Past Rats

I found these photos the other day of our first rats which we used to keep about ten years ago.

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Ratty

Ratty was my boyfriend’s favourite (before his allergy to rats got worse), and although he was very shy, Ratty felt happy being held by him, especially near the end of his life. Poor Ratty, his story is quite sad.
My other half found him in a local pet shop, being bullied by his siblings. He was the runt of the litter, and on several visits to the pet shop, it seemed that he was being chased away from the food dish. So my boyfriend took pity on him, and took him home.
I remember how scared Ratty was at first, and I held him in my jumper for a long time, until he fell asleep. I guess I was feeling particularly maternal because I was pregnant on my first daughter Hannah, only I didn’t know it at the time!
We didn’t know much about rats, only a friend of ours kept a lone male rat who continually scampered across the cupboards and bookshelves in his flat. I know we had a book about rats, but didn’t have access to the extensive information you can find now, via the internet.
After a couple of weeks of Ratty continuing to be very nervous of us and I was scared of him biting (he kept putting his teeth round my finger), we decided he might be happier if he had a friend. So we went back to the pet shop and bought one of his brothers, Ruby.
They were 11 weeks old when we tried to introduce them, and knowing nothing about the correct procedures of rat intros, it all went terribly wrong. Ratty was horrified that there was another rat in his territory and fluffed right up, making the most horrendous noise. In the end we didn’t know what else to do but to separate them and buy another cage for Ruby.
Ratty never got over his shyness and after a couple of years succumbed to the terrible Mycoplasmosis, his breathing got very rattly, and in the end he had to be put to sleep. I think he was about two and a half years.

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Ruby

Here’s Ruby, my dizzy boy. He was content in his own funny way. What he lacked in intelligence he made up for in his gentle quirkiness! He was given the name Ruby because of his ruby coloured eyes, and because of his effeminate nature. Ratty was the big butch boy rat, and Ruby was such a contrast – he was slight and fast, and ran about everywhere, right up until his later months, rather like female rats are inclined to do. He followed his brother to the rainbow bridge within a few short months of old age.

Today my lovely rats are eating cheese wedges.

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