Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ratties big and small...

As you might recall, we have a little mischief of fancy rats that we keep as pets.

They make wonderful pets. Our vet always says they are like mini dogs and he's right. They are affectionate and clever, and always want to cuddle and play. They can be trained too, though we've never bothered. To see them rushing out of their bed to greet us when we come to the cage is a lovely thing to see, and never ceases to make me smile, and that they do so even though a minute ago they might have been fast asleep is even more touching. I never realised, before we owned rats, how much our company seems to mean to them. Rats are naturally more nocturnal, yet in order to spend time with us they will regularly wake themselves up to greet us and to come out for a play. We find that within days they had learned what time of day we usually take them out for free-roaming and they are now always awake at that time, waiting for the fun to happen.

The only drawback - and it's a big one - that rats have is that they have woefully short lives. The average lifespan is below 2.5 years, and for a rat to reach the age of 3 is pretty rare. I once heard someone say that they make bad pets because 'they have huge personalities but such short lives'. While I still think that the good out-weighs the bad and they make great pets I can understand what that person meant. They do have huge personalities and they capture our hearts very quickly and because we get only such a short time with them that can mean a lot of heartbreak.

We have recently lost a few of our ratty friends, and each of them is sorely missed, but the worst death of them, probably because it was so unexpected, and because she was so very young to have to go, was our Tam. She developed a prolapse that, despite an emergency operation, reappeared and didn't improve so she had to be put to sleep.

We were so sad, and boy #2 in particular took it very hard. Tam had been 'his', and her gentle and affectionate nature spoke to him in particular. In rat circles such a special connection is often talked about in terms of a 'heart rat'. Tam was his heart rat. He still has pictures on the wall to remind him of her, but when I found this little pattern I knew I wanted to make a little 'Tam' for him as a memory of his ratty girl.

I'm now planning to make crochet versions of all our ratties, past and present, and boy #3 has also already put in an order for a large rat that he can snuggle better than the small ones (these are really small!), so I'll be busy for a while...

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  1. I love the crochet rat such a wonderful momento of a dear friend and pet.

    1. Thank you. They are a cute little project and a good way to remember all those loved and lost little ones...

  2. What a great idea to memorialize your fur babies, they really do come in all sizes.I think a large version would be very fun!
    I had one years ago and she really was a sweet animal.
    Sorry for the loss of your beloved baby..

    1. I really like this pattern. My hands start aching a bit after a while because it's such a small fiddly project, but I like the idea of remembering them that way.

  3. Awww, sweet pets and sweet project. Sorry about Tam.