Ratten. Wie alles begann

Ratten. Wie alles begann


I got my first rat about 20 years ago. At that time I lived together with my mother with my grandmother after the separation of my parents. My mother could never do much with pets, except that they look cute and hopefully don’t make a mess.
After my two gerbils had died, I wanted to have a pet again. But which species/breed was unclear to me until my grandmother brought a guidebook about keeping rats from the city. I never found rats disgusting, but had no idea about the keeping. So I read the book and was thrilled. I wanted a rat. It was summer and we phoned around Mainz and Wiesbaden looking for little rats. At that time rats were not as popular as today and not every pet shop had them. In Mainz we found what we were looking for. In the small pet shop the owner led us then into a kind of storeroom in which loud cages stood. A really bizarre situation. I chose a rat and he put it by the tail (you should never do that!!!!) in a small box. I was glad when we were out of this shop and this little rodent was saved. Meanwhile I have the assumption that these rats were possibly meant as food animals and therefore not in the salesroom stood.
At home we put the little one in her cage and she hid in the house. She was very shy and only came out at night for the first 2 days. I gave her the name Sunny. She was a female and looked similar to my current rats Coco and Ivy.
After a few days she dared to get out (the curiosity was probably bigger than the fear) and slowly we approached. Sunny was from then on extremely affectionate and we had really great 1 1/2 years until she had to be operated because of a cyst. At that time, surgery was still a much greater risk, because you could not yet handle the dosage of the anesthesia so accurately. The risk of heart disease after the surgery was high. The operation went well and the wound healed quickly. However, Sunny was no longer the same. She became calmer and wanted to cuddle all the time. At first we thought this was the normal healing process and that she still needed some time. But it didn’t improve and so we went to the vet again. He confirmed that her heart was affected and that she could still live a little, but we should be prepared that this time is now very limited. We went home and I spent as much time with Sunny as we could. From time to time she also played a little bit, but got tired much faster than before the operation. At some point the day came when we had to say goodbye. It was planned days in advance and I felt guilty to decide about the end of her life. Although, it was not my decision. It was my grandmother’s. At that time I was still too young for it and also too close to Sunny.
At that time we were preparing to move because my mother and I moved into our own apartment. So that meant a lot of stress and nobody really noticed that I was feeling bad. I can still remember the trip over to Mainz to the vet. I can’t remember falling asleep anymore. Just remembering that I would have loved to start crying on the way home. The weeks after that I missed Sunny very much and I also missed to have a pet. When my grandmother also noticed this, we decided to take in rats again. Another kind of animal was out of the question this time and there should be 2 males. Flecky and Tobi were their names and as far as I can remember both lived with us for almost 2 years.
Since my first rat moved in with us, I was never longer than 3 months ratless. Some rats stayed 2 years and others only a few weeks. I have nights around the ears struck if my small ill were or in the cage turned out, some blankets and pillows were sacrificed, hours I have spent with it small houses from cardboard to tinker which were destroyed in record time with Nagezähnen again, some tears rolled if a rat was ill or died and hundreds of Euro/DM were left with veterinarians. And I would do everything again! Because the experiences I could make with my rats are simply priceless. And also now while typing this contribution, my big Manni sits with me on the lap and makes clearly attentive to the fact that I should worry nevertheless slowly times about him 🙂


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