Rattie Ratz: Christmas with the Fruit Boys

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.

This year I am lucky enough to be spending my Christmas with three very special rats. They came into my life last year when I took them in as fosters. Being a volunteer and Intake Coordinator for Rattie Ratz Rescue, a lot of rats make their way through my home. Usually their stay with me is brief, and my home is simply the beginning of their journey to finding a forever family. However, every once in a while I come across a rat that touches my heart, and I just can’t say goodbye.

These babies were from an accidental litter. The young woman had both male and female rats, and while she was always very careful about keeping the boys and girls separate, a pet sitter accidentally put a female in the male’s cage after play time. Unsurprisingly, the female was pregnant and gave birth to three boys.

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for more articles ⬅

It was decided that mama and babies would come to the rescue, and once the babies were weaned the mama would go back to her owner and the babies would be adopted. Well, mama rat went back to her owner as planned, but the babies never left my house. It was love at first sight. They had the biggest ears (which they sort of grew into) and they were stumbling over their big feet (I knew they were going to be big boys) and they were so sweet.

These three chunky boys have all of my attention this holiday season. We love themes in my home, and the boys were named Grape, Raspberry, and Blueberry. They are fun and inquisitive boys, all of them are little butter balls who love their snacks. Although I’m very careful with their snack intake, they grew up to be luxuriously rounded, just like their namesakes. The boys are double rex dumbos — their parents were from a breeder that focused on double rex — so they have striking features and patchy fur. The bald patches will grow in, just to have hair fall out somewhere else, which means their bald patches are always moving.

Grape is the cuddle bug of the group. He’s usually the first one to poke his head out when he hears me walk into the room. He loves being cuddled, especially when it involves giving or receiving kisses. He has a more lackadaisical approach to life, tending to be slower in his interactions and ambling about during play time. Grape was born missing his left eye, but he gets along just fine without it. If only he would let me put a tiny eye patch on him, he would make the cutest rattie pirate!

The Fruit Boys all grown up

Blueberry is the alpha rat, but all three boys are so lazy he very rarely has to exert any sort of dominance over the others. He’s usually the second one to the door to say hello and loves trying to jump onto the top of the cage when he’s on my shoulders. He’s also prone to respiratory infections, and when he was about six months old, he came down with a horrible URI. He was on multiple antibiotics, had daily sessions with the nebulizer, and was on a liquid diet. It was touch and go for a while but thankfully he was a strong boy and was able to pull through, though not without giving me a good scare. I’m now a helicopter mom when it comes to his breathing, but I am happy to say that he has not had any relapses. [knocks on wood]

Raspberry is the smallest of the boys, and he can usually be found cuddling with one of his brothers. He has a white zig zag mark on his face that makes him look like a rattie version of Harry Potter. He also has the sweetest habit of rubbing his ears with his paw in a quick groom whenever I scratch his back while holding him. He enjoys being out with me, but he prefers to be exploring with his brothers, rather than cuddling with mom. 

Because I volunteer with Rattie Ratz, I sometimes bring the fruit boys to rescue events as Ambassador Rats where they get to meet new people and show them how sweet and fun pet rats can be. The fruit boys are always a crowd pleaser with their big ears, patchy fur, curly whiskers, and big squishy bodies!

The boys being ambassador rats

Because the boys are only a year old, they will hopefully get to enjoy Christmas next year as old men. But even so, I’ll be doing my best to make this Christmas enjoyable for them. They love popcorn garlands, and they also excel at destroying said popcorn garlands. This holiday season I’ve been lazy, and the boys have been wonderful, albeit distracting, company while I watch Christmas movies in the evenings. There’s nothing better than a rattie by your side, cuddling under the blanket, with a glass of wine in your hand while the red and green lights twinkle outside and a Christmas classic is playing in the background.

 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.