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Discussion Starter #1
I haven't come here in forever and was mostly a lurker when I did, so... HI EVERYONE.

I have had a rat "obsession" for the last six months or so, starting about the time I moved back in my mother's basement to go back to school.

The short story: My mother hates animals. I have one cat that is mostly outdoor. Up until now, she has told me absolutely NO WAY am I having any other animals in her house.

Yesterday I met the cutest, SWEETEST ratties ever at the local humane association. A group of six had been brought in around a month ago, and none have been adopted yet. I fell in love with one in particular, so I decided to bring it up to my mom again.

This time she said I could bring in a (set of) rat(s) if I found a new home for the cat.

I love this cat. She's a really net cat. (Not the one in my avatar, though. :p) But I kind of think that rats would be better for my "lifestyle" and that I would generally just enjoy having rats more than a cat.

What do y'all think?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
'cause I know everyone loves pictures, this is the rat I met at the humane society this weekend:

 

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i think that rat is cute, but you made a prior commitment to the cat, so i would say stick with the cat until it dies. pets are not just throw-aways to be exchanged for a new, funner toy when one comes along. they depend on you for their very lives, and are much like children. you cannot just exchange your child for a cuter baby, now can you? keep your cat. rats will still be cute in 5 years, so wait for them. in the mean time, you can accumulate all the proper bedding and cages for your future rats, so that when you get them, you can properly take care of them. love your cat the way she deserves to be loved.
 

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I agree. You already have the cat, and it's yours until it's life has run its course.
Is there no way you could talk to your mom, explain that the cat is mostly outdoors, and the rats would be mostly in your room, so that likely she wouldn't see any of them at all? That way you could have a bigger animal family, which I always think is a good thing!
And yes, that is a sweet rat, s/he looks just like my Sevilla!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I talked to my boyfriend and decided we'd wait... He kind of hinted to me that we may be moving in together when his lease is up (this summer), at which point the question will be moot. Of course that doesn't do much for these PARTICULAR rats, but hopefully they will find homes with a rodent-loving college student soon. :-/

As far as "trading out" animals...I really don't understand the concept that you can't. People's lifestyles change, their personalities change, their needs from a pet change. As a horseperson, I know most people don't necessarily buy a horse expecting to care for it for its lifetime (which can be thirty years) but until they outgrow it...I don't see why the same isn't true for other animals. Not even marriage is forever. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Captain: No, I've been trying that since I moved back in here; she's not buying. I don't get it, but I guess mothers don't always have to be logical.
 

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sure, people's lifestyles change, but you should make every attempt to accommodate your old pets into your new life. what makes you think that you are no longer a cat person and more of a rat person? if you have two hours every day to spend with an animal, why should that animal be a set of four rats instead of one cat? cats thrive on human attention as much as rats do. i understand that you can't always know where you will be in 30 years. give me one great reason why you should no longer have a cat, and i might let it go, but personally i have a problem with people giving up pets because they basically got bored of it.
 

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i can understand both sides of this dimlights and onlyono. and both of you have very valid points. people's lives change and not always does that change to allow current pets or it changes in a way where that pet would be better off in a different place. but that does not mean that you should not try to accommodate the old pet either. simply trading pets because you are bored of that current pet... well you may never have a pet for its entire life then and that would be a great shame as the pets change with age as well and you could be missing out on a great time. but i think what is being missed here, or at least in this part of the debate, is that regardless of the reason if you decide that one pet is not going to be with you anymore, respect needs to be paid to that pet and you still have a responsibility to it until you find it a good and loving home on your own. dumping them on shelters will is not in the best interest of the animal at all. they may not be able to find home and have to be killed to make space for other animals that may have a better chance. depending on where you are and the practices of the shelters near you your pet's chance at another home can be over in as short as 36 hours. if you decide you no longer want the animal it is still up to you to find them a good home.

anyway, that's my comment on it. regardless of the reason, the owner is responsible in finding the next home and making sure that home is a good one.

as for these rats, yeah, it sucks you can't take them home with you, but hopefully they will be able to find a great home still. and maybe, as time moves on you may be able to find someone willing to temporally hold on to them for you too. you never know, there may still be a chance at it. i think waiting would probably work out better anyway. it doesn't sound like you really want to give up your cat in any case, and if you wait you can have both your cat and some rats. a win win all round.
 

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personally I think it is best that animals go to a home where they will live out there lives

these rats are in a shelter because someone else's "lifestyle" changed & they no longer fit into it

I see a pattern here. Dump the cat bring in rats & then what happens to rats when they no longer "fit in"?

I can respect that people's live change & often we face ourselves in situations where our pets may not be welcomed at locations where we find ourselves. I have so been there & had to deal with that in my life, yet I did not allow this to void that commitment I made with my pets.

I have a nearly 15 year old Rottweiler named Nikki. When I got her I owned my home & I had no plans to leave so I knew I could make that commitment of having a big dog that would most likely be rejected in other living arrangements. Well, that plan worked for the first 5 years after I got her. Yup, stuff happens & things change.

Unforeseen circumstances came up. I got divorced the same year. Not because I had a troubled marriage but because my husband broke a rule I had made him commit to within the first couple days we dated much less through engagement & all the time that followed. I had him promise he would not ever be involved with cocaine if he wanted a life with me. I was able to carry the load as well as raise the 3 kids on my own for a while but eventually I had to sell my home... it came to a point, feed myself & my family or pay the mortgage. I've had to sneak my big girl into an apartment a couple times over the years. Try pulling that one off. I managed to live places for as long as 2 years & they never knew I had her, well at least no one complained about her being there. I had to house her with a friend for about 8 months one time. I even signed a lease in a crap neighborhood, for a crap house & stayed there for nearly 3 years BECAUSE I could have her there. Good thing too, that neighborhood was one you needed a 130 pound dog running inside your fence.

The point is... now she has come to her final days & she is still with me. I did whatever I had to do to live up to the commitment I made to her when I brought her home from that shelter. This week I have to say goodbye & I have a deep hurt inside of me because of the bond I have with her due to the hardships she & I have endured together.

Pets aren't disposable, they are living creatures. Man has saw fit to remove many species from the wild & domesticate them for their use & companionship. Many of these species can no longer fend for themselves because of our domestication so we have made them dependent upon our care. If we make a decision to bring these animals into our lives we have to also make that decision & commitment that they are ours to care for until the end of their natural lives.

I implore people to consider this before getting a pet because when you don't do so, in the near future you end up contributing to the ordeal that we face today... flooding the overburdened system with yet more unwanted pets or is that... pets that have lost there cuteness factor no longer fit my lifestyle.
 

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dimlights said:
As far as "trading out" animals...I really don't understand the concept that you can't. People's lifestyles change, their personalities change, their needs from a pet change. As a horseperson, I know most people don't necessarily buy a horse expecting to care for it for its lifetime (which can be thirty years) but until they outgrow it...I don't see why the same isn't true for other animals. Not even marriage is forever. :p

I hope you can come to a conclusion, with your cats best intensions in mind. I do believe peoples lives change and sometimes there are situations where animals do need to be rehomed for considerable reasons. However, getting rid of one animal to obtain another one is something that happens way to often and is not usually favorable to the "old" pet. I am a horse person, and in the horse world many ppl outgrow there first, second, and third horse. But, I could never get rid of my horse for another. I made a commitment to him. Simple as that.
[EDIT] Some ppl like reachthestars said see them as an investment. I do not.
Maybe you are a horseperson who wouldnt mind giving up your horse for another. I am a horseperson who would not be able to do this. But I also would not be able to do this with my cats, dog, or rats either.
 

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In my mind, horses are more of an investment type of pet. You can buy them, put work on them and resell them. There is a good market for older, well trained, babysitter-type horses, and as you develop as a rider your needs change as well. They're not cheap by any standards, and they are generally seen on a whole different level than small animals (which actually is a term refering to cats, dogs, rats, etc.)

Small animals such as cats are for life with the exception of certain circumstances. If you're 'bored' of your cat and want another pet, I would seriously, SERIOUSLY reconcider getting any more animals until you've matured alot. Cats are creatures of habit, and bond very strongly to their humans. It is cruel to expect them at whatever age to simply move on to a new family and settle right in. It is stressful, and can be traumatic.

I have a young kitten, and only made the commitment to her, knowing that come what may she will ALWAYS be in my life. If I move far away she will fly with me. While I have my rats if I have to move any distance, guess what? I'm driving. A pet is for life, not entertainment.

I volunteer at the SPCA as part of my course requirements (Vet Tech) and have seen many animals dropped off and euthanized days later. One of them was a cat I wanted to adopt with all my heart, but when I was finally able to talk to them about it I was informed he had been PTS. He was dropped off when his owners had a baby.

Please seriously concider this before getting any other animals.
 

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i am also a petsitter and over the holidays i took in 2 cats and a large dog from a lady who had to up and move out of her current living situation. she didn't say what it was, but i got the gist that it was an angry, abusive situation. i watched her pets for about a month while she frantically searched for a new place to live that would take her pets. after she found a place, she came clean to me that it was she that had a drug and alcohol problem and that she decided to come clean for the love of her boys. how sweet is that? sure, her lifestyle was rocky, it changed often, and her pets were stuck in the middle of it. but she is now entering rehab to clean up her life, and asked me to keep her in my thoughts, just in case she needs me to watch her pets again. if you love your pets, you will make the effort, even though i know that it is not always possible.
 

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CaptainFlow said:
I agree. You already have the cat, and it's yours until it's life has run its course.
What if you had a female cat with a brother, both not spayed or neutered, but before they were old enough, the female started attacking the man of the house, for no apparent reason? Or owning a female cat after that who decides to pee and poop wherever she wants? Would we HAVE to keep them until they die, then, and deal with a smelly house, or a vicious cat? I'm sorry, but there are SOME things that I disagree about with that sentance. We made them barn cats at an old cattle ranch. They're still alive, and the fat cat peeing everywhere actually managed to loose some weight, and catch her own dinners! Both still come around here and there, to say hello to the people keeping cat food in the barn as well. Just thought I would share my experiences with female cats lately. We still, however, have the male cat, but, still not neutered...The money's coming for it, though! :D Rach

editted to fix code
 

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rach913 said:
CaptainFlow said:
I agree. You already have the cat, and it's yours until it's life has run its course.
What if you had a female cat with a brother, both not spayed or neutered, but before they were old enough, the female started attacking the man of the house, for no apparent reason? Or owning a female cat after that who decides to pee and poop wherever she wants? Would we HAVE to keep them until they die, then, and deal with a smelly house, or a vicious cat? I'm sorry, but there are SOME things that I disagree about with that sentance. We made them barn cats at an old cattle ranch. They're still alive, and the fat cat peeing everywhere actually managed to loose some weight, and catch her own dinners! Both still come around here and there, to say hello to the people keeping cat food in the barn as well. Just thought I would share my experiences with female cats lately. We still, however, have the male cat, but, still not neutered...The money's coming for it, though! :D Rach
You've just touched on another pet peeve of mine with this one.

If you can't afford the surgery don't get the animal. Especially a male and female, and certainly not two who are brother and sister. It sounds like your female was experiancing redirected agression - probably acting out at humans because her brother was bothering her, as males often do when they come of age.

As to the urinating/defecating around the house - it was a two cat household? For two cats you would need a minimum of 3 litterboxes, each in a different area of the house. Perhaps the male was being territorial over 'his' litterbox if you only had one. How often was the litterbox cleaned? Twice weekly is what is recommended, as cats don't like to go in a dirty spot.

Am I correct in assuming that you turned an intact female loose? The world already has enough unwanted animals, in her case it probably would have been a better option to turn her over to the SPCA, where she could be spayed and atleast have a chance at finding a home.

I hope for your sake that the male cat hasn't begun to spray yet. Once they get into the habit neutering rarely corrects it. Is he another one you'll release outdoors?
 

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rach913 said:
CaptainFlow said:
I agree. You already have the cat, and it's yours until it's life has run its course.
What if you had a female cat with a brother, both not spayed or neutered, but before they were old enough, the female started attacking the man of the house, for no apparent reason? Or owning a female cat after that who decides to pee and poop wherever she wants? Would we HAVE to keep them until they die, then, and deal with a smelly house, or a vicious cat? I'm sorry, but there are SOME things that I disagree about with that sentance. We made them barn cats at an old cattle ranch. They're still alive, and the fat cat peeing everywhere actually managed to loose some weight, and catch her own dinners! Both still come around here and there, to say hello to the people keeping cat food in the barn as well. Just thought I would share my experiences with female cats lately. We still, however, have the male cat, but, still not neutered...The money's coming for it, though! :D Rach

editted to fix code
That's ridiculous.
If you have a cat, spay or neuter it. End of story. This goes double if you are keeping a male and a female cat in the same household, and triple if they're siblings. If you can't afford proper care for an animal, you shouldn't be thinking about getting it. And no one for any reason should let an unspayed cat out into the world, she'll just have unwanted litter after unwanted litter until her poor body is so exhausted from giving birth that she dies.

Cats don't normally attack people for no reason. Usually, "no reason" is abuse, whether they are attacking their abuser, or just letting out some pent up emotions. And if they're "not old enough" (I assume that's for spaying/neutering), that just means the cat is still a kitten, and you shouldn't get rid of a kitten for attacking moving things, it's what they do.

As for a cat that's pooping and peeing wherever, that's a correctable behavior issue probably brought on by her environment. It just takes a little work to correct, just like any animal behavior issue. We had a cat who liked to pee on our luggage, so we started closing the luggage behind doors and spritzed her with water whenever she got near it. It took some time, and diligence on our part to make sure she got a little spritz whenever she went near the door to the room, but she now stays away. You brought the cat into your life, so you have to either make accommodations for behaviors, or take the time to train them away.

No, you don't HAVE to keep every animal until it dies. But you did promise that to the animal when you brought it into your life, so it better be a darn good reason (like dying) for letting that animal down.
 

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we can talk until we are blue in the face on what constitutes a good reason to give an animal away. there are reasons that do exist though, for instance, if it would be better for the animal to be in another home (there's a young child that is too violent with the animal-yes, you need to teach the child to be more gentle but in the meantime there could be real risk to the animal's life-your pet has behavior issues that you are not capable of dealing with but someone with more experience could, your pet has developed special medical needs that you cannot afford but someone else could, your new pet is child or other animal aggressive/terrified and would do better in a childless/single pet home, etc, etc).

but the reason behind it does not matter as much as the owner's responsibility to find the pet a home, not dumping it at a shelter. if they are being dangerous or terrified in the current home then the owner needs to find a foster home with a friend while you find a proper home for the animal. shelters should only be used to rescue the strays and to help people with speuters and helping (by networking not surrender) to find suitable homes if the current is not. taking care of just the strays will keep most shelters more then full but when you add in surrenders as well, well then there's even more animals, which means less space and a shorter time period to give these homeless animals a chance at a home before having to make room for the newcomers.

because really, when it comes down to it, you should never care for a life that is not wanted. this where a lot of abuse and neglect come from. simply because that life is not wanted it becomes less of a life in many peoples eyes. if they keep the animal out of a sense of duty, how far does that sense carry the animal. will that sense carry it only as far as shelter and food, will it still provide the animal with affection and should the animal become sick will the sense of duty carry as far as possibly expensive surgery or medications or will the owner see it as "finally!" and let "nature take its course". if a person does not want something they tend to pay less attention to it, this is often translated over to animals. take children who lose an interest in that new pet, they don't want it anymore and so stop interacting with it, even if their parents make them care for the basic needs of feeding, watering and making sure the shelter is kept clean. social and emotional interactions with the animal is cut out of this.

this topic really started off quite innocently but has developed into quite the debate on animal care and its ethics. as such i will keep it open to that debate. however, i can already see that this topic could very easily become heated, so i would like to take the opportunity to remind people now, do not make personal attacks and do not take general comments as a personal attack. we are discussing a differing of opinions here and nothing more. if it degenerates to bickering the topic will be locked for a minimum of a week to let everyone cool down before discussion continues.

on that note, i'm looking forward to reading other people's opinion on the matter.
 

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because really, when it comes down to it, you should never care for a life that is not wanted. this where a lot of abuse and neglect come from. simply because that life is not wanted it becomes less of a life in many peoples eyes. if they keep the animal out of a sense of duty, how far does that sense carry the animal. will that sense carry it only as far as shelter and food, will it still provide the animal with affection and should the animal become sick will the sense of duty carry as far as possibly expensive surgery or medications or will the owner see it as "finally!" and let "nature take its course". if a person does not want something they tend to pay less attention to it, this is often translated over to animals. take children who lose an interest in that new pet, they don't want it anymore and so stop interacting with it, even if their parents make them care for the basic needs of feeding, watering and making sure the shelter is kept clean. social and emotional interactions with the animal is cut out of this.
I agree completely with that statement. If someone does not WANT an animal, then the animal should be given to someone who does. When people are "forced" to bear the responsibilities of a pet they don't "want," usually it's the animal who suffers. Like the hundreds of "surprise! Valentine's Day" puppies and kittens that will be popping up all over the country soon enough... :(
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I would not take my cat to a shelter. I was actually considering taking her to my real dad's house, where she (might) be happier. She was originally my barn cat, but I'm living back in the suburbs...so part of me doesn't feel that she's as happy as she could be. My dad has acreage and plenty of opportunity for mice-killin.

Anyway...as I already said...my boyfriend and I jointly decided to wait it out, and hopefully my living situation will change in the next six months or so.

Call me a terrible person if you want, but yes, I have got rid of animals before. (Not "rid of" as in "dropped at a shelter," but "found a better home than I could provide.") Unfortunately, my life is not as stable as apparently everyne else's is.

There's so much contradiction here -- "if you can't afford a pet, don't have one" but "you must take care of your pet until death." What about if, over the fifteen years of your cat's life, a situation arises that leaves you without the financial ability to care for it? Does that make you a horrible person?

Calm down, y'all.
 

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you have to learn how to plan for the unexpected, this all part of growing up & becoming stable

When I was younger that may have been something as little as considering 500 in my checking account to actually be 0... I would do everything I could to make sure I never dropped under that amount but buried in the back of my mind I knew I had a small emergency covered with the 500 if needed (we are also talking about 20 plus years ago when 500 would go further)

What happens if you move in with the boyfriend... get a crap load of new pets or whatever... & the relationship fails? Think about it... do you go back to the Mother's house who hates animals? Do you drop them all off at Dad's barn? What becomes of those pets? "plan for the unexpected because sh*t don't always work out like we would want it to"

So there you go... if you are not stable enough to be prepared for those emergencies that come up in life for yourself then don't add to the responsibility load you are already teetering on your shoulders. This just adds stress & stress will add wrinkles. I just turned 41 last week & I still get carded... a true testament to living life as stress free as possible. (my KISS philosophy, Keep It Simple Stupid)

Take baby steps right now... get your life stable & then once you can provide stability for yourself then you invite in the love of an pet.

But for right now, if you are dying to play & interact with animals... volunteer at a rescue. It would be better to offer love to those than find yourself stressed out placing animals in back up homes when/if "unexpected" things come up & you are no longer capable of caring for them.
 

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i'm saying the following in a general statement sort of way.

i can understand planning for illnesses, they are not unexpected, its just a matter of time. but if a person were to wait until their life became stable no one would ever get pets. life is stable right up until its not. you have to take chances and home for the best. if you go into a relationship, keeping in mind, what do i do if it fails, its more likely yo fail because you holding yourself back. it can be good to consider that before moving in with someone (makes you look at if you are ready to move in and further your commitment to the person) but once the decision is made then you should go in whole heart. that means living like you won't break up and bringing in pets if they are wanted. now, the relationship may work for a year then the people may go their separate ways, it may work for many years, they could get married then get divorced. i always hear that people don't change, well for the most part they don't but sometimes they do and what they become is not who you signed up with. stability in life is only an illusion. we can feel secure in where we're at then the next day be turned on our head. and there are times when people just can no longer care for their animal though they truely love them, either the animal or themselves become too sick to be able to care for them (as a previous example the animal develops an illness -diabetes, heart conditions, hip problems, etc- the the current owner can not afford to care for but perhaps another person could).

as far as back up homes are concerned, they are no different then saving up for that vet bill before the bill comes. sometimes situations change fast and it is comforting that you have a place lined up for your pet should it change so fast that you can not take them with you for a little bit. back up homes do not need to be permanent and are an excellent resource. they also work wonderfully should you become permanently unable to care for your animal properly (due to a life changing illness, accident or death), then you know, no matter what happens to you, even if you are not there to decide yourself, you already have a good place for you animals to go to. you could think of it like god-parents for your pets. i have them for my son, rats and cats and am looking for a good one for my bunny. its just another preparation made in case of an emergency.

being stable as little to do with how prepared a person is to deal with emergencies. emergencies and sudden changes happen all the time. having back-ups and a savings is just one way to prepare for them. but you should not be afraid of emergencies happening so much that you don't put yourself out there, take a risk. i've had friends that their life changed so fast that they found themselves and their family on the street. some were able to keep their pets with them simply because they refused to surrender them to the rescue league, and those pets loved their family and did not suffer for it. others had back-ups for their kids, themselves and their pets. though they were separated they were safe and well and eventually both families were able to get on their feet again though it took considerably longer for the ones that found themselves on the street then the ones that had back-ups they never planned to use.

anyway, it think i've made my point. life changes fast, stability is only an illusion but having escape routes, back-ups plans and the like help people to overcome such situations. you shouldn't be afraid to take those risks. that's what life is, a series of risks. but don't forget while taking those risks to make yourself a safety net as secure as you can.
 
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