I Miss Them

I have had 6 pet rats, my last one died last summer. I honestly used to HATE rats and was always quite scared of them. One winter I was staying with my aunt, one of my sisters (that lived with her) decided she wanted rats, and I went with her to the store. They got out the cage with little ones, and they were just so cute. I figured I might as well try to get over my fear of them, and I picked one up. I fell in love. She ended up getting two girls, and I immediately had a strong connection with one of them. We later found out this one was a boy, so of course she couldn't keep him. It was pretty weird that I went there hating rats, and then only a week later, I was leaving with one as a pet. I named him Sean. He was the sweetest thing, and so funny. A few weeks later I went to a pet store to find him a friend, I had already picked out a name, Sherraucco.

And I'll admit, I didn't have a connection with him really at all first. He was really shy, and Sean was so needy for attention that I just never really bonded with him. I would try, but I didn't want to freak him out. I soon realized that rats are very destructive, and also are little thieves. I had scarves and earring hanging by their cage, and one day I looked over and saw Sherraucco trying to grab one of the scarves, and when he noticed me looking he ran off. Then I noticed my earrings were starting to go missing. I found them buried in their wood shavings when I was cleaning their cage. Sean had an intense love for anything shiny. After having them for about 3 months, I went to stay with my aunt again, but this time for a month. I was upset about leaving them, but I needed to get away for a while. When I was there I was going through some bad stuff, and I somehow, quite easily, convinced my mom that getting another rat would help. haha

So we went to the store, and this time they had little babies in there. I was so overwhelmed with all the cuteness, and I had a hard time picking one. Then my sister pointed to one in the corner that had completely buried himself in the shavings, and was poking his little nose out. I got him out, and he was just so precious, a little bigger than a cotton ball. I named him Leonard. My two other boys accepted him without problem, and by that time Sherraucco was really starting to "come out of his shell". He had also grown to a shocking size, which was funny because Sean was still pretty small. We always joked that Sherraucco was a sewer rat due to his size and also because he was completely brown. But of course he was much to cute to be one. It was a couple of months later that I realized there was something wrong with Sean.

He had lost a lot of weight, and his back was arched. I didn't know anything really at that time about rats being sick, and I was introduced to it in the worst way I could think of. We found a vet that would see rats, and I had absolutely NO idea that what was wrong with him could even happen. His teeth weren't lined up properly, so he couldn't file them down. They grew so long they made a hole in the roof of his mouth, and it had become infected. The infection was so bad at that point the vet said there really wasn't any hope, but gave me medicine for him anyway. Sean lived for another month, and there were a few days before he died that he acted like himself again. It was one of the worst times for me, I loved him so much. One day he started to stumble around, went over to Sherraucco and leaned on him, and began to, what it looked like to me, try to grab something in front of him. Just like opening and closing his hands in front of his face. Then he slowly fell, and he was gone. Even today, 4 years later, I cry thinking about it. I still miss him, and always will. He was around 6 months old.

Sherraucco handled it pretty good, but Leonard acted just as depressed as me. He didn't eat for days, and he would only lift his head when he saw me coming, and then would just go back to sleep. He slowly came around, and luckily he still had Sherraucco. About six months later I decided it was a good time to get another, because if one of them died I didn't want the other to be alone. I wanted to adopt a rat, instead of getting one from a pet store. I was scared I would get another one that would have something wrong with it, and I wasn't ready to deal with that. We found a rescue and met with the lady who was keeping the rats, and she told me my only real option, because of my rats ages, was to get some of the babies she had just gotten. They were a couple of months old, but still quite small because they were from a breeder. She told me to just hold them all and pick the one that felt right. It was the last one. I named him Eddie. She then told me that she didn't want to separate just one, so I would need to get two. I chose another one that was also very sweet, and very pretty. He had three colors on him, and he was adorable. I named him Christian. Unfortunately though, Leonard hated them. He just didn't want to have anything to do with new rats, so I had to keep them separated. I didn't really mind though. Christian ended up scaring me pretty bad a couple of times though, because he would occasionally fall asleep on his back. ON HIS BACK.

So that's how it was, I would occasionally try to get them to like each other, but I stopped after an attempt went really bad. Leonard was chasing Christian, and in a panic and without thinking, I grabbed Leonard. NEVER grab an angry rat. He twisted and bit down on my finger, HARD. I looked down and could see two small holes, and wasn't really sure what to do. He had a look of surprise, and almost looked sad. I guess he just didn't realize it was me. I set him down, and by that time my finger was like a waterfall of blood (lovely) but I still had to put the babies up before I could take care of my finger. So, dripping blood EVERYWHERE, I collected them and put them back in their cage. Sherraucco was off somewhere in my room stealing things, so he was never really a problem with them. I was never mad at Leonard, and I'm actually glad now that he bit me, because I have a scar. Sounds weird, but its just a reminder of him.

Sherraucco became sick almost a year after losing Sean, and even with the medicine, he just didn't get better. I loved him so much, he had become such an amazing pet, and I was so attached. He was so funny, he always made me laugh. I was heartbroken when I lost him. I missed watching him run around the room taking things and hiding them. Leonard just became more hateful towards other rats, but he never stopped being loving to me.

I thought I would try one more time to get Leonard another friend. Maybe if I got an even younger rat, and since he was older now, it would be fine. As it turned out, Eddie and Christian got a new friend. His name was Schrute. Leonard was done with that, and so I would just keep him with me a lot, because he was the only rat after Sean that would sit on my shoulder. He didn't like going outside though. haha

Schrute was sick when I got him, so I quickly put him on medicine. He got better, but unfortunately, his personality didn't. He was sweet and quiet when I first got him, but after he started feeling better he just didn't want to have anything to do with me. He was actually kind of annoying, and the other boys thought so too. He wasn't mean or anything, and he would sometimes let me pet him, but he just didn't want attention like the other boys. And he didn't seem unhappy, so I just let him be.

Leonard was always really healthy, until one day he was just different. He was acting strange and wasn't eating (which for him was EXTREMELY out of character). After a few days, he wasn't getting better, so we took him to the vet. The vet said he had never seen a tumor that big. It was in a place that made it look like he was just fat, and it didn't actually feel weird until the day I took him in. He said he could probably make it another week, but I couldn't let him suffer. I chose to have him put down. He was given a shot first that would just make him fall asleep, which was very hard for me. He was trying to walk but couldn't, and he just came over and curled up in my arms. When he was finally asleep, they gave him the other shot to stop his heart, and I held him the whole time. I was so stunned at what was happening, but I was glad he didn't have to suffer anymore. I kept my hand on him the whole way home.

Thankfully, I still had Eddie and Christian. They were just so sweet, and their crazy personalities made me laugh. Eddie had really weird hair, it always looked he brushed it down on either side. His hair was parted in the middle down his whole back, and we would joke that he did it to look fancy. It was the cutest thing. Christian, every time I fed them, would run as fast as he could down the ramps to get to the food. But unfortunately for him, he wasn't coordinated, at all. He would stumble and then would grab the bars and slide the rest of the way down, but when he would get to the door he would end up just hanging there. There were a couple of times he actually came shooting out of the cage doing this, but luckily I was always able to catch him. They both lived a long time for rats, 2 and a half years. They died within a month of each other.

Schrute didn't seem that affected. Though he would sometimes seem lonely, and even let he hold him a few times. He really was a sweet rat, but he was just different. I loved him all the same, which made it even harder when he got sick. He was old, and I knew there wasn't anything to do. I would have had him put to sleep, but it would have stressed him out so much being around new people, he would have been so scared. So I would just give him blankets to curl up in, and would just try to make him as comfortable as possible. The day came when I knew he was about to go, and it broke my heart because I wasn't able to hold him. I knew he wanted to be left alone, so I told him I loved him, said goodbye, and went to stay with my sister. My mom called me the next morning to tell me he had died.

I miss them all so much, they were all so special. I just thought I would write something short and quick about them, but ended up writing for almost two hours. It turns out, its hard to type when your crying. haha There are times when I want to run to a pet store and get more rats, but I just don't know if I'm ready to go through all that again. They are so great, but losing them is so hard. One day I'll get more, but it will probably be quite a while. They really changed how I look at things so much. I learned you can't judge things without getting to know them first, because you might be completely wrong. I have never been more wrong.
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2 Responses May 1, 2012

Such a sad story its such a shame that they have such short lives, never have i had an animal that had such a personality and gave me so much love. But really enjoyed imagining the antics of your ratties, just lost my little girl luna last night. I'm really struggling I just don't know what to do with myself :(

I felt sorry when i read ur story about ur dead but beloved little ones. God bless u for loving those little creatures.