Iggy Pop the Rat

Pet rats are the best

Iggy Pop the rat with my wife Eve.

Rats! Tomorrow is National American Fancy Rat Day! Many people love cats and dogs, but I am also fond of the strange and unusual.  I’ve owned many rats over the years and my family has loved all of them. Probably none as cool as Iggy Pop, or we just called him Iggy. I remember when we bought our first rat I was so against it. I don’t remember why, I was just being a brat because I knew that another mouth to feed can always be difficult when you don’t have much. But IGGY was one of the best rats we’ve ever had.

Iggy was a male rat and one of the things about male rats is that they are very lazy. He would fall asleep in my hand if you flipped him upside down. Which was way cooler for me because I never liked how hamsters were always so overly energetic, not very affectionate and their only goal in life, is to escape. Rats are not like that, they are just fine chilling out in a hammock.

Lazy rats 2022

Iggy was so lazy and sweet. Look at those cute feet!

One of the saddest parts of owning a rat though is their short life expectancy. We lost Iggy to a cancerous lump and we were heartbroken. But we got back on the rat wagon and again I acted like a brat again. This time my wife wanted to get a hairless rat. I already owned a rat, yet I was freaked out about a hairless rat. Baloney (my wife called her something else that I ignored and called her Baloney all the time) was a female hairless rat. She was by far one of the sweetest little girls in my life. She was actually so warm and unique without the hair. Now we thought she would love the hammock like Iggy but turns out the females have more energy and she tore it to shreds.

Baloney the hairless rat

Baloney. My wife loved Baloney so much she got her tattooed on her arm.

Rats will give you kisses. They’ll ride around on your shoulder without losing any balance (I used to open the door with Iggy on my shoulder). Even though in the movies they make all kinds of noise, in real life they barely make a squeak. And bonus, they are so easy to POTTY TRAIN! One suggestion is to get one from a reputable breeder as store-bought rats are usually inbred as the sexes are not separated. We’ve owned a few others besides Iggy and Baloney, but those two have always been the best of the batch.

In addition to rats, we’ve tried guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas, and even hedgehogs, but none of them have ever come close to owning a rat. Guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils never seemed to have the intelligence or affection that rats had (but maybe there are some odd good ones).  I have never tried ferrets, but I’ve heard they are so messy that they are hard to handle (but a longer life span does interest me.)

Maybe in the future, we may get another rat or try something new like a ferret. Who knows, I wonder if it’s legal to have a capybara. The largest rat in nature. If you are looking for a simple pet and are able to handle the potential short but happy life they have, rats are a great pet. What unique pet do you or did you own? Did you ever own a rat?