Rat: Is it the Right Pet for You?

Rats come in all different colors, and coats. Some don't even have coats at all. They are intelligent creatures who have received a bad wrap over the years. For a long time people have seen rats as nothing more than disease carrying pests, but the truth is that there is more to the rat than meets the eye. Did you know that rats are cleaner than most domestic animals? It's true. Rats spend a great deal of their daily lives grooming. They keep their living spaces as clean as possible. Spending great deals of time cleaning up their homes and moving out anything they consider to be waste. Rats make great pets because they can be trained easily. We've all seen the videos of mice being trained to follow mazes. Rats are just as intelligent. So it's quite easy to teach a rat to come when it's called, and to stay in one spot. Of course rats do tend to get bored so don't think it'll sit for long. You can leash train a rat and even teach it to not use the rest room while it's being held. Litter training a rat is relatively simple. Just get it used to using the restroom on Critter Litter and then start putting the Critter Litter into a litter box and remove it from the rest of the cage. In no time your rat will be using the litter box instead of the rest of the cage. You can find litter boxes for Rats at most pet stores. Housing for your rat is pretty simple. While most stores suggest large habitats like you'd use for a Guinea Pig, Rabbit or Ferret, I do not recommend getting anything with wide spaced bars. Rats can fit through some pretty tight spaces and your rat could end up escaping when you're not looking. For rats I recommend getting a basic fish tank. Something over 20 gallons for one rat is sufficient. As for Bedding I suggest Care Fresh. It works great for all kinds of small animals and it's odor absorbant too. A large bag lasts a long time, but make sure you change out your rats bedding every other day if it's not litter trained. To avoid a stinky house clean your rats litter box or cage frequently. Rats are scavengers in the wild and will eat pretty much anything that is organic in nature. This is why rats survive so well in Urban and Suburban areas. I do not recommend feeding your rat scraps from the table though. They need a specific diet when they're your pet. There are a wide variety of foods to choose from, but I recommend Kaytee Fiesta Mouse & Rat food for your Rat. It's full of important nutrients your Rat needs to live a long and healthy life. It's also a great mix of different items. From corn to seeds this blend has what your rat wants. Rats need a wide range of foods or they tend to get bored of it. Kaytee Fiesta Mouse & Rat blend has that perfect mix. You can also provide your rat with fresh fruits and vegetables. Don't over do it though, and make sure you find out what items are deadly before feeding them to your rat. Rat beds are pretty simple. All they really need is some soft bedding and a wooden house to hide in. Rats aren't very picky when it comes to where they'll sleep. You can find these at most pet stores and even online in specialty stores. I do not recommend getting your rat anything that is plastic. Even thick plastic is easy for rats to chew through. Providing your rat with a wide variety of wooden and raw hide chew toys will help minimize the desire to chew. Rats are rodents and their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives so they will always need to chew on something. Make sure they always have something to chew on in their cage. Bird toys work perfectly for this. Just make sure there are no plastic pieces. There are Veterinarians who will treat Rats. Most of the time you'll have to visit an Exotic Vet, but occasionally you'll find a Vet that will give your Rat a check-up even if they don't specialize in them. Rats live an average of two years, but have been known to last for as much as four. With proper care, plenty of love and a stable home your rat could live even longer. If you choose to get a rat make sure you check around for a Rat Rescue before going to a pet store. Many pet stores provide rats as snake food and therefore do not care if the rats are friendly nor if they are housed with the opposite sex. Often times you'll find rats living in overcrowded cages, and due to being mixed with the opposite sex you'll end up with more rats than you bargained for when you get your rat home. The way to tell if your local pet store is rat friendly is to see if the rats are calm. If you go up to the cage and the rats rush away, odds are they aren't very well cared for. Rats are friendly and not shy when properly raised. Feeder rats tend to be bitey and skittish. Be careful when choosing your pet rat, and remember a pet is always a lifetime commitment. Their lifetime may be short, but rats deserve a loving and permanent home.