Category Archives: Ideas

Concepts and ramblings

Pet Promise Certificate

The good people at Petfinder.com are gearing up for this year’s holidays. This is from what I found in my email today:

Celebrate the Gift of Pet Adoption!

Want to give a pet as a gift? Give our Pet Promise Certificate instead!

With the Pet Promise Certificate, your loved one can adopt the pet that best suits his or her lifestyle — and you promise to cover the adoption fees for the new family member.

In addition, the Certificate features a New Adopter’s Pledge that promotes responsible pet parenting.
Petfinder

I think this is a great idea being put forward and would like to see something like this as a standard. Please feel free to share this with your friends and family … and other pet-friendly people, too.

Rat Years in Human Years

I often wonder what a rats age would be in human terms.

This is by no means a scientifically derived formula, it’s just some easy numbers based on a few simple correlations. So I picked some easy benchmarks to start with:

  • Average human lifespan: 80 years or 960 months
  • Average rat lifespan: 30 months
  • Human years to rat years ratio would be 32:1.

These numbers in themselves could be argued up or down, but that is the whole idea of discussion topics like this one.  Of course these numbers are not truly directly related to our lives.  These numbers would indicate that two hours to a rat would be the same as almost three days to a human.  Have you played with your pet rats for two hours or more at a time?  How do you think you would feel after constant attention for almost three days?! 

This is by no means a reason not to interact with your pets, actually the reverse. Its more a reminder that the the time differences are immense in comparative terms, and if the time is directly proportional as the above ratio suggests then the time we spend apart from our little ones is also immense.  Think of it as visiting your best friends once a month for a couple of days, then waiting another month to do it again.

There are many ways to calculate rat years in human years, what numbers do you use?

Gathering Kindness

You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
~~ Zig Ziglar

What a handle on life to have.  It’s seems like such a simple concept, help enough other people get what they want and you will get what you want.  Of course, it would be important to know what you want out of life to begin with, but perhaps that is not really the point.  Helping others does provide significant rewards in and of itself.  Seeing another person excel in an activity or field of study that they were struggling with is immensely satisfying if you were able to help them along the way.  Especially having the favor returned sometime down the road, not out of necessity, but out of kindness is even more appreciated than words can say.

Gather to yourself friends and family, companions and co-workers, and help them through their days and lives and you will be rewarded; not for a debt, but simply as a return of your own kindness.

Just Exactly Who Are You?!

… or, Introducing New Rats.

We’ve made rat introductions before, and fortunately we generally meet with good success. This time we expected it to be a bit different … and for the most part, it really wasn’t all that bad.

A few tips for introducing current rats to new adopted rats:

  • Find a neutral area to have the rats meet for the first few times. Give them some room to posture and practice their “rat-fu”. It can be quite comical when they stand on their hind legs as tall as possible and start slapping each other about with their front paws. Just watch for excessive fur flying and/or possible serious biting or scratching.
  • Have your Rat First Aid Kit handy, just in case.
  • Make sure the new communal home is well cleaned. Make sure you have thoroughly scrubbed and washed every part of the habitat as best you can. If you are not sure if it clean enough, do it again. When the new rats enter the habitat they will be less intimidated if there is a minimal (preferably none) of signs of the current rats.
  • When you put the habitat back together, rearrange the items that you are reusing. If there is a “comfort” item from the quarantine home that the new rats liked you might consider adding it to the new home.
  • Try to add a few completely new items into the habitat.
  • Give all the rats a quick bath … at the same time. This can be tricky as they will be torn between jumping out of the bath water and keeping an eye on the strangers in the tub with them. Rats are not dirty, but the bath will help reduce the natural scents they have. Also, add a little vanilla to the bath water to help distract them.
  • Another vanilla use: very carefully dab some on each rat’s snout (between the eyes and the nose), on their back, and near their genital area, or stomach. This really is not overkill on the vanilla. Most rats like the smell and will be more interested in why everyone smells so nice and not quite as concerned with who these interlopers are.
  • After the bath, put the rats in the neutral play area you used earlier and let them reacquaint themselves. Make sure they are fairly dry before putting them into their shared home.

Time and patience are you best friends during the introduction. Keep a spray bottle of room temperature water nearby the cage to help separate the overly zealous or territorial rats. If they start to fight too much, give them a good spritzing and they will stop to clean themselves off. A rat’s self grooming obsession is a great characteristic to make use of.

Sometimes you will need to separate the rats and start the introduction process again at a later date. Sometimes it can take several attempts. Sometimes it just won’t work. Just remember to give as much equal attention to each of the rats as possible. Let them know they are all loved and cared for … and in the rare case when there are one or two rats that will not settle in with the others then you will have to accept that an additional habitat will need to be kept for these special rats.

There are no guaranteed methods of making a successful introduction of rats. It is important to keep in mind when adopting more rats that you may need one more rat home than what you currently have … be prepared.

They’re So Cute!

It’s not like I haven’t heard that phrase before from Mrs. Rattitude, but she certainly was right like so many times in the past. We had returned to the “big box” pet store where our first adopted rats came from, Ratchet and Chamie. This is also the same place Casper, Trekkie, Angel and Charlie were adopted from, too.

We had been avoiding the store due to some misunderstanding that we finally sorted out. We now visit every couple of weeks to see who’s new and pick up a few items that we have trouble finding other places for our pets.

Yesterday, as we were out and about, we stopped in to pick up some food for our cats and some treats for our “little ones” (aka our rats). We wandered over to the Small Animals section of the store. The store had undergone extensive renovations since our visits in the past and I now quite enjoy our visits to the store again. The store now keeps both males and females, where in the past they only kept males.

In the upper “cage” laying on top of a ferret exercise ball hung from the ceiling were two young rats. You could tell they were young as their fur was still in it’s “fuzzy” stage, and as best I could tell they were the only two in the cage. We tracked down an employee and double checked the gender of these little cuties … yes, they were female. Unfortunately we just couldn’t take them home with us … we wouldn’t be able to place them with our other females as the living area at home is a good size for Serena and Samantha, but it would be cramped to add two more.

We always try to adopt our pets in twos, especially our rats. Rats are very social animals and enjoy a much more healthier lifestyle when they have at least one companion in their living area. We adopt two at a time to help insure there will be constant companionship for the rats as they will typically be the same age when we adopt them.

I always recommend that potential rat fanciers always adopt at least two (or more) when they first start out. Besides the possible initial cost of adoptions, the cost to house, feed, clean, etc. is minimally different for one more little mouth BUT the amount of love returned and entertainment that the rats provide together is immeasurable.