I recently learned from an aunt that my grandfather was (affectionately) known as "Little Rat" to his family and friends because of his short stature. She said it in Italian, and it sounded to me like "ria ting". In looking up rat in the dictionary (topo), I can find nothing that comes close to "ria ting". Would anyone have an idea about the real Italian words that might sound like "ria ting" and mean something like "little rat"? (My family is from the Como region, if that makes a difference.)
I believe the correct form was "Rattin".... in my region too (liguria) is used to indicate the little children...this is because in italian you can call the rat "Ratto" (it's a way less "fine" to call the mouse)...
So, piccolo ratto (little Rat) = Rattino/Rattin
Piccolo Topo (Little Mouse) = Topolino
I remember my old grandaunt call my little sister "Rattin"