Getting Past the Rats My first thoughts when my eldest daughter talked me into letting her have a pet rat was "I can't believe I'm actually letting her bring a rat into the house". Soon after our youngest wanted one too. Of course, her father gave into to those daddy please eyes and home came Buddy. Being new to the whole pet rat scene there were things that we did not know and wish that we would had known so we would have been prepared. Igor the first pet rat that was brought home got sick and mysteriously died. Buddy is still alive and well. I began doing research on pet rats and made quite a few discoveries. Both of our initial rats were purchased from a pet store. Not a bad thing but not good either. Rats in pet stores are bred for feeder rats. The ones we purchased were spared that fate. However, most pet store rats are bred with genetic health problems and the result is almost always death either caused by the genetic problems or a secondary problem brought on by these problems. Do not buy pet store rats, the best thing to do is to buy from a reputable PET rat breeder. This brings us to our second must know. It is best to buy rats in same sex pairs. Rats are very social creatures and are need cage mates, companionship and grooming socials. They are nocturnal so we sometimes can not spend the time with them that is required. After Igor died and of course Buddy is still alive and well I spent many nights up late and up early to give him the attention that a rat needs. Now I spend my mornings grooming and getting groomed and my evenings are filled with playtime. Rats are trainable (litter box included). Buddy was a babywhen brought home and soon after the newness of it wore off my youngest felt that it was too much to take care of him, thus I inherited Buddy. I wasn't really fond of this arrangement but he had to be given the proper care. I noticed almost immediately that he used the bathroom in the same spot in his cage all of the time and ate in the same area all of the time. Contrary to popular belief they are very clean. (Unlike the pet hamster that my son has) The cage nor does the rat have any odor. Other must knows about pet rats is that the pre made food that you buy from the store is the worst thing that you can give them. Doing research online can give you several well balanced home recipes that are a lot healthier for them. You can also give them treats of vegetables, fruits, yogurt and meat. You do however do not want to give them oranges or orange juice. (I can cause health issues in male rats). We allow Buddy to free range after I got past him being a rat, I found that he has a very lovable personality that can win even the biggest rat hater over. ( I know this to be a fact because my mother is one of them and she loves and adores him.) He does not run away and we very often take him outside on excursions and trips. He does not run away but prefers to stay close to us and explore things that are near. Rats can be a wonderful addition to the family. Most people can not get past the tail or the great plague. If you are interested in getting a pet rat please do the research before you get one. There is a wealth of information that people need to know about these small misrepresented creatures.