Cathy Bickel

Board Alternate

Cathy Bickel

Gerbils were my first pets. My father taught organic chemistry at Penn State’s Beaver campus. He shared an office with a biology teacher, Dr. Roth. Dr. Roth left in 1968 and needed a new home for these interesting little animals he’d managed to acquire. So we got our first gerbils. By the time we needed more gerbils, they were sometimes available in pet stores. They were all agoutis; other colors had not yet come out. Not a lot of information was available about gerbils back then: we had one small booklet, which I still have, that was our guide. Many things were learned through experience.

Except for two years when I was away at college and the gerbils at home were technically my brother’s gerbils, and then for a few months between gerbils when my children were young, I’ve had them ever since, generally no more than half a dozen at a time. I also had a cat for 17 years, and a few hamsters found their way in the door.

These days I’m breeding gerbils in a limited way, concentrating on Color Points, especially Color Point nutmegs. I have a special interest in the health and welfare of gerbils, both as individuals and as a species. I enjoy doing health inspections at shows.