Welcome to Tiny Paws!
My name is Steph, and I run Toogoods Tiny Paws here in Somerset in the UK. We provide rat art commissions, merchendise, other rat related products and mobile rat photoshoots. I have 9 pet rats, 8 of whom paint. I first launched Tiny Paws in August 2019, and since then, our small business has grown, with hundreds of rat art pieces going to new homes all over the world.
The rats started creating art for myself in 2018 after I lost one of my rats, Captain Jack Sparrow. I took his paw prints and wanted something for my current boys to create which I would keep to treasure - and so I found some mini canvases, and the boys got to work!
In May 2020, a Facebook post of my favourite rat, Gibbs and his magnet painting went viral, and here we are today.
Painting is positively reinforced - some of the boys will follow a target stick, my hand or treats, so get rewarded throughout. The rats are never forces to run through paint - if they show any signs of unwillingness on the day, we stop. For more details on how we paint, head over to our meet the artists page here.
Each rat also has a limit of painting twice a month, maximum, and they do not paint more than 4 pieces of art each per month.
The photos below show where the rats live.
Their cage encourages as many of their natural behaviours as possible and keeps them comfortable and active. They have plenty of hammocks, ropes, bridges, chew toys, a deep substrate layer for digging, puzzle feeders and wheels. The boys don't live in the cage all day every day - they get time out of the cage daily with me. They also have a number of toys for outside of the cage.
They are all on a kidney friendly diet (low protein) based on the shunamite diet, and scatter fed to encourage natural foraging behaviours. As the boys age, they are put onto kidney supplements to prevent deterioration.
My rats are not just painters to me, painting will never be their life. They are my beloved pets, my best friends, and they are loved and cared for more than I can explain.
As well as rat art and related products, I aim to promote the keeping of rats as pets, their care, and reduce the negative stigma surrounding them as pets.
To see the rats and what they get up to outside of painting, head over to their Instagram here!