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When I first got my rats I sent out emails with pictures to introduce the new members of my family to all my relatives. I was not expecting that negative of a response! I don't need their approval to be happy but I could do without them betting on how long the rats last before the cat gets them:mad:!!!
 

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Amen to that.

But if you're looking for support, we have a nice Intro for Your Rat section. They're like pet snakes, either people don't say anything or they ask you what the heck you were thinking.

Heck - my father was straight out screaming at me for having them, and he hasn't even lived with me since middle school. Like, "Okay, dude. Chill."
 

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Lot's of people have cats and rats that get along fine. One of my rats will only play with my dogs and cats!
Anga harasses one of my cats! The other night, she was chasing the cat up down the hallway. She can't get away from the rat like she can get away from the dog!

Something you might share with your relatives...........I have a LOT of cats. They go in and out of the house. They like to bring things home to me. In over 20 years, they have brought home many things. Only one time did they ever bring a rat home, and that was a tiny baby. It's my uderstanding that a hunted rat can get very vicious. I've heard of snakes getting torn up by rats.
 

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I couldn't care less if my relatives don't like rats but the killing comments are rude and uncalled for. You don't tell someone you want to kill their pet. Can you imagine the uproar if you told someone you wanted their dog or cat to die? Its funny, my neighbour was actually attacked and chased by a wild rat when she was a kid and has had a phobia ever since. Shes still more understanding than most people. Shes still afraid of them but she understands why I like them so much. People just are just imature. If someone that had a traumatic experience with a rat as child can refrain from making stupid comments I'm sure everyone else can.
 

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At my old job, I had to hear comments just like that multiple times a day. The very best thing I found to end it right away and confound them at the same time was to say, "Thank you very much! Have a great day!"

It seriuosly would stop them in their tracks. LOL They had no clue as to how to respond to that. I saw many of those people multiple times and they never said anything cruel again.

One guy told me several times that he would feed all the shelter animals to the starving kids. Every time I saw him he said that to me! I finally shut him up by asking him why he would do that to innocent children. He was absolutely stunned! He looked at his wife and said, "What did she just say?" He never even looked my way again!
 

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People are taught to fear rats... It is actually good to avoid wild rats as they can carry disease and often can be very aggressive in a defensive way. Because of that, many people have a hard time understanding why you would want them as pets.

I keep both rats and snakes and get the same response from people. I posted a pic of my most-prized acquisition at the time... A pastave ball python, on my FB page and an old lady from my church (who was one of my FB friends) said the infamous quote "The only good snake is a dead snake". While a relative of mine, who has better sense of humor, said "Snakes aren't pets because pets have to have shoulders"... etc, etc.

You just learn to ignore the comments.. I generally don't bring up my pets when in public unless someone else does. Many times, people are interested in them, but won't say it in a group setting. Sometimes it surprises me who has interest in them. I get a better response when we have people over and they want to look at the critters. When they see me holding a snake, or petting one of the rats, they will usually try it out.

I would say that none of my relatives "support" my hobby and I'm OK with that. I would suggest you look for support online or find a showing group near you. For some reason, people value animals more when they are a "show" animal... so being able to say you've shown your rat (even in a pet class) might help change their point of view somewhat, but don't depend on it.
 
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