GMR is an insidious disease which strikes many rat owners in the fullness of time. It stands for Get More Rats. Some of our American cousins know it as GGMR, or Gotta Get More Rats. It appears to have something to do with the capacity of rat owners to become obsessive about their pets. The attraction of rats seems to be such a well-kept secret, that when you do discover how fantastic they are it really seems natural to extend your ratty family. Maybe you have an empty cage that just needs someone to fill it. Maybe, as with me, you need to have at least as many ratties as family members just so that everyone can have a cuddle at once.
Having started our ratty family with just three rats, one for each of the children, I found that as soon as one of the ratties climbed up me for a cuddle, someone would take them away saying "That's my rat!" Obviously I needed to have a ratty of my own. So I began the search for the ratty of my dreams. Maybe a black rex. That's when it struck me that I would need to get a pair of ratties, so that they didn't get lonely before they were integrated into the larger group. OK, I needed a pair of boys.
So I found a breeder (Hi Marion) who had some rex boys, but there was a waiting list, and I was at the bottom. Never mind, there are still lots of other boys in the litter. I reserved two dumbo boys (now Merlin and Jasper), and either a beige rex boy, or the cinnamon boy. (Don't ask me how the two ratties got turned into three). Well, I'm so glad that I didn't get my rex boy, because then I wouldn't have had Fox, the cinnamon. Fox is a real character, and has grown into a really handsome ratty boy.
I thought that my ratty family was complete. I had six beautiful boys. But there's no harm in window shopping, so I still looked at the UK rat kitten register, just to see the pictures of the rat kittens. I saw some really cute black and white kittens, but managed to talk myself out of reserving them. I don't need any more rats, do I? Well, that worked until the breeder (Hi Estelle) posted on the UK ratty mailing list to say that they were still available. I mean, someone else might have reserved my kittens if I hadn't got in first! So there it is. Zorro and Pirate came to Ratty Corner, collected from a Birmingham show.
I have resolved to stay away from rat shows for a while. That seems to be where the danger lies. Every time I go to a rat show, I bring home more babies. Besides, the cage is only big enough for nine ratties, and we have eight already. I'm not going to bring in a solitary baby, because he'd be lonely until he was big enough for the communal cage, so that's it for now.
I mean it!
I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE RATS!
I think I need professional help.
Annette, June 2002