Rattie Ratz: The Fostering Journey of Pirate and Captain

By Stephanie Cameron 

Stephanie Cameron is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring a column from Rattie Ratz.

Pirate and Captain
Originally from a breeder, Pirate and Captain (as they are now known) began their life being happily spoiled by their human family. They lived with their family for a year when their owner suddenly found out they needed to move. Unfortunately for the rats, their owner was moving out of the country, so it was time to find the boys a new home. The owner reached out to Rattie Ratz, a domestic pet rat rescue operating within the Bay Area of Northern California. The rescue took in the boys and began the process of trying to find them a new loving home. 

Every rat surrendered to the rescue has different needs. Some rats are wonderfully easy and transition out of the rescue quickly – these rats are usually rat friendly, human friendly and healthy. Other rats require some TLC in their foster home to learn how to better trust people while others may be sick and need medical attention.

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Pirate and Captain needed a little work. The boys had a history in their previous home of not getting along and minor scuffles quickly escalated to full out brawls. Although Pirate is much smaller, he always felt the need to start trouble; and unfortunately for him, his larger brother would finish what Pirate started. During their last big fight, Pirate’s eye was injured. He was taken to the vet and put on antibiotics and while the injury healed, he lost the eye. He was now a one-eyed rat. When he came to the rescue with his one eye and his scruffy fur, he looked like the furry equivalent of a storybook pirate, and his foster mom couldn’t resist giving him the name to match.

The rescue was told that after the accident that caused him to lose his eye, Pirate became skittish. When he and his brother arrived in their new foster home they were a little unsure, but very sweet and both boys quickly stole the heart of their foster mom. While the boys may have warmed up to their new foster family, the big issue was getting them back together. After Pirate lost his eye, the family was understandably concerned, so they decided to keep the boys separated for their own safety. By the time they arrived at Rattie Ratz they had already been living solo for a couple of months.

When a male rat starts fighting with their companions, it’s usually because there has been an increase in their testosterone production, causing them to become territorial. By neutering the rat, the testosterone fades away, and the male rats are able to live a much happier life with their companions. The rescue decided that the first order of business was to get both boys neutered. Say goodbye to those trouble puffs! After Captain and Pirate were healed from their neuters, it was time to start reintroducing them to each other.

From the first day the boys came to live with their foster family, their foster mom kept the two cages stacked on top of each other. This way they could smell and hear each other, but they couldn’t see each other (which might get them worked up). The foster mom also began doing cage swaps immediately. She would swap the rats every 24 hours. By using this method, each rat was living in both cages the same amount of time, and it was the closest they could get to living together without actually living in the same cage. 

Because of the cage swaps, when the boys began introductions in earnest, they did very well. There was a little side eye, and Pirate couldn’t resist peeing on Captain every chance he got, but it was otherwise surprisingly calm. It was a very gentlemanly introduction, their foster mom was so proud of them!

Exactly a week after first starting the introductions, the boys were officially roommates again. They settled into a harmonious cohabitation and the rescue knew it was time to start looking for their new forever family. A couple of people expressed interest in the boys, and the rescue’s Adoption Coordinator got to work and soon after an adopter was chosen.

On their way to be neutered
By the time this story is published, Pirate and Captain will have made the journey to their new home with a lovely older woman who has the time to spoil the boys properly. Their adoption is bitter sweet, as their foster mom really did love them. But the best gift a foster home can give their charges, is the chance to live their best life with someone who will appreciate and love them as much as they deserve. And by finding a home for Pirate and Captain, a new space has been made available for other rats in need.

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.