Sunday, October 08, 2006


These are my pets. The black and white one is Ulysses, and the gray one is Blue Jay-Z. I love rats. They are intelligent, inquisitive, and cute. They also have distinct personalities. J-Z is a very independent creature- he does his own thing. When I picked him out, he was sleeping while all the other rats were running around because the cage door was open. He was too cool for that. Uly, on the other hand, could not get enough of me. Even with food in front of him, he wanted to play with my fingers and check me out. He follows J-Z around, and likes sleeping on top of him, or at least next to him. They both get excited when I come home, and like to hang out with me on the couch while I watch TV.

I've had pet rats since high school. I used to bring my first rat, Rat, everywhere with me. When I ran away from home, I took her and her cage with me. I got my boys from my friend Barb, who is my friend Gwen's mom. I have known them both since high school, or maybe junior high. I even stayed at their house once when Rat and me ran away. Barb keeps female rats. Two of her rats, who are sisters, had litters within days of each other. Uly and J-Z are cousins. J-Z is a little younger than Uly, and definitely smaller. I think he was the runt of the litter. He does not act like a runt, though. He is a tough little guy.

Most people who have never had rats as pets think they are "gross" and bring up the plague when they hear about my rats. Well, my rats do not carry the plague, and domesticated, or fancy rats, are not like sewer rats. For one thing, they are smaller and cleaner, and if well handled, friendly and affectionate. Rats are ideal pets (except that they only live a couple years, so it is very sad when you get attached to them and they die). I admire wild rats as well. They are the ultimate survivors. Anywhere humans live, there are rats doing quite well. They are pack animals, so they are very social, and their intelligence is a big part of why they survive and flourish. In India, rats are holy at the Karni Mata Temple. People protect and feed the rats at the temple because they are the reincarnated followers of the goddess Karni Mata. I would go back to India just to visit that temple!

I think that the Karni Mata Temple must have inspired Tori Amos when she made the video for "God".

Speaking of India, I have been living on kitchari, an Indian dish that is supposed to be good for digestion. It is very tasty, and it is the only food that never bothers my stomach. India is a wonderful place.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you! Rats are cute and smart... I like them too. I don't have any of my own but I wouldn't think they were gross. :)

Pepper said...

Oh my dear, you do a great job of describing the pleasure one gets from just having rats around! It takes intelligence to understand them and kindness to make them friendly. You are bring up the young rats fabulously.
They will fight among themselves for the position of top rat; but usually aren't too agressive about it. If they get way out of control; one of them (or both) might need to be neutered, alas.
I love your poetry!

Tealrat said...

Marianne, you are by far one of the coolest people I have ever met. are you coming back to Seattle ever? if you do, you can meet my boys :)

Pepper, thanks for taking such good care of Uly and J-Z in their first 2 months. they were already friendly when I adopted them. they are so sweet! we have fun. unfortunately, they do fight sometimes, always after I feed them. they are competitive with the food. I glad you like my poetry!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for the kind words :) I would LOVE to come back to Seattle to settle down eventually. We'll see how it goes... I will definitely be coming by to Seattle for visits though, and we should meet up :)

Anonymous said...

You give rats a good name! I had rats when I was younger, and I found them far more fun than gerbils & hamsters. The rats were always very lively, invesitgative, friendly and cuddly - all qualities that the others cannot always claim. Their intelligence has always surprised me. I miss having pet rats - with two kitties it makes it hard to combine my ideal zoo (which includes fish, rabbits and maybe a giraffe) into one small 2 bedroom house.