I don’t have any photos of my first two rats - My first was Pepper, a big lazy black boy. I brought him home from the shelter in a hat, and he used to fall asleep on my mom’s lap on the front lawn.
I only had Rocket for a few weeks because the poor little champagne baby had wet tail and we couldn’t save him.
Then there was Sugar.
Sugar was my baby. I fell in love with her when she was so little ans scared that all she did was sit in my hand and shake. And she grew up into the most loyal, personality-filled pet a kid could have. She fetched, she tormented the (100 pound) dog, she escaped one weekend I was away and my parents couldn’t catch her but she came running as soon as I got home. She came when I tapped a pattern on the floor, but ONLY to me. If she was on someone elses’ shoulder and I walked by, she would leap onto me. She stole stuff, she loved to be tossed in the air, she knew how to open her cage, and how to jump on juice boxes to get the juice out. I will forever have a place in my heart for spunky little rats with white forehead spots, because of her.
My next rats were a trio - Cassie (Sandcastle) was a big bear of a rat, forever good-natured and patient and with an unparalleled love of chasing feathers. Would take treats and stash them i the litter box for ages, never realizing I was just taking them back and giving her the same treats over and over.
Spotnick was so named because she came off adventurous at first, but she was a huge scardy-cat, and never trusted anyone but me to really handle her. Her trademark pose was just her nose and tail peeking out of a tissue box. She was forever hiding in an awkward-to-reach spot and making me panic thinking I’d lost her.
And then there was Squirt. Always tiny, and always full of spunk, she once managed to steal an entire package of milkbones an stash them in my sock drawer. She was forever pulling this trick to drink out my cups, and her sisters (Cas and Spot) never did figure out why their significantly heftier butts could never copy her without knocking the glass over. She used to run along at my heels when I walked around my room and never found a pocket she didn’t like.
A rescue-rat, Tai (or Tainy) was also a small rat, and was more commonly known as “The Pest”, Spotnick was the only older rat who ever had the patience for her antics. She stole things like a magpie, and was forever in your face, poking her pointy nose into whatever you were doing - or running off to explore places she wasn’t supposed to. I have very few photos of her because she was ever busy- she never stayed still.
Also a rescue, Gypsy was ever-calm, refused to drink out of a water bottle, and was more cuddly than many of my other girls.
Robbie(right) and Jakjak were a funny pair of sisters. Jakjak was a bit skittish and always liked to nibble fingers a touch harder than was polite, and trick you into letting her go if she didn’t want to be caught, but she trusted ME, and had an adventurous streak that was fun to watch.
Robbie (Robin Hood) was a whiner (squeaked like crazy when Jak groomed her), but smart, and liked to both adventure and snuggle; she came to school with me a few times and always just fell asleep in my (or someone elses) sleeve.
For how similar they sometimes acted (and according to everyone else, LOOKED, even though I dont think they looked anything alike), they quarreled often and decided they didn’t want to live together int heir senior years.
Toby’s breeder told me he liked to he HIGH, and she was right - if he could climb something, he would. I once watched him scale my closet organizer to the top shelf. He would climb up to my desk then manage to ratty-parkour his way across three pieces of furniture to my bookshelf. He was forever a squeaker, and liked to scream when picked up in the hope you would let him go - the most adventurous male I’ve met, he was always trying to find a way to bust through the barriers I used to keep him in rat-proofed areas (and often succeeding).
Koda was my big squish (I could barely hold him with two hands without rat spilling over. he was BIG). He started as the smallest of his group (him, Toby and Badger came from the same breeder) but wound up the biggest. He was a big lazy snuggler, and when let out to free-range, was more likely to beg for a few treats then immediately find somewhere to sleep. His brothers would be exploring and he’d be napping in my laundry basket. I took him to stores and on walks all the time because he would stay in my hood, or in a purse and just chill.
And then there was Badger.
Ever since Sugar, I’d wanted another rat that got into my heart the same way she did. I swear it’s something about that white forehead mark, because I finally got my wish. I’ve loved all my ratty babies, but Sugar was Special, and Badger was too. From his gorgeously mismarked coloring to his dumbo ears, he stole my heart when I first saw him. And he kept it.
Because he LOVED to cuddle. He’d follow me around, begging to be picked up, he’d lay on my lap and nudge me if I stopped petting him. He loved riding around on my shoulder. He gave you kisses while you pet him. I once fella sleep while I had him out, and instead of wandering off into the apartment, when I woke up, he was snuggled into the side of my neck, napping with me. He loved every second of attention he got.
Badger passed away yesterday. He was my last rat.
I’ve developed an allergy to them, and I feel like I need to move on to rat-less stages of my life. But Badger, well, I’m glad HE was the last - my rat-love has been FULFILLED. I don’t plan on getting any more rats for a long time, if ever, so I’m glad my last rat was a REALLY REALLY good rat.
I mean, they were ALL good rats. I feel like, when you grow up with pets, you learn just as much about life from them as you do from other people, and I’ve learned a LOT from my rats.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that rats are some of the most amazing, charismatic, lovable animals I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
And to all my ratty babies, I guess what I’m trying to say is Thank You.