That's the thing. It's not the poop, or the smell. It's just the stigma that he had planted in his brain about rats. That they eat garbage and crawl in the sewers. I've also explained to him that they are not like that - and he's seem them. He's just being SUPER stubborn and has decided to just explode now that I've had him a week.Disgusting? Has he even seen animals?
I would expect that attitude from someone who hasn't experienced rats, but I'm surprised he would say such a thing after meeting them. From what I read in your initial post, you've already had your Dumbo. How long did you have him? Why is this suddenly a problem now? I'm no Dr. Phil, but I'm wondering if there is an underlying problem that is manifesting as aggression towards your rats.
Are the new rats somehow dirtier than your Dumbo? Do they have that pet store smell? It took over a week for our newest rat to get rid of that smell (though it might have been from an infection, so it's hard to say). Is your Dumbo litter-trained while they are pooping everywhere?
It seems strange that you've had a rat (just one?) before but now your boyfriend is raising a stink about rats in general now that you have new rats. I could see arguing over new rats. My wife and I would have to agree to add to our mischief, and there'd justifiably be an argument if one of us added to the mischief.
In any case, rats are as clean as cats, so I don't know what animal your boyfriend is thinking of getting that wouldn't be "disgusting." All animals poop, and most of them aren't clean freaks like rats are.
Eventually I did get him to say what about them specifically bothered him, and he said it was their hands and tails. Which honestly, is something he should be able to get past.Well, the fact that you don't live together may be helpful here. That means that while he may pressure you to get rid of them, it's not going to turn into a them-or-me ultimatum. If he doesn't like it, you spend some time at his place. This may give you some time to let him warm up to them. And if this contention is the result of stress, then he'll have time to settle down.
Since your rats poop in the same area, you may want to consider a litter tray for them. I'm constantly amazing people when I say my rats are litter-trained. It really shakes up their preconceptions. I use the ferret corner tray with Kaylee's Critter Litter. They are hard little pellets that initially get chewed on but are then ignored. There are plenty of threads about litter preferences.
As your rats become more comfortable with you, you can have them out to play, and your boyfriend can see how happy they're making you (more relaxing than cigarettes! [maybe not, but tell yourself that]).
Then it's a matter of fighting those other preconceptions. Like mimsy said, animals eat garbage. It's an opportunity for them. If we weren't so picky, we would eat garbage too, but we have an awareness about bacteria that animals don't have that keeps us from digging in the can for Tuesday's pizza crust. And you know what? Even if you do fish that pizza crust out and eat it, nothing bad will probably happen as long as it wasn't soaking in raw chicken juice or something. And the sewer thing just requires a quick lesson in ecology. Animals live in all sorts of places. Sewers can also be home to snakes, fish, and even some birds, but those are often adopted as pets. Not those particular animals, no, but then again, sewer rats aren't adopted either. Your rats are obviously not sewer rats.
It sounds like you're going through a rough patch, and stress could be to blame. I don't want you to get into a situation where either the rats go or he goes, but he should at least give it some time to see how he feels. So stay at his place for a bit but invite him to yours to see how you're bonding with your rats.
Rats are funny creatures. They can be so inquisitive, but they're not a fan of change. But you know, if moving the cage back and forth becomes a routine, then they'll learn to accept it. They're pretty resilient.And my boyfriend only comes over when she's not there - so i think the living room thing might work... Do you think it'll stress them out?