Posted by: madamm | June 29, 2007

Watchrats: The Truth Behind Rodent Affection

Goodbye, Fido, Kitty and Rover.

Hello Freakshow, Promepheus and Zule.

“If I had to choose between my boyfriend and my babies, my boyfriend would definitely come second.” My colleague, H1 loves rats. She has three babies. Freakshow is white and Promopheus and Zule are black. Their lively and lovable characteristics were simply irresistable, she says. So one day she made use of the petstore-return policy and exchanged her “utterly boring” hamsters for rats.

I shudder at the very thought but give H1 a chance to express her infatuation with her freaky furry pets. “They’re so cute and cuddly and even though I don’t train them, they’re exceptionally clever.” H1 can’t stop gushing about the antics of her otherwise-known-as-creepy companions as another colleague, Mika (not of the Grace-Kelly hit) joins in. “Rats are low-maintenance,” says Mika.

So? Aren’t cats low maintenance too?

No. Apparently not as low maintenance as rats are. Because not only do rats eat everything you give them (including hamster mix), they don’t come looking for affection as often as dogs and cats would. H1 says the exception to this rule is Zule, who’ll “sniff at my face to check if I’m okay” and then go play with his mates again, but that’s about it.

The “widdle babies” get bathed and taken to the vet, just like Tinkerhell the chihuahua and they’re “good at taking risks.” (I’m thinking running into sewerage pipes in the middle of the night)

H1 and Mika agree that the notion of rats as pets is grossly misrepresented by the media. “A stereotype exists of them as the diseased ones…” says Mika. “They’re wonderful,” says H1, expressing her desire for a whole cageful someday (a rat lady as it were) ,”because they can protect me from the real intruders,” she says.

Yes. Rover will keep the baddies away, but Freakshow and the Gang are excellent watch”rats” for the real intruders of today: Think Mickey and Minnie.



  1. Rats are great pets. I adopted two of them back in March, and now they’re at the top of my list of favorite pets. They’re clean and very lovable. My favorite thing to do with them is to go outside. They’ll explore the back yard while keeping an eye on me. If I start to walk away, or if there’s a loud noise, they’ll scurry over to me.

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