Oh Rats!

Ever think of getting a pet rat? Why not; they’re intelligent, social and lots of fun. Domestic pet rats have been bred for over a century and are smart, sensitive, kind, affectionate and best of all…clean! They make great pets for kids.

Rats that are well cared for generally live for two to three years and come in three different sizes; small, medium and large.  The largest pet rat is the size of a guinea pig.  Their housing requirements are similar to other small pets. They need:

  • A cage with plenty of room to hold all their supplies and space to run around.
  • Bedding, water bottle, food dish, litter box and chew blocks.
  • Extra luxuries like a wheel, hammock, tube, blanket, second story or loft.
  • Breed specific food.
  • Edible treats like crackers, chicken, yogurt balls, cheese, carrots, lettuce, and fruit. 

Pet rats should be fed every morning and offered more treats later in the day. Even though they are clean pets, their cage and supplies should be cleaned regularly. We recommend once a week or more for this activity. If their cage gets smelly, then it’s not getting cleaned often enough or their accessories need more frequent washing. If needed, rats can take a shallow bath in your tub with mild soap. They are great swimmers and will not be scared.

Pet rats LOVE to learn new tricks.  Because they are motivated by food, they can be trained very easily. A timid rat will begin to trust you very quickly if they get a little treat every time they “come.” Once a rat has his confidence, he can be trained to his name, to travel through mazes and do tricks.

Rats are very social, gentle, and affectionate pets. In order to keep them happy when you are not home, we recommend that you keep more than one pet rat.  Just make sure they are both of the same sex or you’ll have too many on your hands. Paired rats cuddle with one another, sleep together, eat together, groom each other, and play with one another. This is not dangerous unless you hear high pitched squeaking. Breaking up rough play is easy and will usually make the behavior stop. If your rats are constantly fighting, they should not be housed together.

Rats love “out of cage” time to explore and have fun. They should be allowed to play outside of their cage on a routine basis. Just make sure your cat or dog is closed out of the room for safety.  Don’t ever take your pet rat outside. They could escape and be subjected to real life predators! Make sure to “rat proof” the area where you are going to allow your rat to roam. Doors should be shut and sealed with a towel. Floor vents should be closed or blocked. Windows should be shut all the way.  There should not be any holes in the wall or floor. Pet rats are very curious and have soft, flexible bones which allow them to jump from high places without getting hurt and squeeze through the smallest cracks. Rat owners need to be observant while their rats are out roaming.

Although they are easy to care for, rats do require annual vet visits and emergency vet care if an accident occurs. Also, remember to be careful when choosing your pet rat. Always choose healthy pets that are social and active.

So if you are ready for a new pet, consider adopting a couple of pet rats. You won’t be disappointed.

Oh Rats!

Connecticut Humane Society

701 Russell Road, Newington, CT 06111
800-452-0114 | FAX 860-665-1478   info@cthumane.org 
The Connecticut Humane Society is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 06-0667605
Copyright 2013 Connecticut Humane Society

Copyright 2013 Connecticut Humane Society