Caring for a Pet Rat

Rats are intelligent and, if well cared, for make great pets. This is a guide about caring for a pet rat.

July 12, 2011 Flag
12 found this helpful

Bandit is a 1 year old rat, who we bought at the pet store. She loves to run around on the couch and in the bathroom. She likes climbing all over me. She is very friendly.

Rats get a bad rap. People automatically get squeamish when I say I have a rat for a pet. Rats are very clean animals. They are always washing themselves. They are affectionate and become attached to their owners like a dog or cat.

By Judy from Waterloo, IL

White rat with black face on the back of a couch

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

Judy, you certainly described rats very well. Our youngest daughter had an all white rat when she was about 8 years old. Squeeky was just the nicest little pet you could ask for. As you say, as clean as a whistle, and I think Squeeky might have been a clown in a previous life. He was so funny and sometimes as inquisitive as any cat you've ever seen. He could get up very well on things, but often had trouble getting down.

Whiskers wiggling constantly, he'd wait until someone would come by, and reach out to them with his little hands, "Mister can you spare a dime" look on his face.

That was my first close encounter with a mouse or rat, and it was so good that when our girl decided to raise tri-colored mice, we agreed. Bad mistake. Started with 2 and almost overnight had 25. Seemed that way anyhow. Mice are nice too, but try to get two of the same sex. Same with hamsters which were next on the list.

Your Bandit is a very handsome Rat. We have some great memories of our Squeeky, and it was nice savoring them. Thank you for sharing him.


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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, I agree with Judy, I think they are adorable!

Jennetta from Victoria, BC

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Anonymous Flag
July 12, 20110 found this helpful

Bandit's name certainly matches her markings :-) What a cutie! I love rats! I still miss my buddy boy, Yodi, from way back in the early 70's! He was my very first pet when I moved out on my own.

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February 2, 20150 found this helpful

Judy do you still frequent here? I have some questions about rats and went to the catholic highschool there. if possible e mail me @ shmodaddy AT

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February 7, 2005 Flag
5 found this helpful

Here are the five pluses of keeping rats, an often overlooked pet.

  1. Rats are affectionate.

    Unlike most small animals, such as hamsters and gerbils, rats know how to love and even how to recognize their caretakers. Some rat owners, such as my myself, claim that the affection some rats can give can rival that of a dog.

  2. Rats don't take up a lot of space.

    Rats only require about two square feet of space, a bit more if you decide to buy them a larger cage.

  3. Rats can be affordable.

    Rats don't break the bank when it comes to money. Food and bedding costs run low if you find the right store, and money can be saved if you potty train your rat (yes, it can be done!) and feed your rat a homemade diet (see Suebee's diet on the RMCA website). Toys can be made at home too - a pant leg from slacks or a chicken bone make good toys for rats.

  4. Rats make excellent first pets for children.

    Hamsters aren't always the best choice when it comes to first pets for children, choose rats instead! These easygoing creatures don't mind if they get awoken while taking a nap and are "a lot" less aggressive than most other small animals. However, please supervise young children when they handle rats or any other animal.

  5. Rats are low maintenance.

    Rats need their water and food bowls cleaned and filled daily (include fresh food). Rats only need about 30 minutes of attention from you a day (compare that with a cat, dog, or ferret). And of course, your rat could use a yearly check up from the vet and a clean, disinfected cage every week.

By Misha

June 7, 20110 found this helpful

Big pharma, cosmetic companies test on rats, dogs, cats, rabbits. goats and anything this false science can make a dollar on. The only thing a human shares with these gentle creatures is love that is felt for others. Rats, being so gentle, are used for painful lab experiments with the mad scientists claiming human similarities in their tests. Make any sense? I don't know of anything in me or on me that is the same as a rat or any of the other animals used.

To test medicines or cosmetics, even the psychological experiments on an animal never will help anyone but the companies that profit from using animals. There are testing procedures that pertain to human health. Answers given without pain to anything. Human models (like trauma-man) to practice surgery on. Check with your university to see if rats (and other animals) are still being experimented on . Beware of meds and cosmetics tested on rats. Love them. Don't hurt them or support their use (torture) for false science.

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Anonymous Flag
June 7, 20110 found this helpful

Pia, you must never have had a pet rat! I feel sorry for you that you've not taken the opportunity to have such a wonderful creature love you because of ignorance and prejudice :-( And God is indeed pleased when we care for and love all of His creatures! I can't think of one single bible verse that says He will be more pleased with us if we choose to be kind to humans only and not His other creations too!

Here is my pet rat, Yodi, who was my first pet after moving away from home in the early 70's. He was awesome and I still miss the love he gave!

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June 7, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know why this article, which is dated Feb. 2005, made it into this newsletter, but I'll add my 2 cents on the subject anyway! LOL! And Deeli I liked seeing a photo of you & your rat!

First, I don't & haven't owned any rats, mice or hamsters, although I had guinea pigs when I was a kid. When I was a kid I used to think rats were creepy with their beady eyes & twitchy noses. But the more I learned about them & how intelligent they are, the more I like them.

I think most people who are so horrified at the idea of a pet rat are making that judgment on what they've seen portrayed in tv & movies, or even the real life versions that live in cities, filthy, nasty, trash & dead animal-eating, disease-carrying, biting, night-time creeping vermin. Yes, these wild rats can be dirty & carry diseases look where they live. But they have a purpose too. When our city began to have a rat problem, an expert on things like this said that rats will only over-populate in an area that is not kept clean of trash, dead animals & other filth they fill a need by getting rid of waste we don't get rid of.

However, comparing a domesticated pet rat to a wild street rat is like comparing your favorite dog to feral wild dogs. They might look the same, but they are not the same animal not even close! Domesticated rats have been shown to be very loving, loyal, clean & disease-free animals who are highly intelligent(maybe more than cats!). Just because I can't see myself ever wanting to cuddle up to a rat (or a snake for that matter) & make a pet out of them that doesn't give me the right to say the animal is disgusting & so is whoever wants to own one. I wouldn't say that anyway, because I don't believe it.

There was a man here in town for many years, that I would see around at festivals & gatherings. He had a pet rat that went everywhere with him. It used to hide in his shirt or coat, or on his neck under his long hair & occasionally stick it's head out to see what was going on. They certainly got some big reactions to people! This rat was a very curious, friendly & social creature that liked to meet people that dared to come close enough. I always found him totally fascinating & was glad to see him around, it really helped me to learn not to be afraid of them & to appreciate them for what they are!

And this business of bringing God into the picture to use against something just because YOU don't agree with it is ridiculous. To me it's akin to taking God's name in vain & I really don't think God appreciates it either! At least I don't think my God would!

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December 4, 20120 found this helpful

When my youngest daughter was still small, we had two rats (separately over a period of years). We purchased them at a pet store and both were great pets. Rats are very intelligent and know who cares for them and respond in kind. Both Dorothy and Lickey Lou were tame and cuddly and loved being held and played with. We would let them out in the evening when we were watching TV (carefully because we also had a cat) and they stayed with us and liked to be petted and cuddled. Rats make great pets for anyone who doesn't have space or time for a larger pet.

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August 17, 20140 found this helpful

April 11, 2006 Flag
2 found this helpful

Children have always been fond of keeping mice and rats as pets, especially young boys. Intensive breeding over hundreds of generations has resulted in many colorful and interesting species.

Pet Mice and Rats

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December 3, 2012 Flag
3 found this helpful

I remember when I was young I had these wonderful rats! We must have bought them from the pet store, and they mated and had babies.

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October 30, 2006 Flag
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Lady is one year old and she is my Pet Rat. She was born to the pet rats I have at home.

Photo of a pet rat named Lady.

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May 2, 2006 Flag
Catherine Forman1 found this helpful

In many ways, setting up for a pet rat is similar to preparing housing for other small furries -- rabbits, guinea pigs, or ferrets.

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June 25, 2005 Flag
Jess Hampton0 found this helpful

Pet accessories can be very pricey, and aren't always made of the safest or best-quality materials. Don't despair! Rather than let a pet sit in a boring cage, you can outfit your pet's domain with objects you have around the house.

Rats in Hammock

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November 11, 2004 Flag
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This website has a lot of information for people with pet rats. "The Rat Fan Club, founded in 1992, focuses on rats as companion animals.

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November 11, 2004 Flag
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Trust Training: "If you have a baby rat who doesn't like to be held, remember that baby rats tend to be very active and often don't want to hold still to be held. Instead they want to run around and play and explore.

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