Note: This is not to be taken seriously. With that understanding, please proceed.
"I'm a dog person."
This is a socially acceptable thing to say. Lots of people prefer dogs. It's not weird for people to want a dog, or to keep more than one dog, or to dress their dogs up in weird costumes, or carry them around in purses. Okay--maybe the last two are a little weird, but not like...freakish. When I worked at Hobby Lobby, we had a lady come in with her dog so that it could help her pick out the beads she was going to use to make it a collar. THAT was a little freakish. But still; it was a dog. Hardly anyone batted an eyelash.
"I'm a cat person."
This is slightly less socially acceptable. Dog People are liable to sneer at Cat People, or tell horror stories about awful cats they've known, or make implications that owning cats--especially more than one--is somehow indicative of the owner's mental health. Cat People are devoted to their felines, however, and it's not unusual for people to keep cats in multiples; some people keep them in droves. Cats don't really make appearances in public, so you don't really see a Cat Person out walking their kitty on a harness, or carrying them around at a place of business.
Cat People and Dog People often don't agree on the Best Pet Ever, but it's generally accepted that Cat People and Dog People can coexist peacefully as long as their animals are kept apart.
I dare you to tell a Cat Person or a Dog Person that you have rats. Dare. You. Because this is the reaction you're probably going to get:
And not in a good way.
Well listen here, Cat and Dog and Other Pet people. Do I look at you like you have the plague when you tell me you got a puppy? Do I tell you I don't want to come over to your house because your cat always shoves it's anus in my face and it makes me uncomfortable? Do I tell you about the time my neighbor's dog bit my foot and pulled me off my bike, or how my friend's cat took a chunk out of my arm while I was just standing by it, not doing anything?
Well, okay, I guess I did just tell you that.
I'm a Rat Person. I have five rats. They recognize my footfalls. They answer to my voice and come when I call them. They have never bitten me. They have never scratched me in aggression. I clean their litter pans and take them for walks. I let them run around on my sofa, the bed, or the living room floor (with door gates in place and wires safely out of reach, of course.) They're not allowed in the kitchen, and they certainly have never jumped up on the counter with their feet that have also walked in poop (Cats, I am looking at you.) They don't drool, when they lick me it is soft and dry, and when they mark their territory it is a single drop of fluid that is easily cleaned up.
"I don't like their tails," people tell me. "Their beady little eyes freak me out."
That's fine. I don't actually care. I don't like cat fur or dog breath. I don't feel the need to tell you that when you bust out a photo of your chihuahua. And to revisit: cats like to show people their butts. How is THAT not weirder than a perfectly functional tail or eyeball that minds its own business?
"They carry diseases."
Ever heard of ringworm? It's a fungal infection. I had a friend in high school who let his cat sleep on his pillow over the weekend. That Monday he had a really nice ringworm infection on his forehead. Clearly cats are super clean animals that never carry anything remotely close to a germ. Turtles carry salmonella. Any animal that goes outside can bring back ticks, which carry Lyme disease. And let's talk about fleas. I've had fleas before; I got them from other people--their dogs, their cats, or even their children**. I've NEVER gotten a parasite, flea, sniffle, sneeze, or so much as a dirty look from a rat.
I've gotten a dirty look from a guinea pig before, but not a rat.
Hamsters too. Those little monsters are EVIL.
But never a rat.
So what I'm saying is, I like rats. You maybe don't. That's fine. But I don't tell you how much I don't like your cat, or your dog, or your iguana, or your mom. I'm not saying you have to love my rats. I'm just saying you have to respect my choice to own them, and respect the fact that I love them. Just like I do NOT understand you wanting to own a cat or a dog...but if that's what you want, I'm sure that you love them very much and that you and your pet of choice are very happy together. I respect that...so please respect me.
And, if you don't, I will train my army of rodents to swarm your bed and pluck out your eyeballs while you sleep.
Have a great day!
*No, I don't watch Glee. It was just a great reaction.
**Yes. Someone else's kid gave me fleas once. It was HORRIFYING.
Please note that this is meant to be read in a teasingly humorous tone of voice. I'm not actually upset, I TOTALLY respect that rats/mice/rodents/snakes/whatever freak some people out. My big thing is bugs--I turn into a useless hot mess in the presence of anything with more than four legs, so I promise, I understand how it feels. Nobody I know has actually made me feel bad about owning rats, and all my friends who own cats or dogs have lovely animals that I lavish with affection whenever I visit. I promise, this is all meant in good fun.