Lots of things have changed since I was a kid, and one of those things is definitely how we care for our pets. Angel blogged a while back about how different caring for dogs was than and now, and happily, rats are being treated much better too!
Gone are the days when rats are kept in a fishtank with some sawdust and given a seed and nut mix to eat. We now know that pine shavings are toxic to rats, the need cages with good air flow and that peanuts (un-roasted) can block vitamin absorption.
There’s loads of Facebook groups dedicated to rat care, rat behaviour, and my favourite of all, rat meals. See, the normal life span of a pet shop rat, kept in the icky conditions described above, will be maybe 2 years to the most. If you make sure they have company, an enriching cage set up and proper food, they can live longer. Our older girls are around 18 months now and are showing absolutely no signs of slowing own.
Our mischief (the collective noun for rats, isn’t that cute!) get cooked suppers 3 times a week and have dry seed mix and fresh water available all day. They can eat pretty much anything we eat, with a few exceptions. They can’t have too much sugar or anything too salty or spicy. Male rats can’t eat mango or citrus..
It’s quite fun coming up with different meals for them and seeing what they like and don’t like. Here’s what our mischief ate last week:
Monday: White rice, baby marrow, peaches and seedless grapes
Wednesday: It was National Spaghetti Day! Supper was penne pasta, pumpkin seeds, kale, broccoli leaves and dried cranberries.
Saturday: This was the first cooked meal that our new additions, Scarlett and Belle joined us for. Brown rice, lentils, flax and pumpkin seed, dried berries, kale and broccoli leaves and peaches. Oh, and a bit of tinned sweetcorn we had left over from our supper.
I cooked extra rice and lentils and have frozen that with the steamed leaf mix so that I have the base of my meals ready for this week. Tonight they’ll have peas and gem squash mixed in with that.
Now, when am I getting my call for Masterchef: Pet Edition?
Thanks for reading 🙂