Rat Food – Cauliflower Broccoli Stir Fry

Here is a recipe I made for my three rats and myself. It is vegan/vegetarian and is rat-approved! Mrs. Rita Rat is shown enjoying her meal. I feed my rats Oxbow Regal Rat and supplement with fresh fruits/veggies daily.

Foster Mom Stories, Part 1

“They understand. They care. They feel.”

Watch Lee Anne’s experience as a foster mom for the Rat Retreat:

Interview with Foster Mom Lee Anne


Good Night Irene

Irene came to live with us on 1/15/12. We had picked up Bernadette from an adopter who wasn’t caring for her properly and we took her cagemate, Irene, too. Irene had been purchased from Petco and was terribly shy and afraid. She could not stand to be picked up for four months. She didn’t bite, but she trembled and frantically escaped from being touched. Within four months of socializing, she reluctantly allowed herself to be picked up, but happily enjoyed petting on her head. She had beautiful, wide eyes and volunteers said she listened when they talked to her.

She had especially soft fur. When she took medicine, she sat on our shoulders and rubbed her little cheek against ours every few bites. She was not ladylike in taking treats though! She grabbed the food as if she was being starved. She lived with Bernadette when she first came, then was nonchalant in being introduced to a cage of boys.

Later when Buddy came, Irene and Bernadette moved in with him. Irene adored Buddy to the point of trying to get as fat as he was. She gained about .5 pounds while the big guy lived, then lost it after he died.  Their next roommates were Sammy and Matilda when Bernadette died. Sammy fell instantly in love with Irene and they were inseparable. When Sammy passed, she and Matilda lived peacefully together, usually snuggled in the top shelf.

Irene developed hind leg degeneration about six months before she died. Liquid B vitamin supplement enabled her to keep walking and climbing the four levels of her cage.

Irene was spayed within a couple of weeks of her arrival, but did not need another surgery until two years later, when she developed a tumor. Donors funding her tumor removal gave her an extra month. While she was recovering, Matilda took care of her, staying curled protectively around her to keep her safe and warm.

She never liked being held until Diana Greene came along as a pre-vet volunteer. Irene would sit in Diana’s lap and allow her to massage her for as long as she wanted. She never looked as peaceful as she did then.

She was found lying on her side, only her body left behind, on the morning of 1/28/14. She was estimated to be close to three years old. She lived a good life here….two years of safety, warmth, good food and companionship.  Those of us who loved to look into her beautiful eyes will miss her so much as will those of us who felt her soft face against ours and were allowed to rub that sweet body as we cared for her.

Matilda groomed her face one last time before I took her away. Then went to the spot where she died and smelled where she had been.

Good night, Irene. Good night, Irene. We’ll see you in our dreams.

Idaho Gives is Tomorrow!

We hope to see you for our big fundraiser tomorrow (May 7th). All donations made tomorrow at this link below…


will help us with our funding to run the rescue throughout the year.

For now, enjoy this story from one of our board members, Sascha Torres, and her affiliate rescue in Wisconsin.

A Rescuer’s Story – The Insatiable Calling

My name is Sascha and I reside in Wisconsin with my fiancé and our many pets. My rat journey began in March 2011. My fiancé, then boyfriend, Adam and I had recently got an apartment together and wanted to get a pet. Adam suggested rats because he had one as a child and knew they were very intelligent. I had a dwarf hamster named Chippy when I was little and still had a love of rodents, so I agreed. We ventured to our local pet store to see the selection (something we no longer do – ADOPT, Don’t Buy!). There was a litter of dumbo male rats in one of the cages. They were very small, cute, and had quite a variety of coat colors. The store clerk asked if I wanted to hold one and I hesitantly agreed. I thought they were cute but I was much more comfortable with dogs. The worker asked which one I wanted to hold and I picked out a very lazy looking boy with brownish grey fur. With shaky hands I took him and rested his chubby body on my chest. My initial reaction was noticing that he stunk like poo because of his cage conditions. I gave him back to the worker. Adam asked me what I thought and my response was, “I didn’t love him like I thought I would.” Adam was irritated to say the least. He was excited for these new pets and I was raining on his parade. After much complaint on Adam’s behalf, we told the worker we would take two, knowing that rats live much happier lives with other cagemates. I chose the lazy, chubby one and Adam chose a little black and white speckled one. We took them home and named mine Hamish and Adam’s Vickus. With the cage set up we had them out for a little playtime and I quickly changed my tune. They were cuddly and inquisitive. Very soon I was in love, very VERY much in love.

After adopting a number of rats, we came across a rat on PetFinder who was living at the Eastshore Humane Society named Mitchell. Little did I know, my love of rescuing was soon to become an insatiable calling. Mitchell was labeled as unhandleable by the animal shelter and had sat in an aquarium tank with nothing but a food dish and water bottle for over a year, which was essentially his whole life. I felt sick to my stomach when I saw him and took him home immediately even though I was warned that he was surely going to bite me and would certainly never be able to be with other rats. He was very frightened and skittish for the first few weeks. I was afraid he would be a solitary rat forever but was relieved knowing he would have a better life with us than at the shelter. My love for Mitchell, who became known as Yeti, was making my heart swell like the Grinch on Christmas morning.

Slowly but surely we got him to come to the cage door for treats and he even let us pet him a little while he would lay in his hammock. We were, however, always nervous we would be bitten. Finally I had enough waiting. He was laying in his hammock and I stuck my hand in and scooped him up. He shrieked – I shrieked – but he didn’t even try to bite. I was shocked! After doing this a few times I decided that he was indeed harmless, I just needed to be brave. From that point on, my sweet Yeti Man became a part of the colony. He loved his new siblings and they loved him. When he passed my heart broke in a way that I had never imagined possible, but I have found a way to take that hurt and turn it into a commitment to help as many rats as I am able and being a board member of The Rat Retreat allows me to do that.

My fiancé and I now have two dogs, Olive and Wiggums, a chinchilla named Chinny, two degus named Adelaide and Adara. Adelaide and Adara were adopted from K&R Small Animal Sanctuary and Chinny came to us from a co-worker who was going back to school and knew that we had an affinity for small animals. Olive and Wiggums are also shelter animals who we adopted from the Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue. The dogs are very gentle and we have trained them very well – they hardly notice the other animals. Chinny lives in the bottom two levels of a triple level Ferret Nation cage with Adelaide and Adara living in the top level – sectioned off, of course. This is in addition to a myriad of rats!

Our home has become known as the Regal Rat Sanctuary of Wisconsin. Fully furnished with a double-wide, triple level critter nation cage – with other cages available for quarantine, new adoptees and fosters. At present we have 12 permanent residents – Wormlet, Meri, Pippen, Samwise, Leeloo, Michonne, Sadie, Wenby, Carlisle, Supersize-Worm, Marley and Zeusiwitz.

We are currently fostering 13 young rats who are 12 weeks old. Four sweet girls and nine silly boys. This is our first experience with fostering rats. Previously we have only adopted into the sanctuary as permanent residents, making this extremely uncharted territory. We are very fortunate that today as I write this (4/29/2015) the four little girls will be transported to their new furever home in West Bend, WI. These rats were the result of an unplanned pregnancy. The original owners had Zeus, who is now a permanent resident, and for a time had another female rat who came to them pregnant. Once the babies were weaned the female was given to one of their friends who has experience with rats. We are very fortunate that these babies came to us and did not meet a more terrifying fate, as they were advertised on Craigslist.

Over the years we have seen 19 rats cross the Rainbow Bridge. Every rat that I am able to help through The Rat Retreat is a victory towards improving the welfare of rats worldwide and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful team. Each of you reading this can help in your own way – especially with this amazing event, Idaho Gives. Please open your hearts and your pocket books and make a contribution – it will mean life and love for rats in need. Thank you for your support!

-Sascha Torres, The Rat Retreat Board of Directors Secretary and Proprieter of Regal Rat Sanctuary

Featured Rats

We got so many entries for our calendar. This post is going to feature the rats that didn’t make it onto the calendar, but are equally cute and wonderful.







This little girl was a rescued rat and lives with 11 other rambunctious girls.






Jane & Bronte

These rescued girls are named after Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.





Venus passed about a year ago, but she was the sweetest little rat and loved her hammock.




Percy acts like an old man and is a very cuddly rat. He enjoys nothing more than cuddling on the couch or being close to your neck. He loves getting dressed up with his human mommy.

Percy & Mom



Whiskey & Alice

Whiskey is my adopted neutered male and loves his food! He’s the biggest male I’ve ever seen! He also gets called a wombat! He’s a lovely boy and I’m glad my girls accepted him.

Alice is my precious heart rat. She’s the sweetest rat and always comes out for a cuddle or snuggle up your jumper sleeve! She’s my smallest female but loves Whiskey. I often find them cuddling together or grooming each other. I love her to bits! She has two other sisters that she loves as well, Belle and Penelope.





He just turned 4 years old in August of 2014. He found me when I wasn’t even looking. I walked into Petco to buy some food for the rest of my ratties and saw a very beat up fatty being put into a card board box and a worker in tears. I asked her what was going on and because of his teeth being overgrown he was being sent to be put to sleep. I walked up to the man carrying him and removed the box from his hand and said he was coming home with me. I asked Petco for all his records and found out he was born August 4th 2010 in the pet store. He had been bought 18 times and each time returned to the store. First stop on the way home was the emergency vet. She clipped his teeth and gave him a check up. He is now a HUGE part of our family and we can’t have a family photo done without him. We just refuse. If Bill says no we say no. He is the best pet we could ever ask for.



Boo Ratley

He was my heart rat. He had type 1 insulin dependent diabetes and loved wearing hats!

Boo Ratley