Laura Woods (28) from west Cork knows bonding can occur with even unlikely animals
"I'm dotty about my pet rats and spend a small fortune on them and their health care. I know so many people wouldn't give them a second thought, but I've had many I'm close to.
"They have clear personalities and are really dog-like in their behaviours and temperaments.
"In 2005, my husband Karl and I set up the Irish Rat Club to try and promote rats as pets at Pet Expos around the country.
"We travel silly distances to events and spend a lot on bedding, toys and vet costs. After notching up €1,000 on our guys, we stopped keeping tabs!
"Rats only have a lifespan of around two years, but because they're so affectionate, it's heartbreaking when one passes."