Diane Özdamar is on a mission.
The 32-year-old photographer from Montreal is determined to change as many minds as she can about rats.
Özdamar has been adopting, fostering, and photographing rats since 2008 in an effort to help them get adopted and to spread the word about what great pets they are.
“I began taking photos of rats I fostered to help find them homes…I soon found out that cute pictures displaying their personalities not only helped them find good families but also allowed some people to get over their phobia and prejudices,” she told HuffPost.
Özdamar is an experienced rat owner and foster parent, having cared for as many as 14 rats at once.
“To me, they are very similar to tiny dogs mixed with cats…They are very smart, affectionate, and loyal. They are quite playful too, chasing strings like a cat,” she says.
So what’s the downside to having a rat as a pet?
If you ask Özdamar, it’s their short lifespan (approximately 2-3 years). “You get so attached to them it is very hard to bear their loss.”
Their short lifespan, however, does not outweigh the happiness they bring to their owners, and that is why Özdamar will continue right on doing what she does best–using her lens to spread the message about the joys of rat ownership.
Interested in adopting a rat as a pet? Check out the Humane Society’s primer on rat ownership.
What do you think of these irresistibly photogenic rodents? Let us know in the comments section!
All photos by Diane Özdamar via HuffPost.
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