If I'm at a party, a get together of sorts, a business meeting, wedding, baby shower -- chances are, I'll bring up one topic: rats.

Now, wait a second, I lived in NYC for 20 years before moving to Maine in April, so I know all about rats. We are not talking about those rats. And yes, I know you're probably planning on dressing up as Pizza Rat for Halloween.

That said, I still found watching the rats foraging around the subway system endlessly entertaining. In my time in New York, on more that one occasion, I saw a rat (not the same one!) enter a subway car when the door opened, and exit at the next stop. Ladies and gentlemen, it took the express from 59th to 125th -- just like me. (By the way, I saw a pigeon do this too -- don't get me started on my love of pigeons -- but I saw him take the train to Coney Island.)

I'm talking about domesticated rats -- and they get a really bad rap. They absolutely make lovely pets, especially for young children. I would never advise getting a hamster or gerbil for a youngster, being that they (the rodents) do not normally like to be handled, AND are nocturnal. So what you end up with is a bitey, grumpy creature who likes to chew the cage bars at night. Translation: a sad, neglected very sentient little creature. Not good for anyone involved. (Yes, there are exceptions -- I had an especially friendly dwarf hamster named Blarney.)

Don't believe me? That's fine: most people don't. But there are people like me who have experienced how absolutely cuddly, smart and friendly these creatures can be.

For example:

Jessica Florence and Ellen van Deelen's Photos

These photos are real. Six years ago, two women posed their pet rats with miniature Teddy bears. Then I fainted. Just look at them.

Jessica Florence, Ellen van Deelen/Flickr
Jessica Florence, Ellen van Deelen/Flickr

Martin "Marty" Mouse House Has More Instagram Followers Than You

To be exact: he has almost 17,000 followers on Instagram and over 22,000 on Facebook. He was alone in a cage and saved from a pet store and is now LIVING THE LIFE as an internet star -- while posing for some pretty awesome photos. And probably getting a book deal.

When Rats Eat Spaghetti, You Watch

The internet fell in love with an adorable rat eating spaghetti because, hello, it's an adorable rat eating spaghetti. When these little hungry guys find something they love, THEY FALL HARD. Look at him.

Rats Can Change Perspectives

Back in NYC, I took our adopted son to a local science camp. There, he met two rescued lab rats. The three of them immediately fell in love. As they crawled under his shirt and took a nap, he said, "I don't think people understand them."