American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the July–Oct. 1993 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Book Review

Rats: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual

By Karen Robbins

Written by Carol A. Himsel, D.V.M.
Published by Barron’s. One of the Barron’s Educational Series.
Copyright 1991
ISBN 0-8120-4535-1

Rats – A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual

This is the first book I’ve seen come out in recent years devoted exclusively to pet rats (in the last couple of months another book on pet rats has come out—more on that later). This is one of Barron’s series and I expected a concise, well-written book. (Their mouse book is very good, although somewhat limited in areas such as genetics, colors, and showing.)

The rat book, written by a veterinarian, proved to be very informative in many areas, and I even learned a few things. The author, Dr. Himsel, not only explains the physiology of rats but also shows what intelligent, affectionate companions rats can be. At one point she even compares them to hamsters and guinea pigs—but of course rats are better!

There were a few areas discussed in the book that I had to question based on my experience and others’ that I know. One is her suggestion of cedar shavings as acceptable bedding for these critters, another where she says rats cannot be trained to come when called or be housebroken. I know many people that can attest to the fact that her statements are not true. I’ve heard of many times where a rat will housebreak itself and with some training, will gladly come when called, especially when there is a treat in store for the friendly, intelligent rodent.

There are chapters on understanding rats and training, to the usual care, sickness, and reproduction of rats.

All in all, this is one book every rat fancier should have in their library. *

July 7, 2014