Rat parents guilt and how it can be overcome

DISCLAIMER: This is a personal opinion. It might be helpful for you, it might not be. I hope it is, however.

Rat parents guilt and how it can be overcome

We, rat parents, always want to provide the best care possible for our ratty companions. However, the pursuit of perfect living conditions for pet rats can be challenging, leaving many rat parents feeling guilty for not meeting their own high standards. This, in return, can be detrimental to our mental health. For some people, it can manifest as guilt, anxiety or self-deprecation, none of those are helpful! First things first, what could cause these symptoms?

In my opinion, biggest culprit is a classic case of “Ideal vs. Realistic Expectations”. We often set tasks or expectations to ourselves, that we can’t realistically achieve in the desirable time frame. The Internet is full of rules on rat well-being, most of them important and beneficial, however, this may overwhelm you.

Any improvements take time! We want to achieve them right away to best care for rats, but how realistic is it? Of course, some issues, like a larger cage, can be overcome with financial investments alone but many other problems can’t. For example, making free roams more frequent can require a change of schedule or rearranging of the living space, to make it easier for you to do it more frequently. But can it be done right away? Most likely not.

We need to remind ourselves that changes take time. It’s OK to improve one step at a time! People often like to imagine rats’ QOL (quality of life) as an on/off switch. Either all the QOL or none at all.

However, I believe it to be more like a spectrum:

Every rat parent, in the care they provide, has both their strong sides and weaknesses. It’s important to create a strategy for improving rat care. But how should this strategy start?

With rat care basics, of course! (If you’re a fresh rat parent, you can check out our Rat Care section)

Focus on what matters the most! Prioritize the most important stuff, categorize them and create a plan! 🙂 Organizing things in a plan or a to-do list can really help to decrease anxiety and lessen the guilt we feel! Also, when all the basics and essentials are met, you can remind yourself that everything else comes extra and you can schedule it when time allows.

Important: Keep in mind, things in real life take more time than they do on paper!