The 12th of November is Fancy Rat & Mouse Day!
DaysOfTheYear.com describes the day as an “opportunity to celebrate these beautiful creatures. Not to be confused with wild (black) rats, the Fancy Rat is the domesticated brown rat; while the Fancy Mouse is the domesticated form of the house mouse”.
Set up and sponsored by the American Fancy Rat & Association, a non-profit international club based in California, was started in 1983. The AFRMA’s website says – “Anyone that has an interest in rats or mice can be a member. The main purpose of AFRMA is to promote and encourage the breeding and exhibition of fancy rats and mice. We also educate the public on their positive qualities as companion animals and provide information on their proper care.”
The Simon’s Cat Team was really pleased to hear the Fancy Rat & Mouse Day exists, as team member Liza has loved and cared for rats for many years.
Liza explains – “I always wanted to have a cat. My mother has a gorgeous British short hair cat Zuzya that I played with all the time when I was back home. However, as my partner is very allergic, a large pet was out of question. So I decided that Fancy rats would be the best option. I used to have them as a child and they make loving pets, which can learn tricks and are very smart. In addition they are very clean, and groom constantly. They can also be litter trained like cats, although it depends on their personality. It took some convincing to do and some of our friends and family are baffled by our choice of pets, but I think fancy rats make great pets!”
Meet Liza’s gorgeous rats…
“Marmalade was the sweetest little rattie. Unfortunately he passed away this summer at the age of 2 years and 2 months.
He was an alpha and cared deeply for his cage mates. His favourite things were grooming others – and food! Sometimes, when I used to sit with him on the sofa and draw, he would run up to me, grab the hand I am drawing with and groom it thoroughly for a couple of minutes. Taking it away was not an option as he would dig his little claws in and pull it back.
Food was his other passion, and he would taste anything that is given to him. His favourites were peanuts, scrambled eggs and yogurt, but obviously, he would have them once a week as a treat, to make sure he has a healthy diet.”
“Sausage has a personality of a cat. He is a loner, and has never really accepted anyone. He mostly sleeps by himself, and while he is always happy to see me, he usually challenges me in the form of gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) nipping.
He is very expressive and would squint his eyes at you if he doesn’t like something or someone, and when he wants a treat, or to come out and “play” he would make big puppy dog eyes. His idea of play time is climbing as high as possible and observing his kingdom. He doesn’t like to be stroked as it challenges his authority, but he does enjoy being carried around like a king.”
“We got Waffles and Porridge – a pair of little brothers, after Marmalade passed away, to keep Sausage company. Unfortunately if Sausage could talk he probably would tell us that he hated the idea! I fell in love with this pair when I saw them. I was wary of the Waffles’ red eyes, however he was so friendly and so inquisitive, that there was no doubt he was coming home with us.
Waffles climbs everywhere and when he is out I need to keep a close eye on him. He loves food, just like Marmalade did, and stuffs his face at any chance he gets, unlike his little brother, who often hides it instead of eating it.”
“Porridge is a more timid rat, who loves sleeping and heights. He would never go out exploring by himself, and always follows Waffles around. He loves playing with his big brother, and I can often hear them running around at night, and wake up to and absolute mess in their cage!”
Have you ever kept fancy rats or mice as pets? We’d love to see your photos and hear about their personalities. Please tell us about them in the comment box below.