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Hi all. My intro in the Introductions forum was abbreviated by my disturbed laptop, and so I thought I’d try to introduce us in here. I’m a dog groomer in Michigan . . . these are my five rat boys…

Trip and Corbin were my first two, who I brought home in November. I’d wanted rats for years, and even working in a petstore, I’d been able to resist. I DO know why one shouldn’t buy from a petstore, I promise, so no one needs to tell me. But. They got in the cutest little rat I’d ever seen, and he was quite the character. I loved watching him run around in his enclosure and his funny antics. Every day I’d check to see if he was gone, and he never was. One day, I couldn’t help myself and bought him. Also bought a rat who for whatever reason, was housed by himself. I wanted him to have a friend. I would always say the first was ‘a trip’ to watch, and so he bacame Trip. I’m not sure how I came up with Corbin for my little grey/white friend, but that’s who he is.



Unfortunately, Trip never really warmed up to me and to this day does not like to be touched, and hates to be picked up. No doubt a result of a lack of socialization from the petstore, and the fact that he spent weeks running feral with about a dozen cagemates. Corbin isn’t affectionate, but is okay with handling. I was a little disappointed, but then came Stewart…



Stewart is all black, or a really dark brown, and he seemed gigantic when we were first introduced. My girlfriend works at a different petstore that sells there rats as snake food, and Stewart stuck out like a sore thumb in their shipment. He was big, squishy, and very friendly. Some strings were pulled, and Stewart was adopted out free of charge. Stewart was perfectly willing to be held and crawl over me. That’s how I discovered I was allergic to rats. Yeah… I break out in hives whenever a rat tail brushes across my skin. Fun, lol. Anyway, they get along great now, and I can often catch them sleeping in their hammocks or houses together.



All was well, and I was perfectly content with my three rats. Then a few months ago, I was approached by someone in the small animal department. She told me they had a rat with ‘head tilt’ that they couldn’t sell, and could I please take him so he wasn’t euthanized. Well, that left me with a lot of room to say NO, huh. They gave me the little white rat with a patch over his eye free of charge. He didnot have head tilt. His head was weaving and bobbing everywhere! To the vet we went. Terry has some kind of central nervous damage, which the vet said was similar to Parkinson’s. He can function all right, but when he goes to do, or focus on, something, he gets what she called ‘intention tremors,’ and starts the bobbing, weaving. He can set his head on his back at these points. I decided not to put him in with my other boys for fear he might take a 3 foot fall off the top shelf.


Terry is friendly, but he’s hard to hold because he might just flip right out of your arms. That is scary… Terry was seeming lonely, despite my attention. I was hesitant to get another rat for fear another rat may pick on him because of his problems, and so I checked at work to see if any of his former cagemates were still there. One was, all alone. A wavy-haired dumbo I named Doodle after all the strange-coated poo-doodle dogs I groom at work. Happily, they get along very well and seem to really like each other, even more so than the other three.



My cat Scooter in the background behind Doodle. I found a low-to-the-ground rabbit cage I’d never keep a rabbit in, but it’s much bigger than the guinea pig cage I originally put Terry in on short notice. There’s one low-shelf that Terry only falls off of once in a while, and they both love their hammock. There are pictures in the Rat Homes forum. Anyway, Doodle is a very nice boy, would no doubt be perfect for someone who wanted a rat to crawl all over them. It’s unfortunate I’m allergic. I may not keep rats after this, if I can keep my work from shoving their problem rats on me, because I just don’t know that it’s fair they not be allowed out to play very often.
 

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aaww love them all!! I'm getting more attached to dumbos as time goes on though lol.
 

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It's probably not as much the tail as the urine on the tail.

Perhaps you could give their tails a wipe with unscented baby wipes before you play with them?
 

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i'm allergic to boy rats too (though i become physically ill, not itchy or hives) its their buck grease that get me but i've found with my foster boy stewart that if i give him a bath every few days i'm not bothered by him. but perhaps giving them regular baths would help. i noticed in the pictures that they could probably use a good tail scrubbing. rats are very clean but they seem to not care about their tails much so a build of urine and other dirt can and will often happen on the tail. i use a soft bristle tooth brush and scrub the tails gently with johnson's baby wash. its nice and gentle for their skin but very effective at cleaning up the dirt. however if this is their first bath you may want to get someone else to bathe them. once they get used to baths they probably wouldn't care less but until that happens they'll try to jump and claw their way out. wearing long sleeve shirts and pants can also help keep them off you.

and you may be like me and allergic only to one gender or allergic on to a certain aspect of the rat (you seem to focus on the tail). in which case you may be able to find a way around it like i have. good luck and what lovely boys you have. all adorale! and such fancy markings and colorings for your first rats too! lucky! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks :D

Yes, I had figured a long time ago that I was allergic to their tails because of the urine etc on them. I guess I hadn't considered getting wipes to wipe them off before hand, so perhaps I'll give it a shot. I don't know about bathing them, though. I'm a groomer, and bathing a rottweiler doesn't phase me, but the thought of the ratties, hmm...

Besides the hives, I'm just generally allergic, sadly. I have breathing difficulties when I'm in the apartment for too long (and no, they don't smell bad), and my nose/eyes burn/itch.

I had a few out last night, one at a time, on a blanket on my lap. I really love the rats, and I've waited so long to have them, it's all kind of sad I can't interact as much as I'd like. And not to sound like I'm full of excuses, but I'm also very sensitive to the heat, and so long sleeves in this weather is pretty much out of the question. It's 1 am here, and I'm still burning up in a t-shirt. Oh well, we do what we can.

I'm probably going to get them all in for neuters soon, too, hoping that might decrease the potency of various... juices... and maybe reduce the skin allergies a bit.

Thanks for the welcomes :)
 

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shmegma! LOLOLOLOL. = technical vet tech term for juices from unneutered boys. boy dogs leak it everywhere and it's so raunch. :p
 

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Ono - it is hard to work as a tech without hearing/using that word every day... but it is still one of those words that grosses me out. Like "suckle". :oops:

I have a personal soft spot for dumbos. They look marvelously goofy. I didn't mean for it to work out this way, but both of my girls are.

Terry, Trip and Doodle are BEAUTIFUL. The others are too, but those markings are fantastic. :D
 
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