Learning About ‘The Rat’…




I’m still taking care of my daughter’s pet rat. I believe his name is Dexter, but it’s been so long since I called him anything other than ‘The Rat’ that I can’t remember for sure. As long as I feed him I don’t think he gives a darn one way or the other.

Taking care of ‘The Rat’ has been an experience. Believe it or not he actually makes a pretty decent pet. He will never fetch a stick like a dog or brush up against your leg like a cat, but he doesn’t bite and is a lot more interactive than the typical hamster, guinea pig, or gerbil. He actually looks forward to seeing me, which is something I’ve never seen the other small critters do. Well, I say that he looks forward to seeing me, but what he actually likes is the peanut I give him whenever I come into the room. As soon as he hears the peanut jar tip over he runs to the side of the cage, presses his nose and shoulder into the bars and reaches his little arm out as far as it will stretch, hand grasping for whatever it can get.

Since I acquired him from my daughter I have been treating him like a hamster. He’s not a hamster and doesn’t appreciate being treated as such. He let me know this last weekend.

I had cleaned out his cage and replaced the old shavings with fresh ones. He has made quite a mess around his cage so I figured I would do something a little different this time. I put most of the shavings inside of his little dome hut, the thing looks like a quasi-transparent blue igloo. I figured he could use it for bedding and maybe not knock most of it onto the floor. I was terribly wrong.

A couple of minutes after I had cleaned his cage and placed him back inside I heard paper shuffling. I turn from my computer and notice a wad of wood shavings emerging from the entrance of ‘The Rat’s’ igloo. I could see the outline of him moving around inside. He gathered shavings and pushed them out the door much like a sumo wrestler pushes an opponent out of the ring. I had to keep watching. When all the shavings were piled at the front of the igloo ‘The Rat’ pushed them to the edge of the wire cage. Once a levy of shavings had formed at side of the cage ‘The Rat’ grabbed two armfulls of wood and threw them out and onto the floor. It was no accident for I saw him do it again and again until most of the shaving lay on the floor outside his cage. I believe I heard mumbled curses as he worked, but if so ‘The Rat’ said them under his breath and I couldn’t make anything out.

I turned back to the computer. It was time to do some research. What I found out is…

  • Wood Shavings: Rats aren’t too impressed with wood shavings. At this point I didn’t need a Google search to tell me that.

  • Bedding: Use cloth or some other soft bedding material. I used an old shirt sleeve. I set it outside of his cage and ‘The Rat’ immediately drug it into the igloo. I think it’s sitting in front his love seat, between the coffee table and the television.

  • Litter Box: Yes I said litter box. Apparently rats can be trained to use a litter box instead of going whenever and wherever the mood strikes them. To train them you just get some litter and place it in a bowl – instinct or fast learning, you make the call. The jury is still out on this one because he has spent more time chewing the walls of his litter box than using it. I think I need something in stainless steel or ceramic.


Okay, I’m almost ashamed to put this word count up since there is so little difference between this number and the one last week. I blame work. I’ve had to increase my hours to catch up with a few projects and that increase has cut into my writing time, gym time, etc…

I had planned to do some more writing this weekend, but I just couldn’t get my brain around it. Instead I’ve worked on my motorcycle (which is still sicker than ever due to my complete lack of mechanical skills) and a few other little projects around the house.

Though the change in work schedule has disrupted my writing I do plan on getting back into the groove this week as I force myself to adapt to the change.

Shaylee: Druid’s Staff
Word Count: 26,100
Genre: Fantasy
The second novella in the Shaylee series.

Word Count: 53,400
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Sword and sorcery dark fantasy novel about a city under siege by zombies. Completed but in final edits.


~ by bretjordan on October 10, 2010.

3 Responses to “Learning About ‘The Rat’…”

  1. Ah, Bret.. the wonderful world of rodentia awaits you!

    We have five – a rodentist, a rodetologist, and three rod… oh heck. I can’t make massage therapists into anything with rodent in front of it. Our oldest likes to lick teeth and tongues, the next one likes to check out ears and noses (she’s put her whole snout into my right nostril more than once…).

    Trust me, you don’t want to get in their way when they’re ‘working.’ 😉

    As for bedding, we’re using Boxo. I’ll put some stuff up on my facebook – that’ll attract Louise, who is also a rat-lover. If you’ve got any questions, between the two of us, we can probably help. 🙂

    • Okay, question #2:

      I now have solid evidence, very solid evidence, that the litter box thing isn’t working. Any ideas as to why?

      Until now I thought ‘The Rat’ was a genius, but after seeing the…uh…mess he is making I am beginning to wonder.

  2. Thanks, Jodi.

    I already have a question…What’s ‘Boxo’? 🙂

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