Rat Newbie: Erika’s Experience and Buffy and Luci’s Happy Adoption Story

 by Daria Filimonova

Daria Filimonova is a proud rat mom and advocate for destigmatizing rats as pets. Currently she works in the legal sphere and volunteers with Rattie Ratz. Her pets help inspire her every day to be better and pursue her interests which include creative writing, criminology, and animal rights.

At Rattie Ratz Rescue, there are always small furry friends available and looking for forever homes. Erika, a pleased adopter, first heard about Rattie Ratz in 2019 when she attended the Bay Area Pet Fair. At the time, Rattie Ratz had a booth at the fair, allowing people to stop by and learn about the rescue and about rats as pets. Of course, there were also furry cuties available for people to pet and hold to experience pet rats first-hand. Erika had no prior experience with rats but had an enlightening conversation with the volunteers at the booth and was able to pet a rat.  

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Erika explains how the experience led her down the path of adoption, “After hearing about rats and seeing them interact with people I decided I wanted some rats of my own”. 

At the time, Erika was unable to adopt but the thought clung to her. When she moved into an apartment where she was able to have her own pets she reached out to Rattie Ratz. At the beginning of 2021, a pair of female rats got their happy ending - a new home with Erika! While it took Erika some time to complete the adoption process, she says that the girls were well worth the wait. Buffy and Luci, the lucky pair in question, were about 5-6 weeks old at the time of adoption. Erika remembers how nervous she was to handle them at first, especially because her first-time holding her very own rats was when she got her girls!  

When Erika first brought them home, she allowed Buffy and Luci to get used to their new surroundings. She checked in every so often to see how they were adjusting. Like all other pets, rats will have an adjustment period when placed into a new home and it may take them some time to get used to the new sounds and smells and to adjust to their new owner. Erika was also a new rat owner and unsure how to interact with the young girls.

However, rats are social creatures, and soon enough Erika was seeing progress both in her confidence and theirs. "As all of us became more familiar with one another, it became easier to interact with them,” Erika explains and adds that as the rats became more confident, they would seek out affection, “[They] will come up to you when you open the cage for kisses.” Erika notes that handling Buffy and Luci became quite easy and that they now love being held or riding on her shoulder. She was pleasantly surprised at how affectionate the girls became.

Now, Buffy and Luci are a year and a half old and are doing great. Erika is enjoying being a rat owner. “Being a rat owner is fun and allows me to be creative - I can change things around in their cage, try out a new snack, or bring them around the house on my shoulder,” Erika tells us, adding that Buffy and Luci’s favorite snack is an avocado. Erika has also taught her girls how to do tricks! Both Buffy and Luci know how to spin in a circle and will even resort to spinning on their own when they think they deserve a yummy treat. Rats are intelligent animals that can be trained to do many things, but any rat owner will tell you that sometimes it seems the rats are training us! 

Overall, Erika has been surprised by how simple it has been to care for her two girls. She notes the only challenge is keeping up with the cleaning schedule for their cage. She spot-cleans daily and cleans the cage out fully twice a week. Though it can be a lot of work, at the end of the day Erika loves having two cuddle buddies to keep her company while working from home during the pandemic. 

Erika summarizes her decision to adopt Buffy and Luci as an amazing experience. “Owning rats has been very rewarding and brought a lot of happiness to my life,” Erika explains, “They are smart and loving, and I couldn’t ask for better pets!”

If you are considering becoming a new rat owner, Erika has some tips for you! There are many resources online about the proper care and keeping of rats as pets. She recommends watching YouTube videos or searching online to answer any questions that you may have about pet rats. “It was helpful to hear about challenges, solutions, and fun activities from other owners.” Rattie Ratz is also a great resource for helpful information about proper care and local vets. Hopefully we can see more happy stories like that of Erika, Buffy and Luci. Your “cuddle buddies” may just be an adoption application away!

 If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue or find out about upcoming information/adoption events, please visit our Facebook or Instagram. If you are interested in adoptable rats or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue, visit their website at www.rattieratz.com

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section on Kings River Life, and the Pets section here on KRL News & Reviews. Check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from Feral Paws. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue. We also have a special Facebook Group for our pet articles--join and never miss a pet article.