How old are you?

Iz 1 years old! On da May 24th iz gonna be two!!

Where did your name come from?

My name be japanese! It means spot! Cause I habs a lot ob spots on my back!

How did you come to live with your human family?

Da mommy had three rats already and wanted to habs two new furiends! So hers was looking online when she found me and my sister (Shima) in need ob a home! So hers emailed those people to ask them iffin she could habs us! When she went to visit she fell in love wiff a third rat (Beju) so she ask iffin she could take us home all three! And that was okays! Now we was still to youngs to come homes so da mommy had to waits a few weeks! Two days before she went to pick us up, she got an email… every rat found a new home except for one!!! So they asked if maybe da mommy would likes to takes home four instead ob three! Da mommy said obcourse! So thats why we also gots my other sisfur (Aki)

What type of mouse are you?

Iz nots a mouse! Iz a rat! Iz a pet rat wiff dumbo ears! That means my ears be on da side ob my head instead obs on top!

Do you live with any other furry siblings? If so who are they?

I libs wiff my sisfurs who be Aki, that be a brown rat! Hers name be japanese and means Autumn. Shima looks like me wiff a brown fur and a stripe on years back. Shima means stripe in english. And we habs Beju who be kinda ob a beige color. Beju means beige in english. Aki and Shima be real sisfurs. Beju comes from another mother who had gotten sick. Hers had to get medicine so hers could not gibs milk anymores! Thats why Beju came to libs wiff my mommy and sisfurs! Hers be born on da may 25th so she be one day younger!

Do you know any tricks?

Iz not sure iffin this be a trick but I listen to my name! I also listen to da door! When I gets to run free in da house and somepawdy opens da door, Iz always run to da door to greet thems! Iz also follows da mommy through da house! Likes a doggy!

What advice do you have for someone who wants a small pet?

Nebers just buy a small pet wiffout reading information first! We maybe small but that does not mean wez be easy pets! Most small pets lubs to live wiff cagemates! Except for hamsters! Make sure we habs a big enuff cage and neber ebers buy us from a petstore!

What is a typical day like for you?

Iz nap a lot!!! But Iz also lubs to cuddle or to runs around!

Do you get out of your cage often?

I does! I lubs to snuggle or run arounds! Sometimes Iz just sit on mommy’s shoulder when hers be busy doing stuff!

Is there anything you would like to share that others may not know about you?

Neber buy one rat! No mater how much time youz gonna spend wiff a rat it not da same as a cage mate!


Cages for Rats

(Taken from:http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/careofrats/a/ratscare.htm)
A large wire cage is best, especially one with horizontal bars that allow the rat to climb on the sides if they wish. A tall cage with ramps and platforms is ideal for providing room for multiple rats. As minimum, a cage with 12 by 24 inches (2 square feet) of floor space is okay for two smaller rats, as long as the cage is tall and you provide shelves and/or hammocks for extra space. Larger is always better. Large aquariums are okay, but do not provide good ventilation (and must be cleaned more often).

Avoid cages with wire flooring as spending time on wire flooring has been linked to bumblefoot. Many cages have wire balconies and shelves, which are not ideal. However, you can modify wire balconies by covering them with a thin sheet of wood or other solid material (fix to the cage with wire ties). Also look for wire that is a fine grid (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch maximum). Your best bet is to look for cages that have plastic or wood shelving, or you can modify cages using melamine covered boards to make your own shelves (easy to clean). Many enterprising rat owners have built their owne large cages. See the Dapper Rat’s Grotto and their pages of other ideas for inspiration.

Bedding
For bedding, avoid cedar and pine wood shavings (see “The Problem with Cedar and Pine Shavings” for more information), but aspen (or other hardwood) shavings are fine. There are many other good pet bedding and litter options available these days that are very absorbent, not dusty and safe for small pets. Some are pelleted so might not be all that comfortable for rats to play and sleep in, so some people use the pelleted products (which are usually very absorbent) under a layer of softer loose bedding. For a sampling of the newer alternative pet bedding products, see “Top Ten Alternatives to Cedar and Pine.”


Food & Water

(Taken from: http://www.ratfanclub.org/caresheet.html)

            A bulk grain mix does not meet the nutritional needs of rats.  Food blocks or nuggets made specifically for rats are best.  If a fortified grain mix is fed, you must make sure your rats eat the vitamin/mineral nuggets in the mix.  About 20% of their diet should be a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cooked sweet potato, and cooked beans.  Fluoride is toxic to rats so if your water is fluoridated, you must give your rats bottle water.  Chlorinated water also is not good.

 

Accessories

Rats need a water bottle, a food dish for fresh foods, and we recommend a hanging dispenser for dry foods.  Many rats will use a litter box if it is placed in the corner they choose for a toilet.  A concrete block, bird pedicure perch or similar toys in the cage will help keep their toenails short.  Rats also need sleeping quarters and enjoy boxes, igloos, the Super Pet Giant Roll-a-nest and hammocks.  While most rats will chew on a hammock and eventually destroy it, this rarely causes them any harm.


A Rat’s Diet

(Taken from: http://christinepurr.hubpages.com/hub/Pet-Rats-Are-Awesome-Rat-Care-Tips)

Rats in the wild will eat anything they can get their hands on. They’re foragers, thieves, and gluttons when the chance arises… so does this mean your pet rat can eat like a garbage disposal? NO! Domestic rats are different from their wild counterparts, and this is just one of the many differences. A pet rat’s main diet should be of a high quality rat lab blocks or pellet chew forumulated for their metabolism. Harlan Teklad is a great brand, as is Mazuri. Gerbil/Hamster food contains much higher calorie content. Avoid buying rat food which also says ‘gerbil/hamster’ food. A high caloric intake can lead your rattie to a future with tumors. Look for brands that list soy meal as the main ingredient – this food should be their staple food – available at ALL times, along with smaller helpings of veggies and fruits: peas, carrots, broccoli, apples, bananas, banana chips, and pears are recommended often. Avoid feeding rats caffeine, soda, coffee, chocolate, oranges, lemon, and avocado. If you’re unsure about a particular food, look it up. Always better to be safe than sorry. Rats also look forward to treats, so try incorporating the healthy stuff, along with yogies (rats LOVE ’em), into their daily diet. Remember: Rats can’t vomit, or burp, so nothing that can get stuck in their throat – like peanut butter, and nothing carbonated!

Make sure fresh water is available at all times. Water bottles that cling to cage wires or fit over a tank casing are essential as water dishes get beding/rat stuffs into them, getting dirty and contaminated fast. Rats do like playing in water, so having a water bottle and a water dish for play is another idea.


One Rat? Or Two? Buy pet rats in pairs!

(Taken from: http://www.discover-pet-rats.com/buy-pet-rats.html)

Don’t break this rule unless you have a LOT of time to spend with your small pet! When you can’t be with him, a rat is happiest with a rat buddy.

These intriguing critters are social animals, and as much as they thrive on attention from people, life is not complete without a friend of their own kind… Someone to clean out their ears (yum!), to snuggle with for warmth & to pass lonely days.

While you’re unavailable – during school or work time, or taking a snooze, or out munching pizza – they’re busily grooming or playing little rat wrestling games.

Pet rats are also smart critters which makes them prone to boredom and listlessness when isolated. An otherwise healthy rat can pine away when left alone, becoming depressed and vulnerable to getting sick.

With more than one rat, the burden isn’t as great on you to fill their waking hours. Your rats will entertain themselves and still readily include you in their friendship when you give them their daily dose of attention. Buy pet rats a buddy to make life more enjoyable for all!


Author’s Note: My deepest sincerest apologizes to Shimi, this article should have been posted earlier today but I had overlooked it. My dear sweet Shimi, will you forgive me for the oversight?

I would like to thank Shimi for letting me use the pictures and for wanting to be interviewed. The pleasure was all mine. You can find Shimi on facebook here


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