You dirty rat

How did this happen? I vowed I would buy/adopt no more pets. Yet here I am, owner of … a rat. This is Fink:

And the weird thing is, he’s cute, really cute. Those little round ears, the human-looking hands, the little beady black eyes.

So how did this come to pass? Nick somehow guilted me into it. Joe, the long-haired hamster, had died peacefully in his sleep. I was thinking, ah, one less pet. But Nick missed Joe. For some reason, he and Selena Gomez (the rescue hamster — yes, you can rescue hamsters through Petco) have never clicked completely. Personally, I love Selena. Every night when I go in to say goodnight to Nick, Selena is waiting in her little apartment, tiny hands clutching the bars. She has a great house — aquarium on the bottom with a house and wheel, and then on top a wire cage with her bed (actually an old enclosed running wheel laid on its side), her food, and her water. A ramp connects the two levels. Anyway, she gets excited when she sees me because I give her little fruit bites and pick out pumpkin and sunflower seeds and feed her though the bars. She takes them and puts them in her food dish, one at a time, or she’ll have her cheeks puffed out with them.

So Nick wanted a pet and Sheri had expanded her collection to include another snake (named Monty), a baby gray-striped corn snake, destined to one day be a cage-mate to Na’ava. So how could I say no?

But he wanted a rat. I was not convinced, but off we went to Petco to see. The girl there told me that rats make great pets. They like people, crave human attention, and she had never been bitten by a rat (she said she gets bit by hamsters all the time). Sadly, most of the rats at the pet store are destined to one day be snake food, so technically we rescued yet another animal from certain death.

And she’s right — Fink loves to be held. Nick will lay on his stomach on the bed, chin on his folded arms, and Fink will climb into the well under his chin and curl up to sleep. If you move away from him on the bed, he’ll follow you and snuggle next to your stomach or neck again. He has no interest in running away.

So, kids, next time you’re thinking of getting a nippy little hamster, think about a rat. Once you get past that rat-like face and the unfortunate reputation, they’re great pets.

About alisaacarter

I am a writer of young adult novels, wife, mom of three, lover of animals, former magazine editor, reader of anything paranormal, and coffee fanatic.
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