Mention the word “RAT” and before you know it, folks are screaming “EEEEK!” and standing on a table. When I tell people I breed rats, their expressions are hilarious. Yes, I really do have pet rats and I have heard just about everything people have said about them, good and bad over the last twenty years. I am well known on both sides of the border in the rat world and I am a long time, hobbyist breeder. I breed my rats to achieve the best in health and temperament. My breeding pairs are carefully selected to be genetically compatible, properly line bred and out crossed when necessary. I strive to breed rats with exceptional personalities and sweet dispositions and, over the years, countless numbers of them have gone to wonderful loving homes. Many happy folks have come back to see me time and again so they can add new members to their families. I am exceptionally proud of this. My reputation for being very responsible with my rats is extremely important to me.
Now that you have wandered into my little corner of the world, I would love to share my knowledge, experiences and of course my Lil Ratscals with you. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. I might even convince you, even if it’s just a little bit, that rats really do make wonderful, sweet, loving pets, for adults and children alike. With proper supervision, children with pet rats can learn responsibility and to treat animals with kindness and compassion. Rats are great for apartment dwellers who can’t have cats or dogs – and, unlike dogs, rats won’t wake your neighbours with incessant barking! People with mobility issues often find rats make great companions, too!
I have had pet rats for over twenty years now and that is how my own rattery came about today. I can tell you, I am quite normal and sane, really. Well my many ratty friends and I think so, giggle. It all started when my son Craig brought home a pet rat from a store and hid it in his bedroom.. He became worried and decided he had better show it to me before I discovered it under his bed or in his closet. He knew he would have to do some fast talking to convince me it was okay to own a pet rat.
I know MY mother’s reaction to this “disturbing” news would have placed her closer to the kitchen ceiling. My own reaction, at first? Yes, you guessed it, “Take it back to the store immediately, like YESTERDAY!” From my son, came the expected, “Aw, but Mom! You don’t understand…”. I must confess, I didn’t understand at all – back in those days. In those days, I probably would’ve been hugging that ceiling with my mom. Next came my crash course on how amazing and lovable pet rats are.
Hmmm, son, where did you learn all this new found information anyway? Surely it couldn’t be at high school! Well, it turned out it was, because his high school teacher had pet rats of his own. Some of the kids even took them to high school and they rode around on their shoulders. I have to admit ‘Beernut’ was kind of cute, but still, a pet rat? Craig went on to assure me rats don’t bite, have poor eye site, are very sociable, are extremely intelligent, very clean etc. etc. Well I guess I don’t have to tell you who won? I didn’t stand a chance of winning this case for sure!
I don’t recommend that anyone try this on their mom either, for the sake of the little rats. It may not work with your mom. Well after a long, successful, happy ratty life, ‘Beernut’ passed on over the Rainbow Bridge where all good little animals go. I kind of missed having that little guy around. One day I was passing a pet store and wandered in. My goodness, there they were, cute, adorable baby ratties starring right up at me begging, please, please, pick me….well just what could I do, grin. Now does this sound familiar? One little ratty looked at the other and said with those big eyes, “Yep, I can tell, she’s the one, she will take us, no kidding, she will, I can tell, quick jump on the window before she changes her mind!” ” Do your best to look your cutest and for heavens sake turn on your best charm, okay! ” Well who could resist that plea of help, so home I went with two little rats that day.
Well, after that, there were many more over the years. ‘Nutmeg’, ‘Meggie’, ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Penny’, ‘Casey’, ‘Stacy’, ‘Caesar’ and so many others, all little sweeties. After an early retirement, I wanted to find something that I would really love to do and enjoy, for a hobby, I decided to buy myself a computer and learn how to use it. I also now had my sweet rat Sammy. “Hey there Sammy, what do you say we turn this modern day machine on, type in rats and see what comes up?” Sammy was sitting with me helping me type and was all for it. He doesn’t type too bad either, for a rat. Sammy and I discovered a lot more about fancy rats and I don’t think I have had the time since, to be bored.
There were only a handful of rat lovers on the internet back in those days, nothing like today. I’ve seen many come and go, helped where I could to educate others, stop rat abuse and promote them whenever I can. Over the years I have had Siamese, in both seal and blue points, gorgeous marked and self Dumbos (elephant ears), beautiful English Blues, Platinum and silvers, mink, fawn, Russian blues, Pearl Merle Dumbos and even a rare black rex tailless. I traced him back 14 generations. He and his dad won many ribbons for personality, health and temperament. They are built differently in the back end and like any new mutations take time to develop for good health and temperament. Kato was as well balanced and could jump like the best of them. I personally have decided not to breed tailless genetically in case any off springs fall into the wrong hands for breeding purposes and bring harm to tailless mothers who cannot pass their off springs.
I have been studying and observing rats for years now, learning about their health, care, medical problems, behavior and genetic differences. I have been to rat shows, won ribbons, brought in rare ones twice now from California, joined clubs and traveled thousands of miles to meet others or just to place some of my babies in the best loving and caring homes.
My English blue line was brought over from England by Karla Barber, who resides in California. It was her wonderful line, featured in Critters magazine in 1998. I also for years have been working on a newer velvet coat (not rex) to produce coats extra soft and much denser that you can hardly part it to see the skin. It is also a dominant gene and will hopefully, combined with rex genes make much plusher and thicker dense rex coats. I was ecstatic to be able to bring some of the very first into Canada along with other varieties to help promote the lines here. Ginger Cardinal, certified judge and author of the book, An Owners Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet “THE RAT” helped my hubby pick out my rats, more than once and I am very grateful for her help, guidance and friendship along with Lori and Venny’s wonderful California rats.
I was a guest on an episode of “Pet Star” with Mario Lopez that originally aired in 2005. I had a great time promoting pet rats. Barenedette, a hairless Dumbo, Senora, a blue rex Dumbo, and Tinkerbell, an odd eyed Dalmation performed their “Ice Fishing” trick. The celebrity judges were Steve Schirripa (from the television show, “The Sopranos”, Virginia Madson, from the movie “Sideways”, and Debra Wilson from “Mad TV”.
The Pet Star folks asked me to create a personal video of my adventure. The video documents the preparation for my trip to Hollywood as well as my adventures leading up to the taping of the show. When Animal Planet saw it, they bought it from me and used it on their “Funniest Animal” show.
My episode has already been shown in the US, but I’m not aware if it has aired in Canada yet. The producers were nice enough to send me a copy of the whole show – which I treasure a lot.
For the past few years, my rats and I have had a booth at Ottawa’s Super Ex – the city’s main summer exhibition – as “Pet of the Day”. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to promote rats as pets, show off the numerous varieties, answer people’s questions and hand out “care” pamphlets. I also use the time to address many longstanding myths and misconceptions regarding rats throughout history.
It really is a lot of fun to see the joy my rats bring to others. It is also important to me, to know how my rats are doing in their new homes. This helps me towards quality breeding, keeping good records and pedigrees and also to carefully plan for the best in health and temperament. The responsibility all goes hand in hand. I really enjoy helping people with their rats who have called or emailed me for help and advise. When people run into problems they know I am here for them. They love to share stories and their fun experiences with me about their rats. I have also stayed up all night supporting and comforting a friend who’s little rat is very sick. If they pass over the Rainbow Bridge we cry and share the lost of our pets together!
My breedings are limited and very carefully planned out in advance. I do take reservations for my babies for pets only and if you like I can keep in touch with you when I breed a litter. As a responsible long time breeder I usually have quite a waiting list so please check back with me. All my babies are handled as soon as they are born to have the human scent on them, so they become the best loving pets. They all run in wheels as soon as they open their eyes and are on special diets for a good healthy start in life. Some times I have some sweet pick of the litters available for pets only, to place in good loving homes that I didn’t get a chance to breed. These are all adorable and well handled, run in wheels and have plenty of toys and live in large condos. I am very fussy about my rats and what homes they go to. I also have pedigrees and no breeding contracts for most of my rats.
Our little pets give us unconditional love and ask nothing of us in return except the best care, kindness, affection and a good loving permanent home. If we bring them into our world, it is our responsibility to see that each and every one get their share of love and proper care. After all, rats really do make wonderful pets! <:3( )~~~
“Thanks for visiting and please enjoy your stay!”