Saturday, March 27, 2010

How did I end up with Rats?

This is Romi, our first rat. Although she died quite a while ago she will always be remembered in all the photos we took of her.

We had several hamsters at the time we adopted Romi, in fact I wasn't even looking to adopt a rat. I had never even had a rat or considered adopting a rat. I have always been a hamster or mouse girl.

But that all changed when my neighbor moved in a few doors away from us and because really good friends with us. His girlfriend at the time had bought two rats and gave one to him. He really liked Romi and when she was smaller she would ride around in his large pants pockets. You know the kind that are all the rage these days on those huge baggie pants. Pockets large enough to fit a small trailer

She would poke her little head out, he would give her a sunflower seed and she would burrow back down in the pocket. He let Romi roam the couch and she never jumped ontot he floor. But he worked alot and she wasn't getting enough attention.

Ken told me that she would run over to the front of the cage whenever they came into the apartment and she wanted human company and one day while Ken was playing with Romi his friend asked him if he wanted to take her home. He thought about for a minute and said yeah, Mary will love her.

He gave us Romi, the cage, food and bedding. I'd never had a rat and I thought her tail was really going to ick me out, but it's alot softer than it looks and she was so sweet, and loved to be held played with, petted and loved our company.

After a couple of years though she started getting sick and I read everything I could on the internet and asked several vet's what I could do for her. It was then that I learned that rats live about as long as hamsters do. Only about 4-5 years, hamster living about 3-4 years.

Romi was already 3 years old and could not eat the hard seeds anymore. She didn't have the strength to crack them open. So I started feeding her the human foods that I read were alright to feed her. Scrambled eggs, cooked chicken, fruits vegies and of all things canned dog and cat food. She didn't care for the cat foods but she loved the Mighty Dog canned dog food. She also loved the jars of baby food.

She lived another 18 months eating those foods, but in the picture you can see how she was so old she started losing the hair on her nose and head.

In the last few months she just wanted to be held all the time. So we would all take turns holding her on a small towel and wrapping her in it so just her little head was peeking out and she would sleep in our arms until she was wanting something to eat or a drink of water and we would put her in her cage to do that and go to the bathroom. Most times she would just right back up on top of her house and start nudging the top of the cage open telling us she wanted to come back out and we would let her out

She was so spoiled but loved alot. She died one day while I was holding her in my arms. I had every intention of taking her to the vet's office and having her put to sleep but they said as long as she was eating, drinking and didn't seem like she was in pain, there was no need to euthanize her yet.

Then one day she had a seizure while sleeping in my arms and she died.

It's strange how some animals will go so fast while others will have a long lingering illness, and have to be euthanized but you just don't want to see them suffer. I'm glad she went as fast as she did.

But soon after she died we decided that we wanted more rats. She had been our first and we didn't want her to be our last, she showed us how loving and great a pet rat really was.