So, I would like some help in figuring out my 'rat situation.
Note: This is my pet rat, and not the family of rats living in my attic....(though I'm sure in a couple of months when they've chewed through the plasterboard and am holding my baby to hostage I may be back with another moral dilemma).
First of all, let me give you some background.
I bought Duncan, the fancy rat (breed type), just over a year ago. It was a whim, and a whim I regret now, though at the time I could of not possibly foreseen the future. I had landed in some [censored]ty part of England, had gone to the nearest pet shop, saw him there, looking very sporty and all, and thought, [censored] it, I'll have him. I had been travelling through Europe for quite some time, turning a coin, juggling, singing, eating fire, all that craic. Duncan lived mainly in my hoody, made great friends with my Malamute, Took, and seemed very happy. He had plenty of time to chill and sleep, run around, turn tricks was well fed.....He seemed intellectually and physically fulfilled, it was great.
So, fastforward a bit....My (at the time) ex-girlfriend (now wife) had got pregnant (by me) and yeah, as you all may know yourselves, life changes. I came home (To Ireland), we set up home, my dog, her dog, our cat, my rat. Duncan got on well with everyone, including the cat (Muck, gaelige for Pig).....Everything was going sweet for months....then something switched in Muck's mind, and she decided she'd rather eat Duncan.
Duncan did not take kindly to this, oh no he didn't, oh yes he did. He spent four days hiding in the fireplace (this was in winter and highly inconvenient).....eventually, covered in soot, he came skulking out, now armed with an incontinence problem (Duncan was always good about not excreting in my hoody, and before the Muck attack a specific corner of the house..), leaving trails of piss and little rat [censored] wherever he went.
Fearing a split divide between the pet alliances in our house, I bought Duncan a nice big cage (Moral dilemma number one).....I let him out at night, and he has free run of the house....
The problem is now, our son is about to start crawling, we can't keep up with Duncan's trails of excrement (Our son will put ANYTHING in his mouth)....But I feel a surge of guilt whenever I see that cage.
I am well aware of say the Rowland's model of the impartial position concerning animal ethics, and I can justify having pets, having dogs, and cats and whatever else, but giving them the best life I can. Duncan has not got this at the moment....His cage is cleaned every day, he has free time to roam (this may soon change), but he is not stimulated.
I am just after building him a much bigger cage (around 4 by 6 foot), multi leveled, with lots of contraptions for him to have the craic in....I am also considering getting him a new rat friend (of course I then have two caged animals...)
I have considered finding him a new home, but there's no promise that their might be anyone who treats him better than I do.