I’m going to start off by saying, yes, I have pet rats. And I love them. If you can’t stand to look at rodents or read sad stories, this may not be the post for you. But if you can, then enjoy!
Warning, this post is sad, but I promise, not all my rat introductions will be.
I want to start my introducing my little guy, Jerry, who is no longer with our family physically, but will always be on my heart and mind. On January 26, 2018, we lost him to a severe respiratory infection that popped up suddenly with no time to get him to the vet. In my heart, I knew that he was not going to make it to the next morning. I placed him on my tiger pillow and let him sleep in my bed with me for his last night.
I have lost many pets in my life. But, losing him was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. And I know why. As a child, when we would lose a cat or dog, my parents would not let me see them. They did not want me to remember them in their cold state. But since I was the one to see Jerry after his final moments, I held him with a heavy heart and I rocked him in my arms. I knew fully well he was not there anymore but I still cried over him and told him that everything would be okay.
Even harder, was telling my little brother, 11, that he had passed. Jerry was originally his rat, but grew too much maintenance for him alone. We wrote goodbye letters for him and put them with his body.
When he was alive, I would describe his demeaner as one of those grumpy older men who sit on their porch and yell words like whippersnapper. He loved his alone time, his nap time, and his dinner time. He really didn’t require too much petting or cuddles. He was the alpha of the cage, so he told the other rats what to do; which really only consisted of leaving him the hell alone.
I loved this guy more than I had ever realized. Being the first rat I ever lost, it was a great loss. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting two more since then and loving them both. There is a saying in the pet rat community.
Rats may not be there for you entire life, but you are there for their entire life.
You are their whole world. “Many experts say that the average lifespan of a rat is between 2 and 3 years. However, there are many rat experts who report that, in rare cases, pet rat life expectancy can be as long as 4 or 5 healthy years!” This is according to the website, Squeaks and Nibbles, a guide for small pets. Jerry was 1 1/2 years old.
Jerry and his little brother, Romeo.