If there was ever a case of 'cultural conditioning', it would have to be rats. Viewed objectively, they're just small, furry animals, no different than any other small furry animal.
But throw societal conventions into the mix and suddenly they're vermin and you're encouraged to kill them on sight. Then there's Bubonic Plague, which cats and dogs were just as guilty of spreading (because it came from the fleas they all carried), yet it's the rats who have gone down in history as the perpetrators. And then there's "You dirty rat", "Rat on your friends", "This place is a real rat's nest", etc, etc. And, if you're watching a cartoon at age three and it's a 'serious' cartoon — not a silly Tom & Jerry cartoon — and the hero is a brave little mouse, the villain is guaranteed to be a vile, evil, venom-dripping rat.
While I think the white lab rats with red eyes are kind of creepy, the brown-eyed ones are usually very pretty, and, as you'll see with Skunkrat, their markings can be just stunning.
As far as the theme I used for this site goes, okay, so I couldn't find a rat-based WordPress theme — sue me. Picture the little town as Ratville and look at the cats as 'the enemy who lurks beyond'.
Enjoy the site!