Friday, January 08, 2010

We Need to Ratify a Pet Policy

It's not that the children are obsessed with adopting kittens, bringing home stray dogs or raising llamas. It's their mother. Lord help us, their mother is the weakest, silliest, most pagan (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller", "rustic"), farm-wishingest citizen in suburbia. And if this post does not turn away lurkers and readers alike, well maybe nothing will...

Here is Benjamin Franklin Thunder-Cat. He is a bad kitty. It says so on his passport. He gets nippy and scratchy. He thinks he's toilet trained. He is not. Maria knows I call him my furry baby. I also call him beast, monster, and Woodgie-woodgie love muffin. He is more than enough pet for any family. And yet we have another cat and a hen. We had a parakeet, but he got wise and gave us the slip. Easy come, easy go. I thought about getting Maria a fish for her birthday, but I resisted.

Just because I resisted buying a gold-feeder to swim in a bowl of water, does not mean I have good sense.

I am the weakest, silliest, most pagan (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller", "rustic"), farm-wishingest citizen in suburbia.

And I am a rat wrangler.

Meet Pepper, fancy rat and nose wiggler.
She is curious. Scurious. Sweet and docile and fun to watch.

Hello Polly.
Polly is timid, sweet and docile. She loves to take her lunch in to her hut with her.

Pepper and Polly are my Winter Solstice gifts to the children, who all agreed that Maria's class rat, Cheddar, was great fun to have over for a weekend visit. When I tell the story I emphasize the children's love and fascination with the cute, scampering critters known as "fancy rats." But the children tell it another way... affectionately, a bit warily and with humor they say, "Mom, you're crazy, you know."

At least Gretchen gets it. When I was debating my impulse, she came on board all the way and said that rats are great pets. She wistfully recalled a childhood practically overrun with pet rats. When she said she and her sisters had twenty-one rats, well I felt positively sane for only wanting two. And she is right. Rats are great pets. Easy to care for. No biting. No barking. They like to visit and explore, but are happy too in their modified bird cage.

Benjamin agrees... Oh, never mind. Who cares what he thinks?

I love rats.
They're delicious.

No. The real experts are little girls. Izzy and Maria know a fun pet when they get their hands on one.

And just before Christmas, when little girl excitement and energy was at a high watermark, Izzy and Maria were tickled pink to take turns loving and feeding and holding Pepper and Polly.

Rats give you the giggles.
Their tails wiggle and their whiskers tiggle.
(sorry :: poetic license)

"Soft voices" and "gently" were the words of the day.

The "Ratty-Rats," that's what Gretchen calls Pepper and Polly. Izzy called them Polly-Holly and Peppermint, which I thought was awfully clever.

tap-tap-tap... hello?
Is anyone here?


Either they've all rushed to their local pet shop, because they see what fun we are having, or Chickenblog is being cut from blog lists everywhere.

Come back. We don't bite!


Andylynne said...

Oh I love rats, I had Jack and Jill when I was young. They lived in seperate cages. But were taken every where in my house. Rats are good pets. They are sweet and smart. What you have there are hooded rats.Notice the ear muffs and scarf they sport. Good job mom, you didn't lose me. Ben, will get used to the idea :).

Mama Spark said...

Hahahahaha, this post cracked me up! We had rats when the kids were smaller and they are wonderful pets. Very curious and affectionate! My son even took one out trick-or-treating with him when he was in the 4th grade! Those rats have passed and my DD had a hampster that passed so she asked for more rats. Now she has 2 white rats. In fact they were here for Christmas along with her fish. Picture this, sitting on my hearth the night before Christmas was a fish tank and the rat tank. "So", I say, "Are we leaving Santa fish and rats for Christmas?" Apparently we were. We now have sent her back to school with those pets but still have the other DD's 3 Betas and her snake, along with our 5 cats and one dog.

Pets make a happy family, or at least that's my mantra!

Sproglet said...

I <3 rats, they're great pets! Some people can't stand the tails.

The more tail the better I say, just keep Thunder-Cat away :D

campbellgirl said...

Aaaaw, that was luvly!

Julie said...

What a funny post!

Come on, Natalie---your blog is called Chicken Blog! Why would you think a few other critters thrown in the mix is going to chase would-be followers away?! You crack me up!

What a beautiful kitty!

...and I smiled at Izzy's dimpled hands. So sweet. I don't remember ever being little enough to have dimples in place of knuckles. :)

Tiglizzyclone said...

Benjamin Franklin Thunder-Cat is so very handsome! Look at those whiskers! This is a wonderful post. Thank you for clarifying what the word pagan means.

~KQ~ said...

that cat is an amazingly beautiful animal! wow! (and I really don't like cats!)

Sproglet said...

Little gift for you on my blog Natalie :)

B xx

pussman said...

This must be so difficult for this beautiful cat!
She is so lovely and shiny!
Happy New Year to you and your family and all the pets! :)

nikkipolani said...

Yes, I would like to know what Benjamin is thinking. Or is he simply rolling his eyes at his human who has given in to yet another unworthy animal?

Dallas said...

I have never seen a cat like yours before, but he is beautiful!