding.
Within two to three years our little friends have lived a full life. To us, it is a microsecond. Just a moment in time that we have been blessed to be acquainted with one, or two, or twenty, of the most incredible creatures on this earth. We have laughed so hard we cried, we have learned so much and smiled even more. We have been delighted and saddened, comforted and heartbroken.
On this God's earth, there is no companion quite so devoted, so communicative, so loving and so mesmerizing as a rat.
Thank yo so much for that. We just had to put one of our dearest rats to sleep (we love them all, but she was special). Your words were beautiful and perfectly timed. In a world where people jus don't "get it", it's so comforting to know someone really truly understands just how important these little guys are in our lives.
Thank you to all of you who responded to this topic!
My future roommates have gudgingly (is that a word?) accepted that I want rats (and since two of them have HAMSTERS, they kind of had to give in) and although they're still a little uneasy about having rats, I'm sure they'll grow to love them.