Rats! I've got nowhere to leave my rodent these holidays

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 18, 2015 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

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The Australian Rat Fanciers Society, no seriously

The Australian Rat Fanciers Society, no seriously Photo: James Boddington

Dog and cat owners have kennels and catteries, but what do keepers of stranger pets do when they go on holiday?  

Rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and lizards all need to be fed, watered and exercised, too.

Australian Rat Fanciers Society president Julie McInnes, who owns, rescues and breeds rats, said family members were not always keen to sit for the not-so-popular rodents.

Illustration: Matt Golding.

“They say: ‘I’ll not having a rat running around in my house’,” she said. “There is never anywhere for people to take their rats.

“Unlike birds where you can leave a big bowl of water for a week, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs need daily attention.”   

This is why the society began a minding service which connects holidaying rat owners to its members, located all around Melbourne, she said.

This school summer holidays, the society’s members are minding around 20 pet rats.

Ms McInnes said she had heard horror stories about people’s rats dying when left at home.

“Rats are especially prone to heat stress; as well as rabbits and guinea pigs,” she said.

However, rabbit and guinea pig owners had it a bit easier, she said, as family and friends were a bit more forgiving.

Sonia Mattei bought her “cute” but “cheeky” dwarf rabbit just a week ago.

But she is not concerned about leaving “Juve” – named after an Italian soccer team because of its black and white colouring – when she goes on holidays.

“I’ll leave her with my parents. They have an active part in her little life,” Miss Mattei said. “My dad adores her.”

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