So I stopped by my big box chain store today... they had about 3 fancys and 3 dumbo's all males... store policy says one store gets males another gets girls... The boys were all about 5 months old, maybe six or seven at the outside. One according to the girl employee had been there forever... it was a black caped. Basically she agreed the rats were coming in too old and staying around too long... and store policy ran against playing with the small animals... Honestly, I think she was a little afraid of the ratties, She wouldn't admit that people were having trouble socializing the rats they sold, but went so far as to say that's the purchasor's responsibility (read as problem).
I couldn't help myself, I've made enough comments here and decided to put my fingers where my mouth was for better or worse so I had her open a cage and I reached in and found a grey capped dumbo interested in my hand, it sniffed, nibbled (likely first time it had smelled or tasted a human hand up close, but he wasn't agressive, so I scooped him up. The young lady seemed just a little surprised when I pointed out to her that just a little attention would go a long way and that they would more than likely sell more rats if they could handle them or put them on their shoulders. She said there was no way they would have time to train a rat to ride on someone's shoulder. So I plunked the boy on my shoulder and walked him around the store while we talked, it attracted a bit of attention from the other employees. Yes the rat had been there too long, it was way too happy to go back into it's cage, but after it was back it came to the glass to try to catch another ride, so it was far from a lost cause...
Now all of you folks know I cheated... I know rats, and I picked the best one for the demonstration. The red eyed tan caped dumbo, would have been OK, but the black capped dumbo never ventured out of it's house to even give me a sniff, my demo might have not gone nearly as well with him, but despite what I originally thought, there was at least one rat in the store that would have made a fine pet for someone with experience without any real hard work socializing it.
So although my primary objections still stand, the rats are too old and they aren't handled, and likely some are screwed up, but there are definately some good ones to be had there if you know how to pick them. They all looked in reasonable to good health. I'm not completely changing my opinion, even a friendly unsocialized rat can be challenging to a newbie at 5 to 7+ months old and I'm sure at that age, there are turkeys in among the ratties that wouldn't make for easy pets for anyone, but if the rattie is friendly and manageable at the store, I suppose someone could find a friend there, "caveat emptor".
My rat is smarter than your honor student.
It doesn't matter what you get from a pet store that sells animals, you are supporting the company. Let me repeat, you are supporting the company. You are giving them money to continue on in their ways. And yes I understand there are good Pet Smarts out there, but they are all a chain and if there is even one bad one, you shouldn't support them at all. Pet stores that sell pets should not exist. You should only be able to get animals from breeders (actual breeders of course) and shelters. Getting a pet is not a shopping experience, you are adopting an animal that you are responsible for. If in some world we can get all pet stores to get their pets from reputable breeders and have a shelter, then by all means pet stores can be in business. But until that happens you are ignorant if you think it's okay to buy your feed from a pet store. It's all about the big picture, not on an individual basis all the time.
Yes if a rat in a pet store looks deep into your eyes and tells you to take it home, I forgive you for getting it (not that you probably care). Even I have a heart and might too. But to resist the temptation of getting pulled in, stay out of the stores. You shouldn't be buying anything from them for any animal so you shouldn't need to go in. I understand situations where non-animal-selling stores go out of business, there are probably a hundred other crazy situations where I would be fine if someone bought something from an animal-selling pet store. But overall they should not be supported.
And if you can't find a rat from a shelter or an accidental litter, too bad. Having an animal is a privilege and you're out of luck. Find another thing to give your love too until you can come across one. Or just don't have them at all. You are being selfish getting an animal from a pet store on a whim because you aren't looking at the big picture. You just want a cute rat now.
I know this is blunt and not sugar coated, but it's my opinion and I'm tired of people who love animals supporting companies who want to make money. I made some generalizations I know, but I don't feel like putting in brackets all the fine print. You're smart, you can figure it out.
Last edited by Rosalynn; 09-12-2012 at 10:11 PM.
The problem with your plan is we would have to neglect our pets to do that ... there is only one store in my area with no pets and they don't sell anything I need for my small animals. Sometimes its all you can do. Plus as I understand you are supporting the store but you are not directly supporting their selling animals ... we have to do what we must to feed our pets if there was no oetsmart here my cat and rats and such would be eating pet food from the grocery store which does not benefit anyone
My Fuzzy Family Hamsters:Bear, Lynx Cat: Emma Rats:Apollo, Ember, Mei, Iris, Aura
All right. All right. All right!
This whole thing has turned into a big furious mess of a ball of hate, and I have just read through all seven of these pages so I know what is in this thread. Let me tell you, most of what I see here is downright ridiculous. People here are literally saying that you should not buy pets from big pet stores because they don't treat the animals well, and yet this is what I see:
Why does the big branch store have to be evil? Why can't we get a rat that was born from a mill? Will we love it less because it had a harder start, or doesn't have better genes? Because it didn't live as long do we love it less then the ones that out live it? And then people yell at the stores "you sold me a pet I loved that died too young!" As tragic as it is I have to quote a country song here: "I could have missed the pain but I would have had to miss the dance." I have a thirteen year old Yellow lab my family bought form a pet store. When she was seven we found out she had been a puppy mill puppy. Do I wish we had gotten a dog from a breeder instead? NO WAY ON THIS EARTH! I NEVER stop and wish I had gotten a lab somewhere else, because if I had I wouldn't have HER. Saying not to get a rat because he was born in a mill is akin to saying not to marry someone because he is a fatherless child, which they used to say until they realized it was a TRASH idea. The genes of a rat are determined by birth, yes, but not the love they give to you.
Someone here suggested that not buying pets from pet stores was the answer but people will do that and you cannot much stop them. And as far as the person mad about their hamsters death of wet tail. That is tragic, but you cannot blame the store for that because you are just as much at fault. Wet tail is treatable. You could have treated and saved your hamster. I know that is mean to say but that does not make it less true. Education is everything. Someone else here made a great point, that the best way to change things was to boycott the store all together, but then where do we get the dog food for my 13 year old yellow lab? Or my breeder puppy, or my rescue dog? Yes, I have pets from every situation. My rats even came from the owner, who needed to re-home them. Do any of them show any less love or affection? No. They all have different personalities and are all lovely animals.
And some of the things I have read here:
And everyone here screams "breeder, breeder, breeder!" but some of these breeders I hear about are just running smaller scale mills! Someone on this site received a female rat form a breeder that I think she payed $20 for only to find out it was pregnant. Turns out while the rat was not housed with males "the cages were too close together." To which I say, "What?!" Yes, just because you pay an extra $15 does not mean you are getting a "better rat" and do not say that rats from pet stores are not being looked down upon here, because they are.
And I am a frequenter of many pet stores, and yes, I have seen some bad pet stores before, but it was not the big branch pet store everyone here seems to think is the bad guy. It was a little self operated thing. They didn't sell rats, they had guinea pigs in terrible conditions. Another pet store I used to go to is literally known for selling fish that die. (Another small self operated.) So, yes, not all pet stores are good, but to say all are evil is wrong in itself. All, always, and never do not exist. There are exceptions to everything. I go to Petsmarts and Petcos and see them using carefresh, checked and saw all the bottles always had water and the rats were healthy looking and being fed a steady diet of lab blocks. They handle them regularly and are educated when I ask them questions. If I do come across an employee that doesn't have the answer they will swiftly bring me to the person that knows more than they do. I have bought mice from a store and I was asked if they were for pets or for food, I told them pets and I was told that if I had said food they would not have been able to sell to me. One of those mice died within a few months, and it was tragic and I cried but do I blame the store? No. Do I wish I hadn't bought that mouse? NO! I loved her for her personality and if I hadn't gotten her I would never have enjoyed the experience of having HER. To say that it is only okay if someone has had "that moment" is ridiculous and who are you on your high horse to tell us that we are wrong for buying the creature we now hold so close to our heart?
I cannot be the only one here that cheers when I see a family shopping for a small animal at a pet store, and I am proud to smile at the parents that take out a rat for their child to hold. Because the pet is from a store or a mill, will the child love it less? NO! And perhaps that purchase that day made on impulse turns that child into a responsible, rat loving adult. Who is to say?
Now I am going to end this thing with one last quote from Rat Daddy that's been absolutely rockin' in defending his position:
Thank you, thank you. YOU rock, Maiden!
You said it al perfectly. We all love our ratties (and dogs, cats, lizards, etc.), and we should keep the focus on them instead of where they came from. Let's choose to share pleasant experiences and photos and stop the lecturing. Please.
Also, my Petsmart is literally across the street from my apartment - realistically, there's no way on Earth that I'm gonna drive all the way to Texas for a breeder!
Sandy's happy, silly family:
Bad Rat, Cupcake, Peppermint, Jaws, Whisper & Ricochet!
Anakin Skywalker, Padme & Cotton (cats)
4 cockatiels, 4 budgies, 1 parrotlet
This is ridiculous, you guys don't even know what you're arguing about any more. It's like arguing just for the sake of arguing... I'm locking this.
Rest well Matilda, Rufus, Oliver, Sebastian, Miles, Leno, Blue boy, Fuzzy boy, Benjamin, and Bernard.