Through no fault of their own, rats have a bad reputation. When we look at film, television, and popular culture in general, it’s very rare that we ever see rats painted in a positive light. In Disney’s “The Great Mouse Detective,” the villain was Professor Ratigan, a conniving and self-loathing sewer rat who insisted on being called a mouse. On the other hand, Pixar’s animated film “Ratatouille,” a movie about a street rat who dreamed of becoming a master chef, showed rats as they really are — social, full of personality, and clever.
Rats who live in sewers, subways, and basements are viewed as pests rather than the little miracles of nature that they are, finding a way to survive in a world nearly completely dominated by humans. Instead, it’s considered next-to-normal to want to eliminate these “invaders” through cruel traps and poisons that you can buy in just about any store. Annually, an estimated 100,000 rats and mice are subjected to a variety of cruel and baseless scientific experiments, such as being slowly poisoned to death to inducing psychological stress. When it’s so culturally acceptable that these poor animals are viewed as no more than subjects in labs across the world, it’s no wonder our judgement of them is so clouded.
Even when we keep rats as our pets, people will often react as if they’re no different than the (adorable) little rodents who skitter around in the dark in search of food instead of the spaghetti-loving cuties that they are. Just like when we lose our cats and dogs, it hurts when a guardian loses their darling rat baby. So, when Imgur user pinkchix lost her pet rat, China, she expressed her loss in the most heartwarming tribute.
Pinkchix began her post in a way that many of us would if we lost our cat or dog: “Today, I lost one of my best friends.”
When she first met, China, the rat was all alone. Because she hadn’t socialized with other rats, other humans didn’t want her, but pinkchix welcomed her as the first rat in her life.
She adored cuddling with her mom more than anything.
But eventually, she was introduced to her new rat siblings.
And soon, they also shared an unbreakable bond.
Although they have a life expectancy of about two to three years, the love that domestic rats share with their guardians is no less valuable than the cats and dogs we call our companions. It’s a shame that more humans don’t see rats as they truly deserve to be seen, but as we can see from pinkchix’s heartfelt tribute to China, these creatures deserve all the love in the world.
Lead image source: pinkchix/Imgur