What It's Like to Own A Rat

Friday, September 15, 2017

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Before you shriek at the though of owning a rat as a pet INSIDE your home, just stop. Most of what people say is just a misconception. 

First of all, let me just give you a few awesome facts about rats.

Rats have been known to take care of injured and sick rats in their group and without companionship or at least interaction with their human owner, they can become lonely and depressed.

They also have great memory and become creatures of habit, following the same paths to get somewhere. 

Contrary to popular belief, rats are very clean animals and spend hours each day grooming themselves. They are actually less likely to catch or transmit a parasite or virus than a dog or cat!

The freaky tail you probably don't like? Relax, it's like that so they can balance when moving around and it also helps regular their body temperature. 

Rats have very similar genes to that of humans which is why they are used for testing.  

So that all being said - I love rats.  Currently I have a rat named Charlotte. She's about two years old and is super sweet. She gets upset if I don't hold her every day.  

Owning a rat is really fun and they are very easy pets and are great with kids.  Unlike most small critters, rats LOVE being held.   I used to own gerbils and trust me, they aren't fond of being handled.  Rats on the other hand will get used to your smell, touch, and voice and you'll often notice they are excited when you enter the room and go to get them out of the cage.

The cost to own a rat is minimal. Food and bedding is pretty much it.  The initial cost is probably the most - a cage, water bottle, toys, etc.  I clean Charlotte's cage once a month and feed her every morning. If I don't feed her when she hears me wake up, she rattles the side of her cage!

One of the best and most important parts of owning a rat is keeping them entertained and interacting with them.  My favorite way to do that with Charlotte is with the Kaytee Crinkle Tunnel that I got from Chewy!

Charlotte loves this thing! It encourages exploration, exercise, and tunneling activity and it's machine washable! It's great for ferrets, chinchillas, small rabbits, and other critters.  It stretches to 23" in length and has a circular opening on both ends and one on the top for her to peek out of! 

Charlotte seems to really like the crackling sound it makes and she loves running through it as fast as she can, popping out on the other side, then going back in!

I used it outside of her cage so it doesn't get too dirty but it's also a great excuse to have her out on the floor or in my lap. STAY WITH YOUR PET AT ALL TIMES obviously! This is a really durable toy and if you have a small animal, consider getting one!

Never let your dog or cat and your rat interact without you their to supervise and when you have them in the same room together, make sure you reward them both so it's a pleasant experience.  I keep these Natural Balance Tender Cuts treats from Chewy on hand so I can reward the dogs for sharing some attention with Charlote. Make sure you feed an all natural treat like these so you aren't filling your pooch with artificial ingredients! These treats are soft, too so it makes it easy to continuously reward the dogs with them every couple of minutes.

The dogs definitely don't mind Charlotte and she's not phased by them either.

So basically - rats are awesome and if you're looking for an easy to care for critter that you can interact with I definitely recommend a rat!

Have you ever had a rat as a pet?

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