Posted Apr 22, 2016
After owning a hamster who had passed away and I tried to find a new one so the kids wouldn't know, the person at the pet store informed me that rats were the friendliest and smartest pets and they can learn their names, tricks, etc. I immediately began searching for a rat instead and a family in our neighborhood was giving away their two female rats, cage, all included. So we took them up on their offer. I got a book and did research online and found out as much as I could. Their 3 level cage was in the living room, but my son would often leave the door open and I would see Stripe running across the floor. She had the run of the house and I let him. Spot was very skiddish and would stay in the cage. She would let us hold her and everything, but she didn't venture out of the cage. Stripe would come when called and you could tell he was very smart. He would ride around on my son's shoulder. He loved to be petted and played with. He had a great personality.
When the books recommend cage mates, they are telling the exact truth. It's a must. They bond and need each other so much so that when Spot got sick with a tumor, Stripe showed visible concern. I even took her to the vet and he said there was nothing he could do. The day she was dying, Stripe was running all over the cage panicking. I didn't know if we should take her out or leave her with her. I left her. Once Spot died, Stripe went into a deep depression. She was never the same. It wasn't too long afterwards that she also died. We don't know why, although we think it was a broken heart. Our family still talks about them and we still miss them. It would be hard to bond with new ones now because of the memories with them. I would definitely recommend to anyone to get rats over any other type of rodent. They are smart and sociable and funny. Be sure to get two (a cage mate) and get them young so you can train them and socialize with them often. Read about them, feed them right, and enjoy all that they have to offer.