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Ratties! - August 23rd 2017, 11:35 PM

So, almost two weeks ago, I got some new pets for the first time in a very long time. They're two lovely little baby rats, sisters from the same litter, and I am absolutely smitten with them. This is my first time owning rats, and it's the first time I've had small pets in over a decade (my last having been a guinea pig - since then I've only had cats and a dog). So far they seem to be doing fine, and they came from a good home so they're used to being handled which is making it easy to bond with them, but I was just wondering whether anyone had any advice? Any newbie mistakes I should avoid? Any tips or tricks to give them the best life possible? Any treats they particularly like, anything I shouldn't give them? As I said, I'm super new to this, so any kind of input would be welcome.


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Re: Ratties! - August 25th 2017, 10:19 AM

Congratulations on the two rats!

I've never owned rats but a friend of mine did and she would tell me about them. My friend would give them treats like veggies or cereal (I am not sure if that is safe as I don't have experience with rats). She also mentioned some food can be deadly, I can't remember which foods that was, I think some berries but I could be wrong.

I know they are very social. They enjoy tunnels and my friend did make this hammock in their cage (the cage was three floors for them) she put toilet paper tubes in there. She mentioned that having the cage surface, the bars, aren't good for their feet or body. So she would put cardboard down with fabric so it's soft but had other areas without fabric and things they climbed on. She also attached those, felt rods (much like bird arches) to the cage so they could climb. She used small boxes to make a bed but her rats seemed to enjoy this large amount of fabric in the corner they would go nestle in.

She also told me rats can't bend their backs well.

Although rats are small rodents, my friends, her rats got tumors and I am unsure what caused it. I know the lifepan of rats are similar to gerbils, 3-5 years (gerbils it's 3 years or so) and she got attached to them.

I remember she said her rats were messy, throwing their food all over, hiding their food from the other rats, and if they become really social you can train them to go back to the cage. (it was weird how she told her rats to go back to the cage from leaving) I am unsure how she did that. Every few days she would clean the cage, wash the fabrics (I am unsure if some laundry soap is bad for them, so maybe check that out?) and she would rearrange the cage, take things out, put new things in.

Her rat cage was three floors (levels) so they were able to climb and play.

At the bottom of the cage, she also put old news papers (which she has mentioned the rats have taken their "litter" as bedding) so the newspaper is there for when they go to the bathroom and it falls to the ground. Which, if you have it where not a lot of the floor bars are exposed, it can be messy. I am unsure on training rats on using a litter. The newspaper helps with the cleanup.

I don't know much about rats, this was what I saw when my friend had rats and I would visit her place a lot.

I hope this was helpful. Again, congratulations on the two new rat sisters!


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Re: Ratties! - August 25th 2017, 10:32 PM

I have three rats myself and they make amazing pets! They have such wonderful little personalities, and they can be quite naughty too which makes them even better I think. I tend to feed mine store bought food as it contains all the nutrients they need, however they can eat a range of vegetables too. Mine love shredded carrot as a bit of a treat so you can give them some of this once a week or so alongside their normal diet!
Because I have three and they're all a bit bouncy, mine aren't hand tame, however they all let me stroke their little feets through the bars and even their backs and bellies too. It's so great yours are already tame though! They're really sociable and can become very chilled around their owners once they trust them.
I would just ensure they have plenty to gnaw on. Give them lots of wooden toys to chew on as their teeth grow and this helps stop them getting too long. Mine also have a rope hammock in their cage which lets them sleep together, and they also use it to spy on me and jump around from. This stops them getting too bored!
Finally, just make sure that they aren't too close to curtains or carpets, or anything they could chew through that you wouldn't want holes in. They're great pets but they can make a mess!


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Re: Ratties! - August 29th 2017, 10:09 AM

Congratulations on getting your new rats!

I've never been a rat owner so I probably won't be the best person to give you advice.


   
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Re: Ratties! - August 29th 2017, 03:28 PM

have you ever tried to give cheese to a mouse or rat? they are always portrayed as loving that but people keep telling me its none-sense ive never seen it proved or disproved, though
   
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Re: Ratties! - August 30th 2017, 04:55 PM

There are probably sites you could look into where you could talk to other rat owners. I know when I was looking into guinea pigs I ended up finding a lot of information as well as a forum dedicated solely to different issues faced by guinea pig owners. There was also a small portion dedicated to other rodents like rats and bunnies.

Obviously I can't link you since it would be considered a competitor but I have found those sites to be really informative because they are directly related to that specific animal and so the people there have expertise.

It might be something to at least look into. You might not end up finding a site you feel comfortable with or like all that much though.


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Re: Ratties! - August 31st 2017, 04:45 AM

Thank you for all of your responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WretatsyRemedial View Post
Congratulations on the two rats!

I've never owned rats but a friend of mine did and she would tell me about them. My friend would give them treats like veggies or cereal (I am not sure if that is safe as I don't have experience with rats). She also mentioned some food can be deadly, I can't remember which foods that was, I think some berries but I could be wrong.

I know they are very social. They enjoy tunnels and my friend did make this hammock in their cage (the cage was three floors for them) she put toilet paper tubes in there. She mentioned that having the cage surface, the bars, aren't good for their feet or body. So she would put cardboard down with fabric so it's soft but had other areas without fabric and things they climbed on. She also attached those, felt rods (much like bird arches) to the cage so they could climb. She used small boxes to make a bed but her rats seemed to enjoy this large amount of fabric in the corner they would go nestle in.

She also told me rats can't bend their backs well.

Although rats are small rodents, my friends, her rats got tumors and I am unsure what caused it. I know the lifepan of rats are similar to gerbils, 3-5 years (gerbils it's 3 years or so) and she got attached to them.

I remember she said her rats were messy, throwing their food all over, hiding their food from the other rats, and if they become really social you can train them to go back to the cage. (it was weird how she told her rats to go back to the cage from leaving) I am unsure how she did that. Every few days she would clean the cage, wash the fabrics (I am unsure if some laundry soap is bad for them, so maybe check that out?) and she would rearrange the cage, take things out, put new things in.

Her rat cage was three floors (levels) so they were able to climb and play.

At the bottom of the cage, she also put old news papers (which she has mentioned the rats have taken their "litter" as bedding) so the newspaper is there for when they go to the bathroom and it falls to the ground. Which, if you have it where not a lot of the floor bars are exposed, it can be messy. I am unsure on training rats on using a litter. The newspaper helps with the cleanup.

I don't know much about rats, this was what I saw when my friend had rats and I would visit her place a lot.

I hope this was helpful. Again, congratulations on the two new rat sisters!
I've already covered the wire surfaces I can with fabric, although they climb the sides of the cage anyway so I'm not sure how much good it will do. Unfortunately from what I've read, tumours are fairly common in rats, so that's something I'll have to keep an eye out for - although I've already found a vet relatively nearby that treats rats so at least I'm prepared in case anything does happen. I've been checking before giving them any new treats as I'm not sure what they can and can't have, but I'm learning slowly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everglow. View Post
I have three rats myself and they make amazing pets! They have such wonderful little personalities, and they can be quite naughty too which makes them even better I think. I tend to feed mine store bought food as it contains all the nutrients they need, however they can eat a range of vegetables too. Mine love shredded carrot as a bit of a treat so you can give them some of this once a week or so alongside their normal diet!
Because I have three and they're all a bit bouncy, mine aren't hand tame, however they all let me stroke their little feets through the bars and even their backs and bellies too. It's so great yours are already tame though! They're really sociable and can become very chilled around their owners once they trust them.
I would just ensure they have plenty to gnaw on. Give them lots of wooden toys to chew on as their teeth grow and this helps stop them getting too long. Mine also have a rope hammock in their cage which lets them sleep together, and they also use it to spy on me and jump around from. This stops them getting too bored!
Finally, just make sure that they aren't too close to curtains or carpets, or anything they could chew through that you wouldn't want holes in. They're great pets but they can make a mess!
I've stocked up on treats and toys for them, which I'm switching up every couple of days to keep them occupied. They have a hammock, which they both absolutely love, but now I also have a hanging enclosed bed that they seem to be taking to as well, so that's good. I've also given them some wooden rat toys so they can keep their teeth in check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewmatters View Post
have you ever tried to give cheese to a mouse or rat? they are always portrayed as loving that but people keep telling me its none-sense ive never seen it proved or disproved, though
Yes! Both my girls love cheese. Actually they love all the treats I've given them so far (little bits of cheese, yogurt, noodles, etc). I used to have mice and they liked cheese as well, so there's some truth to the theory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imagination. View Post
Congratulations on getting your new rats!

I've never been a rat owner so I probably won't be the best person to give you advice.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Abibliophobe~ View Post
There are probably sites you could look into where you could talk to other rat owners. I know when I was looking into guinea pigs I ended up finding a lot of information as well as a forum dedicated solely to different issues faced by guinea pig owners. There was also a small portion dedicated to other rodents like rats and bunnies.

Obviously I can't link you since it would be considered a competitor but I have found those sites to be really informative because they are directly related to that specific animal and so the people there have expertise.

It might be something to at least look into. You might not end up finding a site you feel comfortable with or like all that much though.
I've already got some places where I can talk to other rat owners, and the girls' original owner also said I can contact her if I had any questions, so I should be set. I just figured TH was another good place to ask as I know there are a few people around who have/have had rats. Also, fun fact: rabbits aren't rodents, they're actually Lagomorphs (along with the hare and the pika).


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Re: Ratties! - August 31st 2017, 03:24 PM

I always thought it seemed odd to categorize Rabbits as rodents. I have just never taken the time to research all of that to see if they really were rodents!

That being said, I am glad you have some people you can talk to about the new animals. I do know we had one particular user who had a couple of rats but they don't utilize the site much any longer so I wasn't sure if you'd get too much advice!

I have actually considered getting rats because I have heard they are really social and loving but I am not sure how my cats would respond to them. Maybe at some point you could post pictures of them.


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Re: Ratties! - September 6th 2017, 12:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Abibliophobe~ View Post
I always thought it seemed odd to categorize Rabbits as rodents. I have just never taken the time to research all of that to see if they really were rodents!

That being said, I am glad you have some people you can talk to about the new animals. I do know we had one particular user who had a couple of rats but they don't utilize the site much any longer so I wasn't sure if you'd get too much advice!

I have actually considered getting rats because I have heard they are really social and loving but I am not sure how my cats would respond to them. Maybe at some point you could post pictures of them.
The only reason I know is because my dad used to absolutely adore rabbits, so I picked up a fair bit of information from him.

I was actually worried about how my pets would react to the rats, but so far it's been fine. One of my cats took a week to notice them, and I'm pretty sure he's forgotten about them already. My other cat goes into the room and looks at them every time she can, but she hasn't made any attempts to actually interact with them. And my dog was really confused because she saw the rats moving but they were too small for her herding instinct to kick in so she had no idea what to do; she kept looking at me as if waiting for an explanation.


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Re: Ratties! - September 6th 2017, 06:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychomachia. View Post


The only reason I know is because my dad used to absolutely adore rabbits, so I picked up a fair bit of information from him.

I was actually worried about how my pets would react to the rats, but so far it's been fine. One of my cats took a week to notice them, and I'm pretty sure he's forgotten about them already. My other cat goes into the room and looks at them every time she can, but she hasn't made any attempts to actually interact with them. And my dog was really confused because she saw the rats moving but they were too small for her herding instinct to kick in so she had no idea what to do; she kept looking at me as if waiting for an explanation.
This made me laugh. I have a friend who had a herding dog (blue heeler, I think). He lived on a ranch for a very long time and I guess those types of dogs were very popular in that type of setting. Anyway, his dog was relatively friendly but definitely would do some herding activities. The dog lived on a ranch for years but then someone in my friend's family passed away so he ended up taking the dog and he no longer lived on a ranch. I think it was a bit of an adjustment for the dog.

Anyway, I am glad your animals seem to be adjusting relatively well. I know it can be challenging to bring new animals into the house. Both times I have done it to my cat she got super upset and jealous for a while but she seems to have adjusted relatively well now.


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