About Me/ Contact Info

 WHO I AM.... 

My name is Shawna Laufer. I am a wife, a mother of 2 little girls, owner of 2 dogs (Cayman- long haired dachshund & Zoey- toy poodle), 2 cats (Sterling-gray tabby & Milo- orange tabby), 2 guinea pigs (Ginger & Meep)...and to break up rolling all doubles... 12 rats (Aniston, Scarlett No- Haira, Chelsea, Paisley, Pip, Emerson, Sero, Atticus, and Vaux)

My love for rats has earned me the nickname "The Rat Whisperer" by several co-workers I have had in the past while employed with various pet stores and veterinary clinics. LOL, it has nothing to do with being an expert, that's for sure! Besides being obsessed with the little buggers, people say I just have a way with them- an understanding, which dubbed me the nickname. I was the 'brave' and/or 'crazy' girl that would take a completely unsolicited, terrified feeder rat from its tiny confinement and smother it in kisses and have it riding on my shoulder in no time flat. I was the one others turned to for advice on their own pet rats, despite having any formal education on animal behavior or health, other than the little bit I picked up here and there. The name seemed pretty fitting, and so it stuck around, long after the rats in my life were around.

My obsession for creating the best life for my ratties motivated me to start this blog- to share with other rat enthusiast like myself while giving myself a creative outlet.




I can't believe I still have this... a scrapbook page I made of my first rat...the big squishy boy that started my love for ratties, Puck. I got him when I was 18 years old. I was working in a pet store (Animal Kingdom, Ft Myers) and he was a "jumbo feeder" rat and was getting picked on in the 10 gallon aquarium tank they kept him and four or five other large male rats. I rescued him, fell in love with him, then later got an all white female rat I named Bacardi. I later had a small litter that I found homes for some and sold the others to a pet store (pets only!), minus the little female I kept that I named Salem. These pictures were taken soon after Bacardi had passed away. I decided to make a scrapbook page when I was grieving her loss. Its sad that rats don't live as long as many other pets and I wanted a way to remember how special they were to me.
In the years following I have had rats and have loved how intelligent, loving, and fun these little pets can be. I taught him how to 'play basketball' in which he would take that little cat ball you see in the photos above, and put it through a little hoop I made.

Puck will always have a special place in my heart.
R.I.P my sweet boy.

Please note that in these pictures you will see that I was using cedar chips in the travel cage in the middle photo and pine shavings in the lower photos. I have learned a lot after getting Puck and learned even more about rats since then including the dangers of cedar and other softwood litters such as pine. I switched to a paper litter when Puck became elderly and I have used safer litter since then. 

Photo Credit: Drusilla Kehl

My Rainbow Bridge Rats
Puck~ Bacardi~ Salem~ Shy~ Bandi~
~D'Artagnan~ Phoebe~Topanga
Mateo~ DeNiro~Pacino~Joey~ Chandler~ Phineas


  1. Did you draw your rainbow bridge?

  2. I wish! No, I found it online but could not locate the artist. :(

  3. http://www.illustratedrat.macwebsitebuilder.com/catalog/item/2783031/2280506.htm

  4. Oh my goodness, I adore you!!! lol. I just got my first rattie. She is a blue point Siamese Dumbo :) and already I am utterly in love with her! I am a dog person by nature, having 6 of them, but I swear I was drawn to this lil rattie gal. My 2 year old son adores her! and he is great with her, as she is with him as well. I have been researching nonstop about rats as pets and when I came across you're YouTube channel and blog I was just entranced! lol I cant wait to learn more about rats from you! just amazing!!!

  5. Omg.. You sound just like me.. i have 3 dog,3 cat, 2 snakes, 3 boys & 7 pet rats.. I work at a pet store too.. Just i'm all 3s.. I love ur youtube.. I was looking on what to do for my babies & come to u youtubes..love them.. Love the swing, i'll be doing some for my rats..

  6. Hey, do you have an email? I'd like to ask you a question about my rat's health :[

    1. Yes, my contact email is contactme@ratwhisperer.net

  7. I came across your youtube videos yesterday and couldn't stop watching them. I absolutely adore you and your rats. I am going to be getting my first rats on friday and was wondering whats the best way to introduce my pet rats to my puggle? and when I first get them should I immediately take them into the bathroom and start to bond or let them check out their cage first? You can contact me via e-mail if you would like cuddlebaby2006@gmail.com

    1. Yay!

      I would give them a few days to adjust to their new surroundings before introducing your puggle. After maybe three days of getting used to their cage, sights, smells, you, etc, you can perhaps let your dog sniff them from the cage. This will also help you determine if your dog will have any prey drive instincts- if he/she lunges at the cage or snaps at the rats, then you know it will be too dangerous to introduce them outside of the protection of the cage bars.

      Remember that a puggle is a cross between a pug and a beagle and beagles are pack animals bred to hunt and tracking rabbits, hare, pheasant, quail and other small animals.

  8. Hi! Thanks for keeping up this site. I've recently adopted a group of 7 rats from a reptile shop that were in quite bad conditions. I've got them a large multi-level cage, neutered the boys, and they've been doing well. I did have one biter and (maybe something to try with paisley?) kept him in a cage solo right by my side (stayed home for 5 days doing this) for a while with no food inside, and frequently reached in to pet him slowly and gently, then offered food. He is still skittish but is no longer showing any interest in biting :) My biggest question to you would be about upkeep. They have lots of space and ratty company in their enclosure, but they foul it up so quickly. I've considered litterbox training to help, but the more they lay in there all day while I work, the more I come home to crappy peed on rats. I'd like to bathe them but I don't want to stress them out. Any comments you can offer? Thanks!!! Good for you and your rescues :)

  9. Hello. My sister and I just got our first rat from our older sister. She told us how to take care of him and what food he can have and what kind of bedding he can have and much more! My sister and I love him to pieces and want to know more about him and how we can make his life better and longer.

    Our rat's name is Sir Buckley Kip Pawkins, but we just call him Buckley. Buckley is very friendly and always wants to play. He has a bit of a head tilt though from an ear infection that left permanent damage, but he is happy and we love him anyway. Buckley is a capped rat that we got from a great small animal rescue shelter called Judge's Park in PA. Right now, we feed Buckley oxbow rat food (along with other food and drink of course except anything with citrus or carbonation in it) and use Aspen as bedding.

    I do have a few questions for you about Buckley. What kind of water should we use? We have distilled but a blog my sister read not too long ago said that we shouldn't give him that, so we don't. The only other water we have is the city water. The same blog said that chlorine water isn't good for rats either, so we should let the water sit for 24 hours in order to get all the chlorine out of it. Next question; is Buckley allowed to have grapes? I know grapes are bad for dogs, but what about for rats? Next question; are there any foods besides citrus and carbonated beverages that Buckley cannot have? Next question; how can we litter train Buckley? Also, what toys and such do you recommend for Buckley? And finally, are there any tips whatsoever that you can give to me and my sister about the capped rat or just about rats in general to give him a long and happy life?


  10. Can you link me to your homemade diets? I've been searching for the updated version for days. Also, my other question is I know you go to the dollarstore a lot because of the great deals there. I was wondering if there's any healthy foods there like dried beans or any food for example you recommend buying to put in a homemade version of rat food. I've been looking and I keep finding salted everything. Please reply! Thanks -K