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The Beauty In Rats

My rat Mimi

Alaina Burke, Staff

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Sure, you’ve heard of discrimination against people of different nationalities, beliefs, and more but, have you heard of discrimination against rats? Rats are usually thought of to be dirty and mean. A lot of people might even describe them as repulsive or grotesque. But, did you know they are anything but! I may not be able to convince you unless you decide to allow me. That means open your heart for a moment. If you were to just read this already deciding that you hate rats then you wouldn’t mind a word I wrote. For now, why don’t I try my hardest to change your beliefs or strengthen them further.
Rats are sometimes thought to be dumb mindless animals with very small brains. That could not be more wrong. Rats are actually in the top ten smartest animals on earth! Rats can learn how to escape in fires, put together puzzles, organize their belongings and food, and more. I spent three years with two incredible rats. I learned a lot about them in this short period of time since rats only live to two years. Luckily, my rat Mimi lived to three years old. Legendary, am I right. I know from actual experience that rats are extremely intelligent. My rat, despite suffering from multiple mental disabilities, could put together puzzles and organize her meals into piles based off of color and taste. She used the restroom in only certain areas and came to the bars of her cage when her name was called. Therefore, rats are even smarter than most dog breeds and animals, based off of research and off of personal experience.
Rats are sometimes criticised for their behavior. Most people wouldn’t even know because they are too afraid to touch them! Every rat has a different personality. I will not deny that some may be less friendly than others or can bite. But, every breed of animals has some that bite or have different personalities. For example, dogs, cats, hamsters, and even sometimes humans can bite! Everything bites. Maybe even you yourself has bitten someone. I had experience with both a biting rat and a rat that had never bit anyone. My brothers rat Liza was a biter. You had to be gentle and slow approaching with her to make her feel safe. And, that’s okay! Everything deserves a chance, some just need different approaches to feel comfortable. My rat had never bitten anyone and loved to snuggle. She was a licker. Rats do that because they care about you, it’s their way of cleaning you. My rat was my best pal. She had soft fur and always was there to make me laugh or to cuddle. Rats do hilarious things sometimes that you really need after a rough day. It’s especially cute when they decide to sniff your ears because it tickles so much. I would recommend giving a rat a chance because, they really are the best! They are like your personal sidekick because they sit on your shoulders or on your head! Warning, they love to play with your hair.
I decided to ask some kids around school what they thought about rats. I started with Brandon Feffer, an 8th grader here at diegueno. I asked him how he felt about rats, he responded with, “Ok..Sure. My friend had a pet rat. They are cute but, their tails gross me out. They are yucky. They don’t have any hair.” Brandon seemed to not hate rats which I was happy about. I explained to him how rats need their tails and how they are unique. Brandon told me in response to my lecture, “I feel the exact same way about them as I did before. You made me feel worse by saying they’re tails are scaly like a mermaid.” I can live with that. My next interview was with Matthew Schoen, another 8th grader at our school. I questioned him on how he felt about rats and he said, “I just think they’re rats. I don’t think they are special. They are just normal.” I then asked him if he thought rats were self aware because, upsettingly enough I had heard from a couple 8th grade boys that they did not think rats were advanced enough to be self aware. Matthew responded with, “I do think they have feelings.” I was glad to hear that. I then informed Matthew that rats are special and he then told me, “ I think they are more intelligent than other animals.” I had done my job and proved my point.
All of the information I have provided you with is more than enough to rest my case. I am sick and tired of people saying hateful things about these beautiful creatures. It has even a deeper impact on me since I had a rat I loved so dearly. If you hear anyone dissing rats bring it to me and they will get educated. Or, should I say schooled. Rats are extremely observant of their surroundings and have a deep understanding for things around them. If you have had a bad experience with a rat, I recommend still giving them a chance. We have all had bad experiences with people, dogs, cats etc. It doesn’t mean we assume every other one is like them. Have a big heart and give a rat a chance.

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