There is one problem with rats. They don’t live long enough. They get tumors. They get respiratory problems. Before we had three cats, we were able to balance rats and cats better. Though Gregory, days after my wife brought him home, once attacked a sick rat alone in a private cage and if he’d killed her… well, I’m not sure where Gregory’d be living today. But it wouldn’t be with me. Rats are smart and sweet. They’re kind and thoughtful. Cats have far bigger brains yet seem incapable of the emotional intelligence of a rat. Even the dumbest rat learns. The smartest rat figures out scary stuff, like right and left verbal directions. Then you get into the social stuff they do, their ability to chew through concrete, they test food before the other rats eat it. If rats are a menace, it’s only because they’re so awesome. And one of ours is seemingly on her last legs. And I didn’t really get to know her–dumb cats–and it sucks.

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